Entertainment

Yvette Mimieux dead at 80: Star from the 1960s who starred in Time Machine passes away in her sleep


Blonde Hollywood beauty Yvette Mimieux – who was a movie staple in the 1960s and 1970s for playing the wide-eyed ingénue – has died at the age of 80.

The Los Angeles native passed away ‘peacefully’ in her sleep of natural causes on Monday, family publicist Michelle Bega shared with People on Tuesday. 

The actress had the title role in a number of hit films including The Time Machine, The Black Hole and The Light In The Piazza.

A goodbye: The Los Angeles native passed away 'peacefully' in her sleep of natural causes on Monday, family publicist Michelle Bega shared with People on Tuesday.  Seen in 1980

Big loss for Tinseltown: Blonde Hollywood beauty Yvette Mimieux – who was a movie staple in the 1960s and 1970s for playing the wide-eyed ingénue – has died at the age of 80. The Los Angeles native passed away ‘peacefully’ in her sleep of natural causes on Monday, family publicist Michelle Bega shared with People on Tuesday

She also received several Golden Globe nominations: her first was in 1960 when she was named Most Promising Female Newcomer for her work in Platinum High School.

The star had a high profile personal life as well: she was wed to Hollywood director Stanley Donen, who was at the helm of the hit films Singin’ In The Rain and Charade. They were wed from 1972 to 1985. 

Yvette grew up in Los Angeles to parents René Mimieux, who was French, and Maria Montemayor, who was Mexican.

As a teenager she was told by a talent agent that she had the looks to make it as an actress. 

The knockout, who had a model figure and long flaxen hair with big blue eyes and a charming smile, started her career in the late 1950s with television shows Yancy Derringer and One Step Beyond.

Newcomer in 1961: The looker who had a model figure and long flaxen hair with big blue eyes and a charming smile started her career in the late 1950s

Newcomer in 1961: The looker who had a model figure and long flaxen hair with big blue eyes and a charming smile started her career in the late 1950s

Her first movie role was as Weena in the 1960 film The Time Machine, a science fiction story based on the HG Wells novel about an inventor in Victorian England who constructs a machine that enables him to travel into the distant future.

The project also starred Rod Taylor and Alan Young.

That same year she lit up the comedy film Where The Boys Are. She played college student Melanie who travels with her pretty female friends Angie (Connie Francis), Tuggle (Paula Prentiss) and Merritt (Dolores Hart) to Florida to have fun during their spring break. 

Big hit: Her first hit part was as Weena in the 1960 movie The Time Machine, a science fiction film based on the HG Wells novel

Big hit: Her first hit part was as Weena in the 1960 movie The Time Machine, a science fiction film based on the HG Wells novel

A favorite: The film is about an inventor in Victorian England who constructs a machine that enables him to travel into the distant future

A favorite: The film is about an inventor in Victorian England who constructs a machine that enables him to travel into the distant future

College fun: That same year she lit up the comedy film Where The Boys Are. She played college student Melanie who travels with her pretty female friends Angie (Connie Francis), Tuggle (Paula Prentiss) and Merritt (Dolores Hart) to Florida to have fun during their spring break

College fun: That same year she lit up the comedy film Where The Boys Are. She played college student Melanie who travels with her pretty female friends Angie (Connie Francis), Tuggle (Paula Prentiss) and Merritt (Dolores Hart) to Florida to have fun during their spring break

They look for love and flirt with many men, but the trip is full of complications as they run into cads. In one scene, Yvette’s character is sexually assaulted and is later seen wandering the streets.

Next came the drama Light In The Piazza in 1962 which took a more serious tone as she played a mentally challenged young woman whose mother (Olivia de Havilland) does not know what to do with her when she falls for a wealthy Italian man Fabrizio Naccarelli (George Hamilton) during their trip to Florence.

During the time she said of her work: ‘I supposed I have a soulful quality. I was often cast as a wounded person, the “sensitive” role.’

In 1963 she landed a small role in the high-profile film The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm but it did not do too well at the box office.

The films Diamond Head (1963) with Charlton Heston and Toys In The Attic (also 1963) with Dean Martin followed. 

