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SYFY WIRE Creature From the Black Lagoon

Julie Adams, Creature From the Black Lagoon's 'damsel,' dead at 92

By Josh Weiss
Julie Adams The Creature from the Black Lagoon

Julie Adams, the actress known for playing the "damsel in distress" in 1954's Creature From the Black Lagoon, has died at the age of 92, according to her official website.

Over the years, Adams' silent, loud-mouthed scream on the classic movie poster has served as an exemplar of the black and white monster flicks of the Cold War era. Creature From the Black Lagoon was also one of the iconic creature features released by Universal Pictures, on par with Dracula, Frankstein, and The Wolfman. What made it unique, was that audiences could enjoy it in THREE EYE-POPPING DIMENSIONS!

When Universal decided to mash up all of its famous beasties in 2004's Van Helsing, the Creature From the Black Lagoon was supposed to make an appearance, but was ultimately scrapped. Rare storyboards for this sequence still exist, however.

In the original movie, Adams played Kay Lawrence, the girlfriend of the film's main character, Dr. David Reed (played by Richard Carlson). As the genre dictated at the time, Lawrence had to be abducted by the monster, prompting the cliched strong male protagonists to jump into action and save her.

In 2012, Adams was awarded the Rondo Award for the Monster Kid Hall of Fame at the annual Wonderfest in Louisville, Kentucky.

While remakes of the project have stopped and stalled over the years, the famous source material has continued to inspire new generations of directors. After more than 60 years, the dynamic put forth in Creature From the Black Lagoon was turned on its head by Guillermo del Toro in 2017's The Shape of Water.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa in October of 1926 as Betty May Adams, she moved to California at a young age to pursue an acting career. She became a secretary to make end's meet as she took acting classes, which eventually landed her a small role in 1949's Red Hot and Blue. With an established career by the '50s, Betty May Adams changed her name to Julie Adams.

In addition to her Black Lagoon role, Adams appeared in dozens of films and TV shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Night Gallery, and The Incredible Hulk.

Adams is survived by the two sons she had with her second husband, Ray Danton: Steven and Mitchell. In 2011, she published an autobiography, The Lucky Southern Star: Reflections From the Black Lagoon.