Yvette Mimieux, ’60s starlet of ‘Time Machine,’ dies at 80

Jan 19, 2022, 12:21 PM | Updated: Jan 20, 2022, 6:48 am
FILE - Actress Yvette Mimieux appears during a portrait session on Aug. 18, 1966.  Mimieux, the 196...

FILE - Actress Yvette Mimieux appears during a portrait session on Aug. 18, 1966. Mimieux, the 1960s film star of “Where the Boys Are,” “The Time Machine” and “Light in the Piazza,” died in her sleep of natural causes early Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022 at her home in Los Angeles. She was 80. (AP Photo, File)

(AP Photo, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Yvette Mimieux, the blond and blue-eyed 1960s film star of “Where the Boys Are,” “The Time Machine” and “Light in the Piazza,” has died. She was 80.

Michelle Bega, a family spokeswoman, said Mimieux died in her sleep of natural causes overnight Monday evening at her home in Los Angeles.

In 1960’s “The Time Machine,” based on H.G. Wells’ 1895 novel, Mimieux starred opposite Rod Taylor as Weena, a member of the peaceful, blond-haired Eloi people in the year 800,000, who don’t realize they’re being bred as food by the underground Morlocks.

That role and others that soon followed made Mimieux one of the ’60s most radiant starlets. The same year, she also starred in the MGM teen movie “Where the Boys Are” as one of four college students on spring break in Florida. Her character, distraught after being sexual assaulted in a motel, walks despondently into traffic.

“I suppose I had a soulful quality,” she told the Washington Post in 1979. “I was often cast as a wounded person, the ‘sensitive’ role.”

Yvette Carmen Mimieux was born on Jan. 8, 1942, in Los Angeles to a French father and a Mexican mother. She was “discovered” at age 15 when publicist Jim Byron, as he told it, spotted her on bridle path from a helicopter while flying over the Hollywood Hills. She and a friend were riding on horseback; Byron landed in front of them and gave her his card. Mimieux began as a model before MGM signed her in 1959.

“The subtle approach is the thing,” Byron told The AP in 1961. “I think we’ve got another Garbo on our hands.”

And for a few years, Mimieux was ubiquitous. Life magazine put her on the cover with the headline: “Warmly Wistful Starlet.” She made eight films before turning 21.

Mimieux starred in four films in 1962, including Vincent Minnelli’s “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” and Guy Green’s “Light in the Piazza.” In the latter, she played the beautiful, mentally handicapped daughter of Olivia de Havilland. On a trip to Italy, Mimieux’s character Clara is pursued by a young Italian in Florence, played by George Hamilton.

Mimieux played a bride in “Toys in the Attic” (1963), an epileptic surfer in “Dr. Kildare” (1964) and a bride in “Joy in the Morning” (1965). She was three times nominated for a Golden Globe, including for her role in the short-lived ABC series “The Most Deadly Game,” from Aaron Spelling. In the ’70s and ’80s, she increasingly appeared in TV movies, some of which she helped write.

Mimieux co-wrote and co-produced the 1984 CBS TV movie “Obsessive Love,” about a deranged fan obsessed with a soap opera star. Mimieux said she had to battle the network over having a woman, played by herself, in such a role. Her idea stemmed from John Hinckley’s obsession with Jodie Foster, only with the gender roles reversed.

“The network felt people wouldn’t believe me as this woman. They said to me, ‘She’s a loner, and she shouldn’t be attractive,'” Mimieux told The New York Times in 1984. “I asked them, ‘Are you saying that only unattractive people can be crazy or lonely or have unfulfilled lives?’´´

Mimieux said television was never the “love affair” she had with film. But she complained about the kinds of roles she was offered, and the one-dimensional type of women that were written. (One of her last notable movies was the 1979 Disney film “The Black Hole.”) So Mimieux retired from show business in her late 40s. Her interests — including archeology, painting and traveling — always went beyond fame. Off-screen, Mimieux was much more than the naïve starlet she was pigeonholed as.

“I decided I didn’t want to have a totally public life,” she told the Post. “When the fan magazines started wanting to take pictures of me making sandwiches for my husband, I said no.

“You know, there are tribes in Africa who believe that a camera steals a little part of your soul, and in a way I think that’s true about living your private life in public. It takes something away from your relationships, it cheapens them.”

Mimieux first married Evan Harland Engber in 1959 before later divorcing. She was married to the film director Stanley Donen, from 1972 to 1985. In 1986, she married the real estate mogul Howard F. Ruby. She’s survived by Ruby and numerous stepchildren.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


An Emirates Boeing 777 stands at the gate at Dubai International Airport as another prepares to lan...
Associated Press

Dubai sees air travel surge, expects FIFA World Cup boost

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dubai International Airport saw a surge in passengers over the first half of 2022 as pandemic restrictions eased and the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar will further boost traffic to the city-state’s second airfield, its chief executive said Wednesday. Paul Griffiths, who oversees the world’s busiest airport for […]
4 hours ago
Beachgoers take cover in the shade near wind turbines along the coast of Pingtan in Southern China'...
Associated Press

China and US spar over climate on Twitter

BEIJING (AP) — The world’s two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases are sparring on Twitter over climate policy, with China asking if the U.S. can deliver on the landmark climate legislation signed into law by President Joe Biden this week. After Congress passed the bill last Friday, U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns took to […]
4 hours ago
Associated Press

Syria denies it is holding American journalist Austin Tice

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria denied on Wednesday it is holding U.S. journalist Austin Tice or other Americans after President Joe Biden accused the Syrian government of detaining him. The Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Damascus “denies it had kidnapped or is holding any American citizen on its territories.” “The U.S. issued […]
4 hours ago
Associated Press

Victims of UK tainted blood scandal to get government payout

LONDON (AP) — Thousands of people in Britain who contracted HIV or hepatitis from transfusions of tainted blood in the 1970s and 1980s will receive 100,000 pounds ($120,000) in compensation, the U.K. government said Wednesday. Survivors welcomed the payment, which came after years of campaigning, but said it should be expanded to include more people […]
4 hours ago
FILE - Missouri and American flags fly outside Planned Parenthood June 24, 2022, in St. Louis. Plan...
Associated Press

Planned Parenthood to spend record $50M in midterm elections

WASHINGTON (AP) — Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading reproductive health care provider and abortion rights advocacy organization, plans to spend a record $50 million ahead of November’s midterm elections, pouring money into contests where access to abortion will be on the ballot. The effort, which breaks the group’s previous $45 million spending record set in […]
4 hours ago
A student at Lakewood Elementary School in Cecilia, Ky., uses her laptop to participate in an emoti...
Associated Press

Youth mental health is in crisis. Are schools doing enough?

CECILIA, Ky. (AP) — For fourth-grader Leah Rainey, the school day now begins with what her teacher calls an “emotional check-in.” “It’s great to see you. How are you feeling?” chirps a cheery voice on her laptop screen. It asks her to click an emoji matching her state of mind: Happy. Sad. Worried. Angry. Frustrated. […]
4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Yvette Mimieux, ’60s starlet of ‘Time Machine,’ dies at 80