Some actresses start with small roles and slowly try to work their way toward professional respectability. Others start with critically acclaimed movies and only appear in more popular films as their career advances.
Then there’s another kind of actress, the sort that simply decides she’s going to have fun with her career. Celeste Yarnall was one of those.
Yarnall passed away on Oct. 7 after years of fighting ovarian cancer. Her husband, Nazim Nazim, gave a heartbreaking tribute to her.
“She was magnificent in everything she did,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “She was my beloved queen.”
But despite those sweet and serious words, Yarnall wasn’t a performer who went in for weighty or melancholy roles. Her on-screen persona was all fun all the time.
Though Yarnall’s first acting appearance happened in 1962 with a bit part on “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” that wasn’t what catapulted her to fame. That distinction belongs to a single episode of “Star Trek.”
The 1967 episode dubbed “The Apple” featured the crew of the Enterprise discovering an unspoiled paradise that was more threatening than it seemed. Anton Yelchin’s character Chekov famously locked lips with Yarnall during the action.
That was only a small part of a single story in the larger “Star Trek” universe, but Yarnall expanded it into a lifetime of convention appearances. She also appeared in the 2018 science-fiction comedy “Unbelievable!!!!!”
She also appeared in a number of other films, none of which you would call high-brow entertainment — and that was part of their charm. For instance, she snagged a role opposite Elvis Presley in 1968’s “Live a Little, Love a Little.”
That movie featured the lesser-known Presley song “A Little Less Conversation,” an unabashed romantic come-on. In 2002, the tune would become a hit across the globe thanks to a remix by Dutch DJ Junkie XL.
Though she graced the screen numerous times, Yarnall didn’t restrict herself solely to acting. She also ran a successful real estate firm.
One of her best-known roles was in 1968’s “Eve” as a jungle denizen. Fox News reported that producer Harry Alan Towers wanted a pinup girl for the part.
He’d gone to the Cannes Film Festival to see if he could find the perfect woman. As his eyes roved the crowd, they happened to alight on Yarnell.
“Stop that girl!” he cried. “That’s my Eve!”
Though Yarnall reportedly hated the part and called the film “one of the worst movies of all time,” she still seemed to have a blast in it. I suppose that’s part of the reason why audiences loved her.
Our thoughts are with her husband and her family during this difficult time.
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