Join Date: Aug 2003
R.I.P. Juie Adams
Julie Adams, a Hollywood film and television actress for more than six decades widely remembered as the terrorized swimmer in the 1954 cult classic “Creature From the Black Lagoon,” died on Sunday in Los Angeles. She was 92.
Her death was confirmed by her son Steve Danton.
A lithe beauty from Arkansas — she was Miss Little Rock of 1946 — Ms. Adams subdued her Southern drawl, got into the movies in 1949 and appeared in about 50 feature films with a Who’s Who of leading men, including Charlton Heston, Glenn Ford, Tony Curtis and Elvis Presley.
Her starring breakthrough under a long-term contract with Universal-International Pictures was Anthony Mann’s “Bend of the River” (1952), in which she played a frontier woman who falls for James Stewart on the Oregon Trail in a cast that also included Rock Hudson and Arthur Kennedy. It was one of the top box-office hits of the year.
A year later, she starred with Tyrone Power in “The Mississippi Gambler” and with Van Heflin in “The Wings of a Hawk,” a tale of guerrilla resistance to federal despotism under President Porfirio Díaz of Mexico. Critics called both films standard, if scenic, but praised Ms. Adams’s performances.
Her slender, expressive face, flitting from joy to love to fear as needed but never far from tears, became familiar to millions on television. She was seen on more than 90 series, including “The Rifleman,” “Bonanza” and “Perry Mason” in the 1960s; “Mannix” and “Marcus Welby, M.D.” in the ’70s; “Capitol” in the ’80s; and “Murder, She Wrote” (1987-93), on which she played a real estate agent and friend of the show’s central character, the writer and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher, played by Angela Lansbury.
In a retrospective interview with the film historian Tom Weaver in 1991, Ms. Adams voiced no serious regrets, although she noted, “No matter what you do, you can act your heart out, but people will always say, ‘Oh, Julie Adams — “Creature From the Black Lagoon.” ’ ”
She was initially skeptical about the role and the movie, which seemed to her like a horror comic book. She was to play the victim of a gruesome merman who takes her off to his grotto, with filming done both above and under water in 3-D black and white. She considered rejecting the part but feared suspension by Universal, which, after all, had made “Phantom of the Opera” in 1925 and “Frankenstein” and “Dracula” in 1931.
Like the title character in the classic 1933 movie “King Kong,” the creature is a proud, sensitive monster who falls in love at first sight with a beauty and must die for his devotion. In a lost world up the Amazon, the creature lurks in the depths as Kay Lawrence (Ms. Adams) and two scientists (Richard Carlson and Richard Denning) chug upstream on an expedition aboard their laboratory boat.
In a white one-piece bathing suit, Kay takes a swim in a murky lagoon as the creature, a reptilian terror about the size of a tall (costumed) man with gills, webbed feet and hands, stalks her with backstrokes from below in a submarine pas de deux.
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