Remembering Lorene Yarnell of Shields and Yarnell (and 'Spaceballs')

yarnell-spaceballs-320.jpgImage Credit: Everett Collection Lorene Yarnell, half of the mime-dance-comedy team Shields and Yarnell, died July 29 at the age of 66 after suffering a brain aneurysm, the Los Angeles Times reports. Best known for her partnership with then-husband Robert Shields, the duo worked the streets of San Francisco before hitting the small screen, where they starred in their own 1970s variety show and made appearances on hundreds of programs including The Sonny & Cher ShowThe Muppet Show, and the Christmas at Walt Disney World special (which featured their signature robot personas The Clinkers, watch below). They were also a hit on the Vegas strip and in concert halls around the world. Solo, Yarnell, who began her career as a dancer on variety shows, is best remembered for serving as the body of the Joan Rivers-voiced robot Dot Matrix in 1987’s Spaceballs.

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  • Kim

    Wow, I so remember them being on everything when I was a kid in the 70’s. No one ever seems to remember who they are when I mention them, but I’m sure if they saw a clip of them, they would. I’m surprised to hear that she was 66. I would have thought they were younger then my parents (65 and 67). Sorry to hear this news.

    • FabK

      This is so crazy. I remember them too and had just asked my Mom about them the other day. She kind of remembered them but couldn’t remember their name. I just did a search on youtube and found the breakfast scene. I remember being kind of scared of them but fascinated at the same time.

    • jezoebel

      Oh. My. God. I definitely remember them. I guess those that don’t remember them weren’t kids in the ’70s like me. I really feel old now.

      • jules

        Me too, Jezoebel. :-/

    • Illiterati

      We just sat and watched Spaceballs the other day and the subject of Shields and Yarnell came up in conversation when Dot Matrix showed up.

      I remember when they were still together and had their tv show.

      It’s sad to see that she’s passed on.

  • Suza

    Aw, that’s too bad. I remember watching Shields and Yarnell as a kid.

  • Iakovos

    I LOVED Shields & Yarnell as a young teen, and always wondered what happened to them. Thing about those who reside in one’s memory, they never age. It is difficult to imagine them in their 60s, but I am now closing in on 50. Her passing is sad but it sparks a happy memory of being thoroughly entertained once upon a time.

  • SAinSA

    Mime speechless.

  • WishUponAStar

    I also remember this duo from the 70’s. I am so sorry to hear she passed. They had some real talent back then. May she rest in peace.

  • Yes…

    I agree, very talented, also surprised she was 66. The clips bring back memories. RIP

  • Alex

    IMDb lists her age as 62. And I remember her fondly from the 70s as well.

  • Martha

    I loved S & Y as a kid. They personified the 70s for me. I never thought of her aging. She was such a cutie-pie. I am sorry to hear of her passing.

  • Chappel

    I used to watch Shields and Yarnell when I was growing up. I loved them and always tuned in every time I knew they’d be on TV and, of course, I watched their variety show.

    She was a beautiful and very talented woman who will live on in my memories.

    My condolences to her friends and family and may she rest in Peace.

  • miss wash

    May her soul rest in peace

  • sam

    These are names from my youth. I always enjoyed seeing them. She was very graceful and lovely. RIP, Ms. Yarnell.

  • Old Fan

    I always enjoyed their work. When my bad hips make standing/straightening up tricky I always do their Robot and reference them when someone asks if I’m okay.
    RIP talented lady.

  • Michael

    I remember seeing Shields in San Francisco’s Union Squire. At first he was somewhat of an oddity but soon caught on. I believe Yarnell joined him while he was still doing his mime in the city. They wore some kind of stripped outfits.

  • caliban821

    How sad to hear. I always enjoyed watching them during the 70s and was a little sad when they got divorced. They also appeared on Wonder Woman. She played a superpowered adversary

    • Alan of Montreal

      For the longest time I was trying to remember the name of the actress who played the telepathic ant lady in Wonder Woman, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember her, even though I knew she was a part of a famous mime duo (probably the only famous mime duo in history). Well, now the mystery is solved, albeit due to rather tragic circumstances.

  • Rene

    They were great entertainment.

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