Actress Francine York, who had more than 150 television and film credits, died Friday in Van Nuys, Calif., She was 80 and had cancer, according to her close friend Pepper Jay.
York once declared the 1973 cult film “The Doll Squad” her most popular film, but she played everything from an alien to a exotic belly dancer. On “Batman,” she played Lydia Limpet, the henchwoman of the Bookworm (Roddy McDowall). Her credits include guest roles on “Bewitched,” “General Hospital,” “I Dream of Jeannie” and “My Favorite Martian.” She also appeared in “Tickle Me” with Elvis Presley. Her more recent roles include “Family Man” with Nicolas Cage, “Hot in Cleveland” and “Star Trek: Progeny.”
Born Francine Yerich, she was raised in Aurora, Minn. and Cleveland, where she performed in school plays. She danced as a showgirl in San Francisco before moving to Los Angeles, where she played the Moulin Rouge nightclub. Her screen career was launched when Jerry Lewis cast her in “It’s Only Money,” and she went on to appear in five more Lewis films.
She appeared in sci fi and cult movies like “Curse of the Swamp People” and “The Centerfold Girls,” often costumed in latex or leather. She told USA Today in an interview last year, “The studios would often hire me because I was attractive, then realized I could act, too!”
For 10 years, she was the companion of director Vincent Sherman, who died in 2006.
An enthusiastic hostess and chef for dinner parties, she also appeared on culinary shows and wrote recipes and fitness programs which appeared in national health magazines. She was in the process of writing her autobiography when she developed cancer.
She leaves no immediate survivors.