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"Look. That's me in there. The real me. There I am. But it's not really real, is it? It's all just made up and pretend like my family and my life and everything else. Why couldn't you just let me make believe!?"[1]

Baby-Doll, born Mary Louise Dahl, was an actress who became a villain due to her career troubles perpetuated by her small stature brought on by stinted growth.


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. This enabled Mary to enjoy ten years of stardom. 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 "Love that Baby", the series' ratings started to drop, so the network decided to introduce a new character: Baby's Cousin Spunky. The attempt both succeeded and failed as Spunky quickly became the favorite character on the show, even for people who never liked the show, like Dick Grayson. In the process, however, he also stole Dahl's spotlight, leaving her angry about being constantly upstaged by him. Eventually, after Spunky upstaged Dahl on her birthday episode (which would end up being the show's last), she furiously complained to the studio executives that she wasn’t getting enough exposure and demanded that Spunky be fired and she be given back the spotlight. When they refused to meet her demands, she abruptly quit the show altogether, resulting in its cancellation.

After leaving "Love that Baby", 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 were unable to take her seriously because of her condition. Following this, she attempted a revival of Love that Baby, but the studio executives declined, feeling the show had run its course. Unable to find work, Mary cut herself off from the world for the next ten years. Ironically, what made Mary a television star at the age of ten also made her a recluse at the age of twenty.

Upon her 30th birthday, Dahl snapped. She started to act like, dress like, talk like, and even 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 and indirectly ruining her career. 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 snapped right back to being "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 breaking down crying over the life she would never have. Batman comforted Dahl as she hugged his legs.[1]

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.[2]

Baby-Doll's doll-gun, Mr. Happy-Head, was kept by Batman and later displayed in the Batcave.[3]

Background information[]

As with several DCAU original characters, Baby-Doll has been incorporated into the comics published by DC Comics. She appeared in second issue of Sean Murphy's Batman: White Knight comic book limited series, which was published between 2017 and 2018.


Batman: The Animated Series

The New Batman Adventures


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Dini, Paul (writer) & Riba, Dan (director) (October 1, 1994). "Baby-Doll". The Adventures of Batman & Robin. Season 3. Episode 4 (airdate). Episode 76 (production). FOX Kids.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gerber, Steve (writer) & Lukic, Butch (director) (July 11, 1998). "Love is a Croc". The New Batman Adventures. Episode 13 (airdate). Episode 9 (production). Season 1. Kids WB!.
  3. http://web.archive.org/web/20040206140650/http://www.batman-superman.com/batman/index.html