Big Gay Horror Fan has always loved the ladies. This fact may stem from my experience with a perkily collegiate actress in summer stock, during my 16th year. Every night, as intermission struck for a Tennessee Williams’ extravaganza, she would bound into the dressing room, pop off her dress and bra and then gasp (in mock, bare chested surprise)“Oh, boys!” upon ‘discovering’ my fellow effete (I might add) apprentices and myself.
In her delightful new memoir The Lucky Southern Star, the effusive Julie Adams tells many a show business story, herself. Of a much more clothed variety, of course.
Beloved for her strong heroine ascetics in the classic Creature of the Black Lagoon, Adams has had an incredibly distinguished career with a wide variety of credits (with her other forays into horror and exploitation including 1975’s Psychic Killer, 1978’s The Fifth Floor and 1988’s Black Roses). And while the major reason for this book is, in fact, to introduce gill man aficionados to that exquisitely detailed catalog, so much more emerges here.
Most significantly, Adams’ positive energy results in a tale that has only joyful respect for the luminaries that she has worked with. Thus, one not only gets delightful stories of her work with Rock Hudson, Milton Berle, John Wayne, Piper Laurie, Dennis Hopper, Elvis Presley and so many other notables, but one is left with the realization that it was Adams’ kindhearted luminosity that resulted in such affirmative experiences.
Adams does acknowledge the supreme difficulties of a show business career and sympathetically details the plight of the working mother (a situation that she and her fellow actresses were among the premium examples of), but her love for her chosen career and the sophisticated analysis of her film, television and theatrical roles, shows off the many levels of her personality and the deep valleys that reside in her artistic reservoir.
Most interestingly, Adams, who worshipped the stars of the silver screen as a child, herself, comes full circle with The Lucky Southern Star. As she delighted to onset tales from such luminous co-stars as Jimmy Stewart and Dick Powell, so we delight to her recollections, here.
Below, is a quick overview of a couple of Adams’ more obscure credits not covered in the book:
The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. – “The High and Deadly Affair” – 1967. Adams (who also appeared on memorable episodes of The Night Stalker and One Step Beyond among many others) plays a dual role, here. (SPOILER.) Posing as a concerned nanny for an obnoxious child on a transatlantic flight threatened by a mad doctor, Adams is actually a sophisticated scientist who has invented a cure to save the world from the deranged madman. Featuring a quietly passionate performance from Adams, this televised adventure, also, features a daffy Stephanie Powers adopting one of her numerous accents in the title role and Dark Shadows‘ Grayson Hall and Murray Matheson (a distinguished character actor who appeared on multiple television anthologies such as The Twilight Zone, The Night Stalker, Thriller and Night Gallery) are obviously having a ball as the devious pair whom want to take over the world.
The Fifth Floor. 1978. Adams shows she is made of sterner stuff, here, as take charge Nurse Hannelord, in this asylum based exploitation flick. Obviously modeled after Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Adams allows subtle compassion to shine through her sharp attitude, even in her most unwavering scenes. Adams’ best moment occurs when Bo Hopkins, as a devious attendant, threatens to expose her character’s rumored lesbianism to the hospital’s board. Though unnerved, she does not back down from Hopkins and her compelling force as an actress is exposed in full. Alternating effectiveness with a drive-in sleaziness, The Fifth Floor, also, features strong performances from such genre regulars as Robert Englund, Sharon Farrell(It’s Alive, The Premonition), Mel Ferrer (Eaten Alive, Nightmare City, The Great Alligator) and John David Carson (Pretty Girls All in a Row, Empire of the Ants, Creature of Black Lake).
To keep up with Julie Adams and/or purchase The Lucky Southern Star, be sure to visit www.julieadams.biz.
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Be sure to check back each Monday as Big Gay Horror Fan delights in the fabulous divas of scare – and until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE!