News is coming in late tonight that American actress Lori Nelson has passed away. She was 87. She starred opposite Tom Agar in Universal’s 1955 Revenge Of The Creature.
Nelson had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for several years and died Sunday at her home in the Porter Ranch section of Los Angeles, according to her daughter Jennifer Mann.
Nelson was a starlet in 1950’s Hollywood who had a plethora of roles in both film and television of the time.
Born Dixie Kay Nelson on Aug. 15, 1933, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Nelson and her family moved to Encino when she was young. She signed with Universal on her 17th birthday and made her film debut in Bend of The River (1952).
Some of her biggest film roles included Ma and Pa Kettle at the Fair (1952), Francis Goes to West Point (1952), Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki (1953), All I Desire (1953), I Died a Thousand Times (1955), Tumbleweed (1953), The All American (1953), I Died a Thousand Times (1955), and several others.
In television, she appeared on It’s a Great Life (1955), Climax! (1956), How to Marry a Millionaire (1957), Wanted: Dead or Alive (1959), The Texan (1959), Wagon Train (1959), and several other shows dating into the 90’s.
Probably her most famous role was being kidnapped by the Gill Man in Revenge of the Creature. Nelson played the ichthyology student named Helen Dobson.
She initially did not want to make the movie but in the end, was glad she did.
“I played opposite Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, Jimmy Stewart, Dean Martin and Audie Murphy, but who’s the leading man everybody wants to ask me about? The Gill Man!” she said in an interview for Tom Weaver’s book The Creature Chronicles: Exploring the Black Lagoon Trilogy. “It’s so funny, Universal had to twist my arm a little to be in a monster movie. But if I knew then how popular they would remain, I would have twisted their arm to be in a couple more.”
Nelson only appeared in two other genre outings. She starred in Roger Corman’s 1955 film, Day The World Ended and her final film was The Naked Monster from 2005, in which her character’s name was Dr. Helen Dobson – fittingly, the same character name from Revenge of the Creature as a homage to that film.
At one point in her life, Nelson was engaged to actor Burt Reynolds, but it never worked out. She then married composer Johnny Mann from 1960 until their 1973 divorce; they had two children, Lori and Jennifer.
She married then-LAPD detective Joseph J. Reiner Survivors in 1983; he survives her.
We wish to express our sincere condolences to Lori Nelson’s family, friends, and fans at this difficult time.
Rest In Peace Lori Nelson Born: August 15, 1933 – Died: August 23, 2020
Source: The Hollywood Reporter