Sue Lyon in Tony Rome, 1967
July 10, 1946
Life and career
Suellyn Lyon was born on July 10, 1946 in Davenport, Iowa. When she was 14 years old, she was cast in the role of Dolores "Lolita" Haze, the sexually charged adolescent and the object of an older man's obsessions in Stanley Kubrick's 1962 film Lolita. She was chosen for the role partly because her curvy figure suggested that of an older adolescent. Based on Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, Kubrick's film, though a toned-down version of the book—Lolita is only 12 at the beginning of the novel and 17 at the end—was nonetheless one of the most controversial films of its day.
Lyon was still 15 when the film premiered in June 1962. She became an instant celebrity and won a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female. Despite her inexperience, she was praised for holding her own in scenes with the three top-billed stars of the film, James Mason, Shelley Winters, and Peter Sellers. Lyon recorded two songs for the film, which were released on an MGM 45 rpm record. The song "Lolita Ya Ya" (Riddle–Harris) appeared on side A, and "Turn Off the Moon" (Stillman-Harris) appeared on side B.
In 1963, Lyon was again cast as a seductive teen in John Huston's The Night of the Iguana (1964), competing for the affections of Richard Burton's disgraced preacher against the likes of Deborah Kerr and Ava Gardner. Again, controversy surrounded her because of a provocative scene in the film in which Lyon is shown emerging from the water.
In 1965, she played a mission worker in China in director John Ford's last feature film, 7 Women. Lyon played the female lead in the 1967 comedy The Flim-Flam Man and had a supporting role in 1967's Tony Rome which starred Frank Sinatra. She played the wife of daredevil Evel Knievel in the 1971 film Evel Knievel.
By the 1970s, she was relegated to mainly secondary roles. In her final film role she played a news reporter in the 1980 cult favorite Alligator.
|1962||Lolita||Dolores "Lolita" Haze||Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer|
|1964||The Night of the Iguana||Charlotte Goodall|
|1966||7 Women||Emma Clark|
|1967||The Flim-Flam Man||Bonnie Lee Packard|
|Tony Rome||Diana Pines|
|1969||Arsenic and Old Lace||Elaine Harper||TV film|
|1970||But I Don't Want to Get Married!||Laura||TV film|
|1971||Four Rode Out||Myra Polsen|
|1973||Murder in a Blue World||Ana Vernia|
|1976||The Astral Factor||Darlene DeLong|
|Smash-Up on Interstate 5||Burnsey||TV film|
|End of the World||Sylvia Boran|
|Don't Push, I'll Charge When I'm Ready||Wendy Sutherland||TV film|
|1959||Letter to Loretta||Laurie||1 episode ("Alien Love")
as Suellyn Lyon
|1969–1974||Love, American Style||Barbara Eric
|2 episodes ("Love and the Extra Job/Love and the Flying Finletters/Love and the Golden Worm/Love and the Itchy Condition/Love and the Patrolperson",
"Love and the Medium/Love and the Bed/Love and the High School Flop-Out")
|1970||The Virginian||Belinda Ballard||1 episode ("Experiment at New Life")|
|1971||Men at Law||1 episode ("Marathon")|
|Night Gallery||Betsy||1 episode ("The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes/Miss Lovecraft Sent Me/The Hand of Borgus Weems/Phantom of What Opera?")|
|1978||Police Story||Caroline||1 episode ("River of Promises")|
|Fantasy Island||Jill Nolan||1 episode ("Reunion/Anniversary")|
- Erickson, Hal. "Sue Lyon". Allmovie. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
- "Schoolgirl Gets Lead in 'Lolita'", The New York Times, Sep 28, 1960, p. 33.
- Bosley Crowther review, New York Times June 14,1962 
- Evel Knievel : Press Kit, Cast, Crew, Synopsis, Movie Posters