In 1964 Yvette starring in the TV show Dr Kildare which earned her her second Golden Globe nomination. Richard Chamberlain was her co-star.

A triumph: Next came the drama Light In The Piazza in 1962 which took a more serious tone as she played a mentally challenged young woman whose mother (Olivia de Havilland - seen left) does not know what to do with her

A triumph: Next came the drama Light In The Piazza in 1962 which took a more serious tone as she played a mentally challenged young woman whose mother (Olivia de Havilland – seen left) does not know what to do with her

Simple but sweet: Her mother is upset when she falls for a wealthy Italian man Fabrizio Naccarelli (George Hamilton - seen left) during their trip to Florence

Simple but sweet: Her mother is upset when she falls for a wealthy Italian man Fabrizio Naccarelli (George Hamilton – seen left) during their trip to Florence

In the late 1960s she starred in The Reward (1965), Monkeys, Go Home! (1967); and The Caper of the Golden Bulls (1967). 

Her career also thrived in the 1970s.

She landed the role as Vanessa Smith in the 1970 movie The Most Deadly Game from Beverly Hills, 90210 producer Aaron Spelling. The part got her a third Globe nomination.

And she stood out for her work in the 1973 film The Neptune Factor where she shared the screen with Ben Gazzara, Walter Pidgeon and Ernest Borgnine.

After that movie she turned to screenwriting and her script for Hit Lady was turned into a film she starred in in 1974. (Ten years later she would write Obsessive Love). 

She had fun on the set of her films: The pretty star was seen in slacks, a hat and Gucci shoes in 1967

She had fun on the set of her films: The pretty star was seen in slacks, a hat and Gucci shoes in 1967

She got props for this: She landed the role as Vanessa Smith in the 1970 movie The Most Deadly Game. The part got her a third Globe nomination

Beach babe: Mimieux appearing in the ABC tv movie Hit Lady in 1974

She got props for this: She landed the role as Vanessa Smith in the 1970 movie The Most Deadly Game. The part got her a third Globe nomination. Right, Mimieux appearing in the ABC tv movie Hit Lady in 1974

Her famous husband: The star had a high profile personal life as well: she was wed to Hollywood director Stanley Donen, who was at the helm of the hit films Singin' In The Rain and Charade. They were wed from 1972 to 1985. Seen in 1979

Her famous husband: The star had a high profile personal life as well: she was wed to Hollywood director Stanley Donen, who was at the helm of the hit films Singin’ In The Rain and Charade. They were wed from 1972 to 1985. Seen in 1979

Mimieux made a pilot in 1976 for a TV sitcom based on Bell, Book And Candle, a 1958 film which starred Kim Novak and James Stewart, but it did not make it to the small screen. 

The Black Hole from 1979 was another successful film for Mimieux. She starred as scientist Kate McCrae in the Disney science fiction movie with Anthony Perkins and Maximilian Schell. 

Later in her career she popped up as a guest star on the TV shows The Love Boat and Perry Mason: The Case of the Desperate Deception. 

Her last film was 1992’s Lady Boss.

That same year she retired from Hollywood to travel and try out other careers.

The star – whose full name was Yvette Carmen Mimieux – opened a business selling Haitian products and she also became a real estate agent, Deadline reported. 

Mimieux was married three times, first to Evan Harland Engber in 1959 before later divorcing. She went on to wed director Donen from 1972 to 1985.

One year later, the 5ft4in actress married Howard F. Ruby, who survives her. 

She is also survived by siblings Edouard Mimieux and Gloria Montemayor as well as stepchildren Steven Ruby, Michael Ruby, Donna Hill, Josh Donen and Mark Donen.

She had just turned 80 on January 8, 2022. 

Later in life: Husband Howard Ruby and Yvette in 2002 at The Carousel of Hope, the world's premiere gala benefitting childhood diabetes, hosted by Marvin and Barbara Davis at Merv Griffin's Beverly Hilton

Later in life: Husband Howard Ruby and Yvette in 2002 at The Carousel of Hope, the world’s premiere gala benefitting childhood diabetes, hosted by Marvin and Barbara Davis at Merv Griffin’s Beverly Hilton



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