The last few months have seen several notable deaths of Hollywood professionals who were indelibly linked to the horror genre, and today we sadly have one more to report: Creature from the Black Lagoon star Julie Adams, who has passed away at 92. The death was reported by Creature co-star Ricou Browning.
Adams was a well-traveled actress with more than 150 roles to her credit, active in the Hollywood scene for almost 70 years. She starred in everything from films such as The Private War of Major Benson to TV appearances on The Jimmy Stewart Show, Murder, She Wrote and Lost. As recently as 2010, she was appearing in episodes of CSI New York, but it’s safe to say that she’ll always be remembered most vividly as scientist Kay Lawrence in Creature from the Black Lagoon.
That 1954 film represented a closing chapter of sorts for the legendary Universal Monsters series of horror movies, being the last major “monster” introduction on the tail end of Universal’s original horror cycle. The radiant Adams, 28 years old at the time, starred as a bathing beauty of a scientist whose iconic white bathing suit was no doubt responsible for much pubescent fascination in ’50s movie houses. Her wiles certainly weren’t lost on the Creature, who takes a liking to Kay Lawrence, much in the same way as Kong was attracted to Fay Wray. Also distinctive: Adams’ scream of terror at the sight of the creature, which led to her being described as one of cinema’s first “scream queens.”
To her credit, Adams always seemed fond of the role and her place in horror history, and was enthusiastic about discussing the memory of Creature from the Black Lagoon in the years that followed. Below you can see a video of her, speaking to an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences crowd in 2012, reminiscing on the experience of Creature from the Black Lagoon.