Julie Adams, the actress best-known for starring in the classic 1954 Universal monster movie Creature From the Black Lagoon, has passed away at the age of 92. Adams appeared in 50 films and even more television episodes. A career that spanned several decades, Adams is considered in the same breath as Fay Wray and Evelyn Ankers, as someone who stole the hearts of classic Hollywood monsters and generations of genre fans.
Although catapulted to stardom after starring in Creature From the Black Lagoon, Adams played a bevy of roles on both the big and small screen. Born Betty May Adams on October 17, 1926, in Waterloo, Iowa, Adams spent her early years in Arkansas before moving to California. She landed her first role in the 1949 Paramount picture Red Hot and Blue. By the early '50s, she changed her name to Julie after signing with Universal in 1949. It was during this time that Adams landed her most iconic role. Universal was seeking to capitalize on the popularity of 3D film in the early '50s and began production on Creature From the Black Lagoon. Jack Arnold, who brought in a pretty penny for Warner Bros. with the 3D thriller House of Wax (1953), was tapped to direct. The rest, as they say, is movie history.
As reported by THR, Adams' son, Mitch Danton, confirmed his mother's passing early Sunday morning in Los Angeles. Adams continued to have a prolific career after the success of Creature From the Black Lagoon. She played estate agent Eve Simpson in Murder, She Wrote opposite Angela Lansbury, between 1987 and 1993, as well as appearing on The Jimmy Stewart Show in the 1970s. She also starred opposite Elvis Presley in Tickle Me (1965) and had roles in The Last Movie (1971) with Dennis Hopper and McQ with John Wayne (1974).
But it's her role as Kay Lawrence in Creature from the Black Lagoon that Adams will forever be associated most closely with. Both Adams and the film itself has garnered generations of fans. A young Guillermo del Toro was so enamored with the Gill-man and his female beauty that he later used the movie as inspiration for his Oscar-winning film, The Shape of Water. Del toro said of The Shape of Water's Creature From the Black Lagoon inspirations: "The creature was the most beautiful design I'd ever seen. And I saw him swimming under Julie Adams, and I loved that the creature was in love with her, and I felt an almost existential desire for them to end up together. Of course, it didn't happen." Del Toro tweeted about the news of Adams passing:
I mourn Julie Adams passing. It hurts in a place deep in me, where monsters swim. https://t.co/yYGWR1oDyH— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) February 4, 2019
It's Adams herself that best summed up why both the Gill-man and film have endured for so many decades best: "I think the best thing about the picture is that we do feel for the creature. We feel for him and his predicament." Adams continued to work steadily, acting into her 90s. Her final role was in a 2018 short film inspired by her biography. She forever cherished her role in Creature From the Black Lagoon and the legions of fans she culminated over the years because of the film.
Julie Adams is survived by sons Steve and Mitch from her marriage to actor/director Ray Danton and by her daughters-in-law Darragh and Louise, as well as four grandchildren.
R.I.P. Julie Adams: January 30, 2019, October 17, 1926 – February 3, 2019