Sunday, August 08, 2010

Lorene Yarnell, R.I.P.

From The New York Times --

Lorene Yarnell, who with Robert Shields formed the mime-and-dance comedy team Shields and Yarnell, a familiar presence on television in the 1970s, died on July 29 after suffering a brain aneurysm at her home in Sandefjord, Norway. She was 66.

The death was confirmed by Mr. Shields’s wife, Jennifer.

With Mr. Shields, her husband at the time, Ms. Yarnell starred in the variety show “Shields and Yarnell,” broadcast on CBS in 1977 and 1978. She had originally trained as a dancer, he as a mime; after meeting in the early 1970s, each learned the other’s art. Together they developed a style that was an amalgam of the two.

The result charmed many viewers, though not everyone. Reviewing the first episode of “Shields and Yarnell” in The Washington Post, Tom Shales wrote, “The premiere last week broke the scoop that even the Captain and Tennille can be out-cutesie-wootsie’d.”

In 1981 Mr. Shields and Ms. Yarnell starred in “Broadway Follies,” a musical revue at the Nederlander Theater in New York. The show received poor notices and closed after one performance.

Ms. Yarnell’s other credits include the robot Dot Matrix (with a voice supplied by Joan Rivers) in “Spaceballs,” Mel Brooks’s 1987 film comedy.

Ms. Yarnell was born in Inglewood, Calif., on March 21, 1944. After she married Mr. Shields in 1972 — the ceremony was performed in mime — the couple worked as street performers in San Francisco before breaking into television as a duo.

Mr. Shields and Ms. Yarnell divorced in the mid-1980s. Survivors include her fourth husband, Bjorn Jansson, and a brother, Richard, The Los Angeles Times reported.


Anonymous said...

Oh man; that stinks. I had such a crush on her back in the day - she and husband Shields were great in their dual mime act. Loved their show, too.

RIP indeed, Ms. Yarnell.


Wendy the (Very) Good Witch said...

Wow...I had forgotten ALL about The Shields and Yarnell Show until seeing your post. I remember catching this sometimes when I'd stay at my Grandparents house as a young girl. That, and the Sonny & Cher show. I enjoyed those nights with my Grandmother who always loved the variety shows with their fancy costumes and musical numbers. Thanks for the flashback. And RIP Yarnell!

Wings said...

Such a part of the 70s, to me, and probably to many more.


Wings said...

BTW, great pic to use!

The Frog Queen said...

So very sad.


KW said...


Rik Tod said...

Grew up with Shields and Yarnell, and have very fond memories of their robot characters especially. Very sad she is gone...

Anonymous said...

And another part of my childhood dies,r.i.p Ms. Yarnell.

gppressingon said...

What, all you comic book buffs and nary a one mentions Yarnell's guest-starring role as Formicida in a third-season WONDER WOMAN episode?? Robert Shields also guest starred, so it's a rare treat for Shields & Yarnell fans, less so for fans of good super-hero television. "Formicida" (from Nov. 1978) was far from one of the series' stellar eps. In case you've supressed the memory, Yarnell plays a scientist who can control ants. As the villainess formicida she wears a slinky black outfit that would turn Emma Peel green with envy. I was sad to hear of her death. Bagman above expressed my feelings, too: another piece of my childhood gone. ~ Gary in Omaha

~P~ said...

I also had a young crush on Yarnell.
Watching these videos (yours and the subsequent YouTube suggested clips) harken back to my childhood and far, far better days.

Yarnell shall be missed.
My condolences to Mr. Shields and her family.