‘Revenge of the Creature’ Starlet Lori Nelson Dies @ 87

Lori Nelson, whose big-screen claim to fame was as the damsel in distress in the horror flick Revenge of the Creature, died August 23 at 87.

She got carried away with her career. (Image via Universal-International)

THR reports that Nelson, who had long suffered from Alzheimer's disease, died at home in L.A.

Leggy Nelson at the peak of her career (Image via Universal-International)

Nelson was born Dixie Kay Nelson on August 15, 1933, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, growing up in Encino, California. She won a contract with Universal-International the day she turned 17, making her film debut in Bend of the River (1952) with Jimmy Stewart, Rock Hudson and Julie Adams.

Nelson with the iconic Ma and Pa Kettle actors Marjorie Main (1890-1975) and Percy Kilbride (1888-1964) — and would you believe the hunk is James Best (1926-2015)??? (Image via Universal)

She went on to appear in Ma and Pa Kettle at the Fair (1952) and Francis Goes to West Point (1952), both installments in popular movie series.

Plucked from obscurity (GIF via GIPHY)

Nelson recalled having to be persuaded to appear in Revenge of the Creature, the 1955 sequel to Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). The 3D cult classic co-starred John Agar and marked Clint Eastwood's acting debut. Critically panned, it — like the Gill-man it creature-featured — followed her everywhere. "The one I didn’t want to do was Revenge of the Creature," Nelson told Western Clippings in an undated interview. "Science fiction was considered bottom of the barrel in those days. Of course, that’s the picture I am most remembered for. It’s very ironic!"

One of her other most memorable roles was as brainy Greta Hanson on 39 episodes of the TV version of How to Marry a Millionaire (1957-1958). The show's top-billed star, she left the role after a season.

Nelson with Barbara Stanwyck in All I Desire (Image via Universal)

Nelson's other film work included playing Barbara Stanwyck's daughter in the Douglas Sirk melodrama All I Desire (1953); livening up the campy Jane Russell adventure Underwater! (1954); appearing in Day the World Ended (1955), directed by a young Roger Corman; a featured role in the well-regarded noir drama I Died a Thousand Times (1955); a spot between Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in Pardners (1956); and as one of two wild sisters, the other played by Mamie Van Doren, in the teen drama Untamed Youth (1957).

Nelson making a splash in Underwater! (Image via RKO)

Mostly retired from acting after 1961, she made just two TV appearances and three films thereafter, including 2005's The Naked Monster, in which she gamely reprised her Revenge of the Creature role.

Nelson famously dated Tab Hunter in the '50s, before he came to terms with being gay. They split amicably. She was also engaged to Burt Reynolds.

Red flag! (Image via vintage clipping)

Nelson went on to marry and divorce composer Johnny Mann. In 1983, she wed LAPD Det. Joseph J. Reiner, who survives her.

Nelson & Hunter at Cinecon 14 years ago (Image via Cinecon)

She is also survived by her two children with Mann, Lori and Jennifer.

1 Response

  1. Joe

    James Best played Sheriff Roscoe P Coltrane, not Enos!

Leave a comment