In news that was initially confirmed by the Creature himself — stuntman Ricou Browning (b. 1930) — legendary horror heroine Julie Adams, whose long career spanned multiple genres, has died. She was 92.
Born Betty May Adams in Iowa on October 17, 1926, Adams lived in many states growing up, parking in Little Rock, Arkansas, long enough to win the title of Miss Little Rock at age 19.
She launched her Hollywood career in 1949 with an appearance on Your Show Time. The pretty young starlet — credited as Betty May, then Julia and eventually Julie Adams — worked steadily, appearing in mostly B pictures, chiefly westerns. Perhaps her most memorable role from that era was in Bend of the River (1952), a technicolor western she made with Jimmy Stewart (1908-1997) and Rock Hudson (1925-1985).
Her big breakthrough and defining moment on the big screen was in the 1954 horror/sci-fi classic Creature from the Black Lagoon, which featured remarkable-for-the-time underwater photography that terrified audiences. With the death of Adams, lifelong friend Browning, who played the title role, is now the final remaining cast member from the film. The movie's reach has never ceased, with many recalling it instantly while watching 2017's Oscar winner The Shape of Water.
Among Adams's many other credits, she is fondly remembered as agoraphobe Paula Denning on the soap Capitol (1984-1986) and as town realtor/hussy Eve Simpson on Murder, She Wrote (1987-1993).
Adams told this writer she loved playing Eve because it allowed her to explore a bitchy character unlike any she'd ever played before.
In life, Adams was a delight, and a fan favorite at autograph shows.
Adams continued working until the last decade of her life, slowing down and appearing only in a couple of small roles. Her final on-camera, credited role in a feature film was 2006's World Trade Center, she closed out her TV career with an appearance in the miniseries Lost: Missing Pieces (2008) and she is credited as playing a grandmother in a current short entitled The Lucky Southern Star.
She was married to screenwriter, director and Mad Libs co-creator Leonard B. Stern (1923-2011) from 1951-1953, and then to actor Ray Danton (1931-1992) from 1954-1981.
Adams is survived by her two sons with Danton, Steven (b. 1956) and Mitch (b. 1962).