Julie Adams, the iconic actress with whom the Gill-Man fell in love in Creature from the Black Lagoon, died this week. She was 92.
Born Betty May Adams on October 17, 1926 in Waterloo, Iowa, the actress was stage struck at an early age when, according to her IMDb bio, she performed in her third-grade class production of Hansel and Gretel. At 19, she left home to live with family in California, working as a secretary to make ends meet while trying to make it as an actress.
She starred in a string of B-grade, quick-shoot westerns before finding herself in front of the producers at Universal-International assisting in a screen test for a football player who also wanted to make the transition to screen. His audition did nothing for his own career, but the producers couldn’t take their eyes off Betty May.
They signed her to a contract, changed her name to Julia, and she soon found herself working with stars like James Stewart. She also found herself in line to play the leading lady in 1954’s Creature from the Black Lagoon.
“I think the best thing about the picture is that we do feel for the Creature,” Adams once said about the film. “We feel for him and his predicament and where he is and so on. I think it’s a positive thing really. I like that we feel sympathy for the Creature.”
It’s interesting that she spoke so nostalgically about the film considering Adams thought about turning down the role, but eventually gave in, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The actress secured permission from the studio to change “Julia” to “Julie” and over the next six decades would continue to make regular film and TV appearances.
Yet through it all, she knew that it was that 1954 creature feature that defined, at least in part, her career.
“No matter what you do, you can act your heart out, but people will always say, ‘Oh Julie Adams-Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954),'” she said.
In retrospect, that’s not such a bad legacy, Julie, and we at iHorror will miss you.