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Baby-Doll, born Mary Dahl, was an actress-turned-villainess.
Mary Dahl was an actress and the star of TV program, Love that Baby, a famed TV sitcom made at Gotham Studios, as the character Baby Doll. Throughout her life, she suffered from systemic hypoplasia, an extremely rare medical condition that prevented her body from physically aging (in her case, she stopped growing past the age of 5); even though she looked like a little kid, she was actually an adult. Mary also went through puberty - although she did not grow taller, her natural voice was that of a grown woman, and not that of her "Baby Doll" persona. Unfortunately, the fame went to Mary's head in a way that made her ratings hungry and a spoiled little brat.
In the last season of the series, "Love that Baby"'s ratings started to go down so the network decided to introduce a new character: Baby's Cousin Spunky. The attempt failed as Spunky quickly stole Dahl's spotlight by becoming the favorite character on the show, even for people who never liked the show, like Dick Grayson. Eventually, Spunky upstaged Dahl on her birthday episode, the show's last episode. Furious about being constantly upstaged by Spunky, Dahl complained she wasn't getting enough exposure and abruptly quit. After leaving the show, she studied drama and trained to become a dramatic actress. Her first and only job as a dramatic actress was in a stage performance of MacBeth, but her performance was unanimously panned by the critics who all told her she stunk and couldn't take her seriously because of her condition. She attempted a revival of Love that Baby, but the studio executives declined, feeling the show had run its course..
Upon her 30th birthday, Dahl snapped. She started to act like, dress like and even talk like and called herself Baby-Doll. With the help of her hired henchmen and right-hand woman, Mariam, Dahl kidnapped the former cast members in a convoluted attempt to restore her old TV-family, a time when she was happy. She even carried around a tape recorder to recreate the studio audience. Dahl also intended to capture the main cast member from her last season, "Cousin Spunky," and torment and kill him in revenge for stealing the limelight from her. She also intended to blow up the cast with a cake rigged with dynamite, and intended for herself to be among the deaths. In an unguarded moment, Dahl spoke in her real voice and admitted to how lonely she'd been after the show; then she snapped right back to "Baby Doll".
Batman and Robin intervened, with Robin switching places with Spunky Spencer and carrying a homing transmitter. After he was captured, Batman was able to locate Dahl's hideout. After attempting to kill Batman, Baby-Doll escaped to a nearby amusement park. Batman tried to reason with Dahl, offering to help her, but she ignored him. During the pursuit, Dahl ended up in the house of mirrors and saw herself in one of the fun house mirrors, resembling how she might have looked as an adult if she didn’t have her condition. Her knowledge of this illusion caused Dahl to realize that her "family" was fake too. Breaking down in the face of reality, she destroyed every mirror with her firearm before losing all will to fight and crying for the life she'll never have. Batman comforted Dahl as she hugged his legs.
Return to Crime
Two years after this incident, Dahl had apparently improved. She seemed to have adjusted to life as a grown woman (as best as she could), having become a hotelier, which also served as her residence. When waiting on some guests, a Love That Baby! marathon was playing on a TV in the lobby, causing the guests to recognize her. One of the guests, who was a rude man, pried her about her hypoplasia. Dahl gave a simple answer, but when the man invaded her personal space, rudely spoke of her crime and then asked her to "do something funny" she snapped, then retired to her room and turned on the TV. While watching a news segment on Killer Croc's latest court appearance, Dahl felt sorry for Croc, as she believed both of them were kindred spirits, misunderstood, "different", and shunned by society. While being transferred from Arkham to State Prison, Croc was freed by Dahl, who staged numerous thefts near water to play up the strategic advantage.
Meanwhile, Croc planned to leave Gotham with all the stolen gains and without Dahl, who found this out and planned one last heist at Mid-River Island. She secretly planned to sabotage the Island's nuclear power plant and level Gotham and its inhabitants, including Croc and herself. However, Batman and Batgirl intervened to halt the countdown and subdued Croc before he could kill Baby-Doll. She mourned his betrayal of her, sadly saying that they could have been happy.
As with many DCAU original characters like Harley Quinn and Mercy Graves, Baby-Doll has been incorporated into the comic books published by DC Comics. Her first, and currently, so far only appearance outside the DC Animated Universe has been in the second issue of Sean Murphy's critically acclaimed Batman: White Knight comic book limited series, which was published between 2017 and 2018.