Julie Adams, ‘Creature From The Black Lagoon’s’ Kay Lawrence & Jimmy Stewart’s TV Wife, Dies At 92

The beloved actress was best known for playing the damsel in distress in the classic 1954 horror film.

Actress Julie Adams attends he Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences' Screenings Of 'Creature From The Black Lagoon' And 'The Invisible Man' at AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California.
Valerie Macon / Getty Images

The beloved actress was best known for playing the damsel in distress in the classic 1954 horror film.

Julie Adams, the beloved Hollywood star best known for her role in the horror classic, Creature From the Black Lagoon, has died. Adams passed away in Los Angeles on Sunday at age 92, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Adams started her career using her given name, Betty Adams, in a string of films and TV shows in the early 1950s, but she later changed her name to Julia, and then Julie, at the request of Universal Pictures.

After appearing in a series of westerns at Paramount, Adams’ signed with Universal and landed supporting roles in the films Bend in the River (1952), The Treasure of Lost Canyon (1952), Wings of the Hawk (1953) and more. But Julie Adams came to prominence in 1954 when she starred as Kay Lawrence in the sci-fi horror hit, The Creature From the Black Lagoon.

In a 2013 interview with the Horror Society, Adams admitted she was reluctant to star in the horror flick opposite Richard Carlson and considered it a “step down” in her career after working with major stars like James Stewart, Rock Hudson, and Tyrone Power in previous films. Adams ultimately accepted the role and admitted it was “a great pleasure” to do the movie.

Adams, who became a popular star at sci-fi conventions and autograph shows after being cast as the object of affection of the amphibious creature the Gill-Man, once told the Los Angeles Times her form-fitting one-piece white bathing suit caused controversy on the set of Creature From the Black Lagoon because it “pulled up a little bit on the upper leg.”

“We were quite risqué,” Adams said in 2012.

Julie Adams would go on to big screen roles opposite Elvis Presley (Tickle Me, 1965), Dennis Hopper (The Last Movie,1971) and John Wayne (McQ, 1974). She also logged a lengthy TV resume on The Andy Griffith Show as county nurse Mary Simpson and on Murder, She Wrote, where she played realtor Eve Simpson for 10 episodes in on the Angela Lansbury mystery series. Before that, she played Jimmy Stewart’s wife, Martha Howard, for 24 episodes in the legendary star’s self-titled TV comedy series in 1971.

Adams later said The Jimmy Stewart Show was her favorite television role. Although the NBC sitcom was canceled after only one season, Adams said working with Jimmy Stewart every day for six months was “heaven.”

Julie Adams continued acting even into her nineties. The beloved star’s final role was in 2018 in the film short The Lucky Southern Star, which was based on her biography. Adams played “Grandma” in the film, per IMDB.

After Julie Adams’ death as announced, celebrities from film, TV, and music paid tribute to her on social media. Guillermo del Toro, who was a superfan of Adams and was inspired by Creature From the Black Lagoon, posted a tribute to the late star on Twitter. Comedian Patton Oswalt and Metallica’s Kirk Hammett also remembered Adams, whom he described as “one of the queens of the screen.” You can see the Twitter reaction to the death of Julie Adams below.

Julie Adams is survived by sons Steve and Mitch from her marriage to actor Ray Danton, as well as her daughters-in-law and four grandchildren.

You can see Julie Adams in scenes from The Creature From the Black Lagoon and from The Jimmy Stewart Show below.