|Yvonne De Carlo as Lily Munster (file 1965)|
LOS ANGELES -- Yvonne De Carlo, a beautiful star who played Moses' wife in "The Ten Commandments" but achieved her greatest popularity on TV's "The Munsters," died of natural causes Monday at the Motion Picture & Television facility in suburban Los Angeles. She was 84.
Ms. De Carlo, whose shapely figure helped launch her career in B-movie Westerns, rose to more important roles in the 1950s. Later, she had a key role in a landmark Broadway musical, "Follies."
But for TV viewers, she will always be known as Lily Munster in the 1964-1966 slapstick horror-movie spoof "The Munsters." Lily, vampire-like in a black gown, presided over the faux scary household and was a rock for her gentle but often bumbling husband, Herman, played by 6-foot-5-inch actor Fred Gwynne (decked out as the Frankenstein monster).
While it lasted only two years, the series had a long life in syndication and resulted in two feature movies.
Ms. De Carlo was able to sustain a long career by repeatedly reinventing herself. A longtime student of voice, she sang opera at the Hollywood Bowl.
In 1956 she veered from her image as a sultry B-movie actress when Cecil B. DeMille chose her to play Sephora, wife to Charlton Heston's Moses, in "The Ten Commandments." The next year she co-starred with Clark Gable and Sidney Poitier in "Band of Angels."
When movie roles became scarce, she ventured into stage musicals. Her greatest stage triumph came on Broadway in 1971 with "Follies." She belted out Stephen Sondheim's showstopping number, "I'm Still Here," a former star's defiant recounting of the highs and lows of her life.