published by DC Comics
Three different women have used the identity of Batgirl.
They are Betty Kane, Barbara Gordon, and Cassandra.
Betty Kane was the original Batgirl. The niece of
Kathy Kane, Betty discovered her aunt was also the hero
Batwoman, and so went on several adventures with her as
The next woman to hold the title of Batgirl was Barbara
Gordon. Her relationship to Comissioner James Gordon has
changed over the years. In the pre-Crisis universe, Barbara
was James Gordon's daughter. In the post-Crisis universe,
Barbara is James' niece, who he and his wife raised after the
death of her parents. In both realities, Barbara worked hard
training both her mind and body, trying to emulate Batman.
Then one day, while attending a costume fundraiser while
dressed in a Batgirl costume of her own design, Barbara
thwarted an attempt on the life of millionaire Bruce Wayne
by the villain Killer Moth. Unbeknownst to Barbara,
Wayne was actually Batman and she allowed him time to escape
and change into his costume. The two heroes defeated Killer
Moth and Batman agreed to aid in Batgirl's training.
For many years, Batgirl occasionally fought along side Batman
and Robin. She developed a relationship with Dick Grayson
for a while. Eventually, she hung up her costume, feeling as
if she had accomplished all she could as Batgirl. Not long
afterward, Barbara was attacked by the Joker in a plot to
hurt Commissioner Gordon. Barbara was shot, paralyzing her
from the waist down. Confined to a wheelchair, Barbara has
continued to fight crime, using her computer skills to aid others.
She now uses the name Oracle
The third and newest woman to use the name Batgirl is the
mysterious Cassandra. An Asian-American teenager, Cassandra
was trained by assassins in the art of combat. When she helped
prevent Commissiner Gordon from being assassinated, Cassandra
was given the mantle of Batgirl to wear, with Barbara Gordon's
blessing. Cassandra does not speak much, causing it to be misreported that she is mute.
Batgirl has been portrayed on both the big and small screens.
In the 1960's Batman television series, Batgirl was played
by Yvonne Craig and instantly became the subject of millions
of young boys' fantasies. In the movies, Batgirl was portrayed
by Alicia Silverstone, although the character changed from
being related to Commissioner Gordon to Alfred Pennyworth,
Many thanks to Nekojin
for correcting me on the whole "Cassandra: mute versus not very talkative" thing.