This week in Los Angeles, actress Sue Lyon has died at the age of 73 after a period of declining health. Friend of Lyon’s Phil Syracopoulos first broke the news on December 27 to the New York Times.
Lyon is best known for taking the lead in Stanley Kubrick’s controversial film Lolita, based on the book by Vladimir Nabokov. This was her breakout role, but she continued to act for years until 1980. Lyon was born in Iowa in 1946 and was raised by a single mother after her father passed away before she was one year old. Her mother brought her and her siblings to Los Angeles, where she inevitably took up acting. She was noticed by Kubrick on The Loretta Young Show, and in addition to Lolita, she starred in The Night of the Iguana (1964), Tony Rome (1967), and Evel Knievel (1971). Her last credit was in 1980 in horror film Alligator.
Lyon’s name continues to linger in Hollywood because of the immense stakes she won the role of Lolita under. She had allegedly beat out about 800 other girls for the role, and after being cast it continued to be debated whether or not she was fit for the part. She was 14 at the time, making it a great deal of pressure for someone so young to be faced with.
Lyon is survived by a daughter, Nona, and will continue to be known for her iconic role in a controversial classic directed by one of the best filmmakers in cinema history.