Sue Lyon

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Sue Lyon
Sue Lyon Tony Rome 1967.jpg
Lyon in the film Tony Rome (1967)
Suellyn Lyon

(1946-07-10)July 10, 1946
DiedDecember 26, 2019(2019-12-26) (aged 73)
Alma materLos Angeles City College
Santa Monica College
Years active1959–1980
(m. 1963; div. 1965)

Roland Harrison
(m. 1971; div. 1972)

Cotton Adamson
(m. 1973; div. 1974)

Edward Weathers
(m. 1983; div. 1984)

Richard Rudman
(m. 1985; div. 2002)

Suellyn Lyon (July 10, 1946 – December 26, 2019) was an American actress. She joined the entertainment industry as a model at the age of 13, and later rose to prominence and won a Golden Globe for playing the title role in the film Lolita (1962).[1] Her other film appearances included The Night of the Iguana (1964), 7 Women (1966), Tony Rome (1967), and Evel Knievel (1971).

Life and career[edit]

Suellyn Lyon was born on July 10, 1946, in Davenport, Iowa.[2] She was the youngest of five children, and her father died before her first birthday. Soon after, her mother, Sue Karr Lyon, moved the family to Dallas, then to Los Angeles.[3]

When she was 14 years old, she was cast in the role of Dolores "Lolita" Haze in Stanley Kubrick's film Lolita (1962),[4] starring with James Mason, then aged 53.[5] Nabokov, the book's author, described her as the "perfect nymphet".[5] She was chosen for the role partly because the film makers had to alter the age of the character to an older adolescent rather than the 12-year-old child Lolita in Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita. Although Kubrick's film altered the story so as not to be in violation of the Hollywood Production Code, it was still one of the most controversial films of the day.[6]

Lyon was 15 when the film premiered in June 1962,[7] too young to watch the film.[5] She became an instant celebrity and won a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer—Female.[8] She recorded two songs for the film, 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.[citation needed]

Lyon was cast as a seductive teenager in John Huston's The Night of the Iguana (1964), competing for the affections of disgraced preacher Richard Burton against the likes of Deborah Kerr and Ava Gardner.[9][10] She played a mission worker in 7 Women (1965), director John Ford's last feature film. Lyon played the female lead in the comedy The Flim-Flam Man (1967) and had a supporting role in Tony Rome (1967), which starred Frank Sinatra. She played the wife of daredevil Evel Knievel in the film Evel Knievel (1971).[9][10][11] By the 1970s, she was relegated to mainly secondary roles. In her final film, she played a news reporter in Alligator (1980).[10][9]

Personal life[edit]

Lyon was married five times.[5] Her 1973 marriage to Cotton Adamson in a Colorado state prison where he was incarcerated for robbery and second-degree murder was contentious and ended in 1974 when the recently released Adamson committed another hold-up. She was also the partner of Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan during the mid-1960s.[12]

Her daughter from her marriage with Roland Harrison, Nona Harrison Gomez (née Nona Merrill Harrison), was born in Los Angeles in 1972.[13]


Lyon died in West Hollywood on the morning of December 26, 2019, at the age of 73.[14] While no specific cause of death was given, she was reported to have been in poor health "for some time".[3]




Year Title Role Notes
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 movie
Four Rode Out Myra Polsen
1970 But I Don't Want to Get Married! Laura TV movie
1971 Evel Knievel Linda
1973 Murder in a Blue World Ana Vernia
Tarot Angela
1976 Smash-Up on Interstate 5 Burnsey TV movie
Crash! Kim Denne
1977 End of the World Sylvia Boran
Don't Push, I'll Charge When I'm Ready Wendy Sutherland TV movie, made in 1969
1978 The Astral Factor Darlene DeLong Re-released in 1984 as The Invisible Strangler
Towing Lynn
1980 Alligator NBC Newswoman (Final film role)


Year Title Role Notes
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 Bunny Phillips 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")


  1. ^ Weinman, Sarah (October 24, 2020). "The Dark Side of Lolita". Air Mail (67). Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  2. ^ Olsen, Mark (December 28, 2019). "Sue Lyon, actress who portrayed Lolita in scandalous 1962 movie, dies at 73". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Genzlinger, Neil (December 27, 2019). "Sue Lyon, Star of 'Lolita,' Is Dead at 73". The New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  4. ^ "Schoolgirl Gets Lead in 'Lolita,'" The New York Times, September 28, 1960, p. 33.
  5. ^ a b c d "Sue Lyon, Kubrick's Lolita, dies aged 73". The Guardian. December 29, 2019. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  6. ^ Tallerico, Brian. "Foreground Material: "Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection"". Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  7. ^ Bosley Crowther review, The New York Times June 14,1962
  8. ^ "Winners & Nominees 1963". Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d "Sue Lyon". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d "Sue Lyon". TV Guide. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  11. ^ Evel Knievel : Press Kit, Cast, Crew, Synopsis, Movie Posters,; accessed April 3, 2017.
  12. ^ "Donovan,"
  13. ^ Sue Lyon. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  14. ^ Olsen, Mark (December 28, 2019). "Sue Lyon, teenage star of Stanley Kubrick's 'Lolita,' is dead at 73". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 29, 2019.

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