Notable Deaths ›

Sue Lyon (1946–2019), star of “Lolita”

Getty Images / Walt Disney Television

The young actor went on to appear in movies including "Night of the Iguana" and "7 Women"

Sue Lyon was an actress best known for starring in the title role of Stanley Kubrick’s controversial 1962 film adaptation of “Lolita.” Lyon was 14 when she was cast in the role of a girl who attracts the attention of a pedophile, and she was new to acting — she had just a few small screen credits and some modeling experience when she reportedly beat more than 800 other young actresses to get the role. She won a Golden Globe Award for most promising female newcomer for her performance. Lyon continued her acting career throughout the 1960s and ‘70s before leaving it behind after her final film, “Alligator,” in 1980.

We invite you to share condolences for Sue Lyon in our Guest Book.

Died: December 26, 2019 (Who else died on December 26?)

Details of death: Died in Los Angeles at the age of 73.


Is there someone you miss whose memory should be honored? Here are some ways.


Later roles: Lyon seemed poised for stardom after her high-profile role in “Lolita” and the critical acclaim that came with it. She went on to star in films including “Night of the Iguana” (1965) with Richard Burton, John Ford’s “7 Women” (1966), and “Tony Rome” (1967) with Frank Sinatra. She played Evel Knievel’s wife opposite George Hamilton in 1971’s “Evel Knievel” and starred with George C. Scott and Michael Sarrazin in “The Flim-Flam Man” (1967). On TV, she appeared in episodes of shows including “Love, American Style,” “Night Gallery,” and “Fantasy Island.” In her final acting appearance, the 1980 film “Alligator,” Lyon played a TV newswoman.

Notable quote: “To be pretty and to stay pretty are two different things. You can’t take anything for granted, and it’s foolish to think you can. You have to think ahead of how to build health and happiness. You have to learn to avoid what is going to hurt you or someone else.” —From a 1967 interview with the Los Angeles Times

What people said about her: “From the first, she was interesting to watch. Even in the way she walked in for her interview, casually sat down, walked out. She was cool and non-giggly. She was enigmatic without being dull. She could keep people guessing about how much Lolita knew about life.” —Director Stanley Kubrick, quoted in Look magazine

“RIP Sue Lyon. Starring in a Stanley Kubrick film, then immediately going to work with John Huston and John Ford is a hell of a three-movie run.” —Journalist Jimmy Guerts

“So marvelous as Lolita. Goodbye to Sue Lyon.” —Writer Benjamin Dreyer

Full obituary: Los Angeles Times

Related lives: