Monique van Vooren, Actress in 'Tarzan and the She-Devil' and 'Batman,' Dies at 92

Monique Van Vooren - Photofest - H 2020

A native of Belgium, she also appeared in 'Ten Thousand Bedrooms,' 'Fearless Frank' and 'Flesh for Frankenstein.'

Monique van Vooren, the Belgian-born actress who starred as a villainess in Tarzan and the She-Devil and played the Penguin's moll in Burgess Meredith's final appearance on Batman, has died. She was 92.

Van Vooren died Saturday of cancer at her home in New York City, her son, New York realtor and occasional actor Eric Purcell, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Van Vooren also was seen in bed in a white negligee in the opening title sequence to introduce Ten Thousand Bedrooms (1957), the first movie Dean Martin made after his split with Jerry Lewis, and she portrayed Baroness Katrin Frankenstein in the X-rated Flesh for Frankenstein (1973), a 3D film produced by Andy Warhol.

She also was a panelist on game shows including To Tell the Truth and I've Got a Secret and a frequent guest on talk shows hosted by Jack Paar, Johnny Carson and Mike Douglas.

Born on March 25, 1927, in Brussels, van Vooren came to the U.S. in the late 1940s as an exchange student and made her onscreen debut in the Italian melodrama Tomorrow Is Too Late (1950), starring Vittorio De Sica.

In 1953, she portrayed the dark-haired ivory poacher Lyra the She-Devil opposite Raymond Burr and Lex Barker in Tarzan and the She-Devil and appeared on Broadway in John Murray Anderson's Almanac, a musical revue. (Also in the cast: Harry Belafonte, Orson Bean and Tina Louise.)

Van Vooren landed small parts in Vincente Minnelli's Gigi (1958) and Happy Anniversary (1959), starring David Niven and Mitzi Gaynor, and was the glamorous Zizi Molnari in a 1959 adaptation of Budd Schulberg's What Makes Sammy Run? on the NBC anthology series Sunday Showcase.

In 1958, she recorded an album for RCA Victor, Mink in HiFi, with the help of bandleader Skitch Henderson.

Van Vooren helped the Penguin vacuum up cash on the streets of Gotham City when she portrayed the greedy Miss Clean on ABC's Batman on the third-season 1968 episode "Penguin's Clean Sweep."

In 1974, she returned to Broadway for the musical fantasy Man on the Moon, written by John Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas.

Van Vooren also appeared in such films as Fearless Frank (1967), which starred Jon Voight and was an early feature from writer-director Philip Kaufman; Larry Peerce's Ash Wednesday (1973), starring Elizabeth Taylor and Henry Fonda; and Oliver Stone's Wall Street (1987).

In 1964, she suggested that young nightclub performer Ronnie Walken change his name to Christopher Walken, and he went with it.

Van Vooren was married to Gerard Purcell, a TV producer and manager for Al Hirt, Eddy Arnold and others, from 1958 until his 2002 death. Their son also worked for Stone, playing a jeweler in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010).

The actress also is survived by her granddaughter, Christina.