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Julie Adams and Ben Chapman, as the title character, in the 1954 movie "Creature From the Black Lagoon." "No matter what you do," Ms. Adams once said, "you can act your heart out, but people will always say, 'Oh, Julie Adams - "Creature From the Black Lagoon."  Universal Pictures/Photofest

By Robert D. McFadden

Feb. 4, 2019

Julie Adams, a Hollywood film and television actress for more than six decades widely remembered as the terrorized swimmer in the 1954 cult classic "Creature From the Black Lagoon," died on Sunday in Los Angeles. She was 92.

Her death was confirmed by her son Steve Danton.

A lithe beauty from Arkansas - she was Miss Little Rock of 1946 - Ms. Adams subdued her Southern drawl, got into the movies in 1949 and appeared in about 50 feature films with a Who's Who of leading men, including Charlton Heston, Glenn Ford, Tony Curtis and Elvis Presley.

Her starring breakthrough under a long-term contract with Universal-International Pictures was Anthony Mann's "Bend of the River"(1952), in which she played a frontier woman who falls for James Stewart on the Oregon Trail in a cast that also included Rock Hudson and Arthur Kennedy. It was one of the top box-office hits of the year.

A year later, she starred with Tyrone Power in "The Mississippi Gambler" and with Van Heflin in "The Wings of a Hawk," a tale of guerrilla resistance to federal despotism under President Porfirio Díaz of Mexico. Critics called both films standard, if scenic, but praised Ms. Adams's performances.

Her slender, expressive face, flitting from joy to love to fear as needed but never far from tears, became familiar to millions on television. She was seen on more than 90 series, including "The Rifleman," "Bonanza" and "Perry Mason" in the 1960s; "Mannix" and "Marcus Welby, M.D." in the '70s; "Capitol" in the '80s; and "Murder, She Wrote" (1987-93), on which she played a real estate agent and friend of the show's central character, the writer and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher, played by Angela Lansbury.

In a retrospective interview with the film historian Tom Weaver in 1991, Ms. Adams voiced no serious regrets, although she noted, "No matter what you do, you can act your heart out, but people will always say, 'Oh, Julie Adams - "Creature From the Black Lagoon." ' "


CrediUniversal Pictures/Photofest

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