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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Hollywood actress named Distinguished Alumna

Hollywood actress Julie Adams, a 1946 graduate of Little Rock Junior College, will be honored Friday, May 10, with UALR’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor given by the Alumni Association.

Julie Adams with Andy Griffith in 1962The red carpet will be rolled out for Adams and other award recipients at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. The annual awards luncheon, hosted by the UALR Foundation Fund Board and the Alumni Association, will begin at 11:30 a.m.

Admission is free. However, guests are encouraged to donate a minimum of $50 to the UALR Alumni Association’s scholarship fund. Limited public seating will be available. Please RSVP by calling the alumni office at 501-683-2694.

Adams, born Betty May Adams, attended Little Rock Junior College from 1944 to 46 and was heavily involved in the drama department and a member of the Trojan Theater Guild.

She hoped to join a summer stock theater in Connecticut following graduation and take her chances as a stage actress in New York City afterward, but the program was full. Instead, Adams moved to Los Angeles.

The rest, as they say, is movie history.

In 1949, Adams landed her first leading role as Polly Medford in the film, “The Dalton Gang,” and continued to appear in numerous other western movies including a starring role in “Bend of the River,” alongside film icon James Stewart.

Adams became an even more recognizable star after being cast as a bathing suit bombshell in 1954’s “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” She was also featured in the musical “Tickle Me” starring Elvis Presley.

In addition to appearing in more than 50 films, Adams has had a range of roles in television, including several appearances as Janice Barton on the popular series “Perry Mason,” the only character among Mason’s clients to be convicted during the CBS show’s nine-year run.

Adams also appeared in “The Andy Griffith Show,” “General Hospital,” “The Jimmy Stewart Show,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” and “Melrose Place.” In 1987, she accepted a recurring role as Eve Simpson on CBS’s series, “Murder, She Wrote.” In the past decade, she has had roles in ABC’s popular series, “Lost,” as well as “CSI: New York.”

Adams, who still resides in Los Angeles, recently completed The Lucky Southern Star: Reflections From The Black Lagoon, an in-depth look at her rise to stardom.

The event will honor two other individuals as well. Area business leader Alfred Williams has been named the 2013 recipient of the UALR President’s Award. Learn more at Alumni Association honors Williams with President’s Award.

Donaghey Scholar Hamza Arshad is the recipient of the 2013 Edward L. Whitbeck Memorial Award. Learn more at Hamza Arshad to receive Whitbeck Award.