Tickle Me, 1965
Real Name: Betty May Adams
|Although born in Iowa, Betty May Adams spent most of her childhood in Arkansas. Deciding early on to become an actress, she moved to California, where she landed a part-time job as a secretary. When not working at that, she was working hard at getting into films, taking speech lessons and regularly visiting the film studios' casting departments. When Universal Studios wanted to make a screen test for football player Leon Hart of the Detroit Lions, Betty was chosen to appear opposite him. Although Leon flopped, the studio loved Betty! They immediately signed her up, and changed her name, first to Julia and then to Julie. Although debuting as a starlet in Red, Hot and Blue (1949), she immediately landed a lead role in a series of six cheap westerns starring James Ellison and Russell Hayden, all shot in a period of four weeks in 1950! She began getting better parts in the early 1950's, including appearances in Bright Victory (1951), Bend Of The River (1952) and The Mississippi Gambler (1953).|
|Julie's role in Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954), one that would bring her plenty of attention (and still does!), was that of the only female in a team of scientists on an expedition to explore a hidden area of the Amazon. Of course, Julie is singled out and pursued by the creature, and audiences and critics are still trying to decide the creature's "intentions". In the words of film critic Leonard Maltin:|
"One wouldn't think to look to Creature from the Black Lagoon for lyrical moments, but the underwater pas de deux between the killer amphibian and this statuesque heroine is still a milestone of subtle eroticism."
It also didn't hurt that Julie appeared throughout the film in either shorts or a swimsuit! Needless to say, the creature had excellent taste! After that, Julie's roles were more varied, including The Private War of Major Benson (1955), Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (1957), and The Underwater City (1962). She also started making appearances on TV in the early '60's, holding out for better roles.
Julie as creature-bait
in Creature from
the Black Lagoon
|However, this didn't keep her from taking a film role that involved bossing the King around in Tickle Me. As Vera Radford, Julie played the owner of a ranch that served as a health spa for women, and she hires rodeo cowboy Elvis to take care of the horses. Of course, with all the women around (including Jocelyn Lane, Merry Anders, Allison Hayes, and Francine York), who can concentrate on horses! Typical Elvis-movie shenanigans follow, and the film made enough to keep the studio, Allied Artists, from bankruptcy for at least another year.|
|Julie continued to do a variety of roles, one of her favorites from this period being the part of a middle-aged pregnant woman in a 1969 episode of "Marcus Welby, M.D.". Julie starred opposite her favorite leading man in The Jimmy Stewart Show, which unfortunately only lasted one season (1971-1972). In 1975, husband Ray Danton directed her in the horror film, Psychic Killer. In the '80's, she starred with fellow "Elvis-woman" Julie Parrish in the series "Capitol", and starting in 1987, Julie had a recurring role as Eve Simpson in the popular series, "Murder She Wrote", with Angela Langbury (also one of "Elvis' women", although I haven't made a page for her yet!). She continued to be selective, and made occasional guest TV appearances. In the 2000s, Julie was showing up in quite a few popular TV series', like "Lost", "CSI" and "Cold Case". Her last film appearance to date is the Roman Polanski comedy Carnage. She's pretty much retired now besides a few public appearances. She's written her memoirs now, too, and is promoting the book through her official website!|
The Lucky Southern Star: Reflections from the Black LagoonYou can now get your copy (autographed, if you want!) of Julie's autobiography at her official site! Julie talks about her lengthy and varied career, and devotes a whole chapter to working with Elvis, and there are many never-before-seen photos!
with Rock Hudson in
The Lawless Breed
with Charlton Heston in
The Private War Of
early publicity photos
from Creature From The Black Lagoon
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