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Iowa History Daily: July 10 - Davenport's Sue Lyon Stars in 'Lolita'

Iowa History Daily: On July 10, 1946, American actress Sue Lyon (Suellyn) was born in Davenport. Best known for her Golden Globe winning role as the title character in ‘Lolita,’ Lyon starred in a few films before largely departing Hollywood by the late 1970s.

The youngest of five children, Lyon faced tragedy at a young age when her father died before her first birthday. A child model, Lyon caught her big break in a J.C. Penny commercial. Her mother decided to move the family to Los Angeles in order to pursue more opportunities for her youngest child.

At 14, Stanley Kubrick cast Lyon as Dolores ‘Lolita’ Haze. Chosen from a field of more than 800 teenagers, Lyon portrayal of the title character in Vladimir Nabokov’s novel helped elevate the film to become one of the most controversial movies of the 1960s.

The rapid rise to stardom, however, came at a cost. After a few more roles, Lyon left Hollywood altogether. In 1996, she stated: “My destruction as a person dates from that movie. Lolita exposed me to temptations no girl of that age should undergo.” She rarely entered public view after a few follow-up roles during the 1960s and 1970s. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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