Yvette Mimieux, star of ‘The Time Machine’, dies

Yvette Mimieux, the blonde French-Mexican movie star who starred in the 1960s “Where the Boys Are” (“It Takes Two to Love”), “The Time Machine” and “Light in the Piazza” (“The light in the square”), passed away. He was 80 years old.

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

In 1960’s “The Time Machine,” based on the 1895 HG Wells novel, Mimieux starred opposite Rod Taylor as Weena, a member of the peaceful, blond-haired village of Eloi in the year 800,000 who are unaware that they are being bred to be used as food by the subterranean Morlocks.

That role and others that soon followed made Mimieux one of the brightest stars of the 1960s. The same year she appeared in the MGM teen film “Where the Boys Are” as one of four college students on vacation from spring in Florida. Her character, heartbroken after being sexually assaulted in a motel, walks hopelessly into traffic.

“I guess there was a touching quality to it,” he told the Washington Post in 1979. “I was often cast as a wounded person, the ‘sensitive’ role.”

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Yvette Carmen Mimieux was born on January 8, 1942 in Los Angeles to a French father and a Mexican mother. She was “discovered” at the age of 15 when the publicist Jim Byron, as he said, saw her on a trail from a helicopter while flying over the Hollywood Hills. She and a friend were riding horses; Byron landed in front of them and handed her his card. Mimieux began working as a model before signing with MGM in 1959.

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

For years Mimieux was everywhere. Life magazine put her on its cover with the headline “Warmly Nostalgic Star.” He made eight films before he was 21 years old.

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

Mimieux played a girlfriend in 1963’s “Toys in the Attic,” an epileptic surfer on the series “Dr. Kildare” (1964) and another girlfriend in “Joy in the Morning” in 1965. She was nominated three times for the Golden Globe, including for her role in the short series “The Most Deadly Game” by Aaron Spelling. In the 1970s and 1980s, he acted in multiple television movies, some of which he helped write.

Mimieux co-wrote and co-produced the 1984 CBS television movie “Obsessive Love,” about a female fan obsessed with a soap opera heartthrob. Mimieux said she had to fight with the network to have a woman, played by her, in such a role. The idea grew out of John Hinckley’s obsession with Jodie Foster, only with the gender of the roles reversed.

“The channel felt that people would not believe me as this woman. They told 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 ugly people can be crazy, or be lonely, or have frustrated lives?’” .

Mimieux said television was never “the love affair” he had with film. She complained about the papers they offered her and the one-dimensional type of woman they wrote to her. One of his last notable films was the 1979 Disney film “The Black Hole.” So Mimieux retired from show business before his 50th birthday. His interests — including archaeology, painting and travel — went beyond fame. Off-screen, Mimieux was much more than the naïve young star they tried to pigeonhole her as.

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

“You know, there are tribes in Africa that 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 married Evan Harland Engber in 1959 and the relationship ended in divorce. She was then married to film director Stanley Donen from 1972 to 1985. In 1986 she married for the third time, to real estate businessman Howard F. Ruby. He is survived by Ruby and numerous stepchildren.