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Creature From the Black Lagoon star Julie Adams, an actress who, like Fay Wray and Evelyn Ankers before her won the hearts of classic Hollywood monsters and then generations of devoted fans, died Sunday in Los Angeles. She was 92.
Adams’ death was confirmed on her official website.
Where Wray perched atop the Empire State Building with King Kong and Ankers ran through fog-shrouded forests pursued by The Wolf Man, Adams secured her place in horror iconography underwater, notably an indelible scene in the 1954 Creature during which the actress, in a one-piece white bathing suit, swims atop the lagoon water as the creature known as the Gil-Man mimics her moves some feet below. The imagery would be echoed in countless films thereafter, memorably in both Jaws and 2017’s The Shape of Water.
“I mourn Julie Adams passing,” tweeted del Toro today. “It hurts in a place deep in me, where monsters swim.”
While Adams might best be remembered for her place in the Universal monster movie canon, her role as Kay Lawrence was but one of many over a career that stretched from 1949 well into the 2000s. Adams’ career ranged from B movies of the 1950s – despite her notable monster flick entry, her steadiest genre was the Western – to the episodic TV that kept her busy throughout the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. As late as 2007 she appeared on CSI:NY, and had a small role in the 2006 feature film World Trade Center.
Among her film credits: Tickle Me, a 1965 Elvis Presley vehicle; Dennis Hopper’s The Last Movie (1971); McQ with John Wayne (1974); The Underwater City (1962); The Killer Inside Me (1976); The Fifth Floor (1978); Champions (1984); and Catchfire (1990). Her final credit was a voiceover in director Roman Polanski’s 2011 film Carnage.
A small selection of TV credits through the decades include Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Rifleman, Bonanza, The Streets of San Francisco, Marcus Welby, M.D., The Andy Griffith Show, Murder She Wrote, Beverly Hills 90210 and The Jimmy Stewart Show.
In 1955 Adams married actor Ray Danton, her costar in the film The Looters, and the two remained together until divorcing in 1981. She was in a long-term partnership with film and TV writer Ronald M. Cohen until his death in 1998.
Adams is survived by sons Steve Danton, an actor and assistant director, and Mitchell Danton, a TV editor, among other family.