Sue Lyon

“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.” –Sue Lyon

Best remembered for her role in Lolita (1962), Sue Lyon was an American actress who would got her start in modeling before becoming a film star. Born Suellyn Lyon on July 10, 1946, in Davenport, Iowa, her family relocated to Dallas upon the death of her father. The family moved once again to Los Angeles, where Lyon modeled for J.C. Penney in addition to carrying out small film and television roles. Her initial appearances included Dennis the Menace and The Loretta Young Show. In the meantime, her mother worked at a hospital to make ends meet.

At the age of 14, Lyon was cast in Lolita alongside James Mason. Though she was too young to attend the premiere, she won a Golden Globe for her performance, paving the way to portray another teenager in The Night of the Iguana (1964). As her film career continued, Lyon attended Hollywood Professional High School.

Lolita (1962) Directed by Stanley Kubrick Shown: James Mason, Sue Lyon

While Lyon married five times, each of her marriages ended in divorce. Her second marriage to Roland Harrison led to the birth of a daughter named Nona.

After her start in teen roles, she proceeded to appear in comedies as well as dramas, including 7 Women (1965), The Flim-Flam Man (1967), and Tony Rome (1967). Later, her roles would be reduced to secondary characters. Her final film appearance would be in Alligator (1980).

Lyon passed away on December 26, 2019, at the age of 73.

Today, some of Lyon’s homes remain. Though Hollywood Professional High School no longer exists, her time there is documented in surviving yearbooks.

From 1988-2004, Lyon lived at 2019 N. Bronson Ave. in Los Angeles. This is the home at present:

Lyon later resided at 7748 Allott Ave. in Panorama City, California. Here is the home today:

While few physical tributes to Lyon remain, her work can continue to be enjoyed through her available films.

About Annette Bochenek

Dr. Annette Bochenek of Chicago, Illinois, is an avid scholar of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She manages the Hometowns to Hollywood blog, in which she writes about her trips exploring the legacies and hometowns of Golden Age stars. Annette also hosts the “Hometowns to Hollywood” film series throughout the Chicago area. She has been featured on Turner Classic Movies and is the president of TCM Backlot’s Chicago chapter. In addition to writing for TCM Backlot, she also writes for Classic Movie Hub, Silent Film Quarterly, Nostalgia Digest, and Chicago Art Deco Society Magazine.
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