Classic Hollywood #120 – Yvette Mimieux

Yvette Mimieux 1964

Yvette Mimieux in bikini at beachDoctor’s Orders
Because of the immense success of two episodes in the Dr. Kildare TV series which featured lovely Yvette Mimieux as the glamor interest for Richard Chamberlain, the handsome doctor of Blair General Hospital is to have the girl as his leading lady in a feature film called Joy In The Morning. For us, the appearance on the screen of enchanting Yvette Mimieux will make it joy in the afternoon or evening as well. – May 15, 1964 – NBC

After receiving hundreds of fan letters praising her appearance on Dr. Kildare Yvette Mimieux said, “People loved it because I  played a vital, intelligent girl. She was a surfer but wasn’t cheap. Producers of vulgar pictures are exploiting the industry. They forget there are still many people of good taste.”

A “Good Blank Expression”

Yvette Carmen Mimeux was born January 8, 1942 in Los Angeles to a Mexican mother Maria del Carmen-Montemayor (1910-2000) and a French father, Rene Antoine Mimieux (1900-1978).

Yvette Mimieux was discovered by her manager, Jim Byron by accident when she was 15-years-old. Byron was riding in a helicopter on his way to an event and strong winds forced the helicopter to land on a bridle path where Mimieux was riding with a girl friend. Upset at this, Mimieux came over to Byron to complain. Byron was taken by her beauty and offered her his card and told her “if she ever wanted to be in pictures, give him a call.” Mimieux didn’t believe that a talent scout would be riding in a helicopter. But a few weeks later curiosity got the better of her and she called him and with her parents agreed to a management deal.

MGM signed Mimieux in 1959 after they viewed several of her modelling sessions. What talent did MGM believe she had? Looking good in a bikini and delivering a good blank expression.

She appeared in a couple of films before the H.G. Wells science fiction classic The Time Machine (1960) introduced a huge audience to the waif-like Mimieux who played Weena.

Mimieux had a busy career in the the 1960s making appearances on television and movies, but never achieved superstardom.Three of her better known film performances are Where The Boys Are (1960), Light in the Piazza (1962) with Olivia de Havilland and Toys in the Attic (1963) with Dean Martin.

Roles Are Limited

Joy in the Morning written by Betty Smith of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn fame, did nothing to enhance Mimieux’s career. Mimieux’s observation about women’s part’s in Hollywood is perceptive. “Have you noticed that they write parts for mute women but not for mute men? It must be a masculine dream: a woman who can feel and hear but not talk!”

Mimieux was married to a teacher Evan Engber in 1959. The couple divorced before 1969. Mimieux was then married to director Stanley Donen from 1972 to 1985.

Mimieux’s last appearance on screen was a 1992 guest spot on the TV series Lady Boss. After retiring from the screen, Mimieux became very successful in real estate.

Mimieux has been living for years in one Bel Air’s most beautiful homes, Il Sogno (the dream), with husband Howard Ruby who she married in 1986. Built in the 1920s, the 12,000-square-foot II Sogno is located in a peninsula of homes that juts out into the Bel Air Country Club golf course,  The house came on the market this year.  The asking price is $45 million or you can rent it for $500,000 a month.

UPDATE 1-18-22: Yvette Mimieux died in her sleep of natural causes January 18, 2022, 10 days after her 80th birthday. According to her family no funeral service or memorial will be held. In their obituary notice The New York Times questioned Mimieux’s birth date being possibly 1939. We had read that as well, that some sources claimed 1939. When originally researching this story simply checking the California birth index, Mimieux’s birth certificate was filed in 1942. Also her parents were married January 14, 1939.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.