Actress Yvette Mimieux, who starred in movies including “Where the Boys Are,” “The Time Machine,” “Light in the Piazza,” “Toys in the Attic,” “Dark of the Sun” and “The Picasso Summer,” died Tuesday. She was 80.
The beautiful blonde Mimieux made most of her films in the 1960s, but she was also among the stars of Disney’s 1979 sci-fi film “The Black Hole.”
Among the films Mimieux made in 1960 were MGM’s glossy teen movie “Where the Boys Are,” in which four coeds including Mimieux’s Melanie head to Fort Lauderdale for spring break in search of fun and the “right” boy, and George Pal’s adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine,” starring Rod Taylor and with Mimieux third billed as Weena, Taylor’s romantic interest, who lives among the Eloi, a peaceful race living in the year 802,701.
In 1962 she appeared in four films, including the big-budget critical and commercial disaster “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” and “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm,” in which she played the Princess.
In the classic “Light in the Piazza” (later made into a musical that ultimately played Broadway in 2005), however, Mimieux had the interesting challenge of playing the beautiful, charming Clara, who is nevertheless mentally disabled as a result of a childhood head injury and thus very naive in the ways of the world. Olivia de Havilland played Clara’s mother, who is extremely protective of her as they travel through Italy and highly alarmed when a young Italian in Florence (played with a rather unconvincing accent by George Hamilton) pursues Clara romantically. In “Diamond Head,” set in Hawaii, she played the sister of Charlton Heston’s Richard “King” Howland, the controlling, powerful agricultural titan (and hypocritical racist) who insists that Mimieux’s Sloane end her relationship with a native Hawaiian played by James Darren.
In George Roy Hill’s “Toys in the Attic” (1963), based on the play by Lillian Hellman, Mimieux played Lily, the child-bride of ne’er-do-well con man Julian, portrayed by Dean Martin, who returns home to New Orleans; Mimieux’s Lily is manipulated by Julian’s sister, who has incestuous feelings for her brother.
In a 2001 article on Mimieux, the New York Daily News declared: “She gave her two best screen performances as beautiful young women who are emotionally arrested,” citing “Light in the Piazza” and “Toys in the Attic.”
In Jack Cardiff’s 1968 action film “Dark of the Sun,” Mimieux reteamed with her “Time Machine” co-star Rod Taylor. Jim Brown also starred in the story of mercenaries in the Congo trying to retrieve millions of dollars in diamonds, some refugees and Mimieux’s character.
The next year she starred with Albert Finney in “The Picasso Summer,” a film with a fabled and troubled history. Finney starred as a San Francisco artist married to Mimieux who becomes insecure after a party and decides to seek inspiration by traveling to Europe and finding Picasso; Mimieux’s bored wife jumps at the chance for such an adventure.
The actress tried series television with “The Most Deadly Game” in 1970-71, starring with George Maharis and Ralph Bellamy. Bellamy’s character led a group of independent agents who take on especially difficult murder cases, but the show’s run on ABC was brief. Thereafter she appeared in TV movies and some feature films including “Skyjacked” (1972), in which she starred with Heston and James Brolin; Daniel Petrie’s underwater sci-fier “The Neptune Factor” (1973), which also starred Ben Gazzara, Walter Pidgeon and Ernest Borgnine; “Journey Into Fear” (1975), also starring Sam Waterston and Zero Mostel; “Jackson County Jail” (1976), which also starred a young Tommy Lee Jones; and Disney’s expensive, effects-heavy 1979 film “The Black Hole,” which also starred Anthony Perkins and Maximilian Schell.
For the 1984 CBS TV movie “Obsessive Love,” Mimieux shared story credit, was co-producer and starred opposite Simon MacCorkindale.
Mimieux tired series regular television again with NBC’s 1985 primetime soap “Berrenger’s,” set amongst a family that owns and runs a New York department store, but the show’s run was brief. She appeared on “The Love Boat” a couple of times, co-starred in a “Perry Mason” movie in 1990, and made her last screen appearance in the 1992 NBC TV movie “Lady Boss.”
Yvette Carmen Mimieux was born in Los Angeles; her father was French and her mother Mexican.
Mimieux was married to film director Stanley Donen from 1972 until their divorce in 1985. The next year she married Howard F. Ruby, a real estate tycoon who formerly headed Oakwood International.