Obituary: Beverly Garland

Beverly Garland in IT CONQUERED THE WORLD (1956)

Beverly Garland in IT CONQUERED THE WORLD (1956)

Actress Beverly Garland, who starred in numerous low-budget sci-fi and horror films, died on Friday in her Hollywood Hills home, at the age of 82. Garland had a lengthy and varied resume, including roles in films and television, but she will always be fondly remembered by fans for playing strong, gutsy women in 1950s efforts like THE NEANDERTHAL MAN; CURUCU, BEAST OF THE AMAZON; and THE ALLIGATOR PEOPLE. She had a featured role in the “House of the Seven Gables” episode of TWICE-TOLD TALES, a color anthology horror film starring Vincent Price in three episodes based on stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne. And she played the unfortunate mother in PRETTY POISON (1968), a sort of PSYCHO spin-off starring Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld.

At a time when most sci-fi films offered only damsel in distress roles, Garland was something of an anomaly, often taking matters into her own hands – as when her character attempts, on her own (admittedly unsuccessfully), to kill the alien in Roger Corman’s 1956 effort IT CONQUERERD THE WORLD. Corman also cast her in NOT OF THIS EARTH (1957) and in one of her most interesting non-genre roles, the lead in THE GUNSLINGER (in which she plays the widow of a murdered sheriff – who straps on her dead husband’s guns to track down his killer).

Television credits include two episodes of SCIENCE FICTION THEATRE, an episode of THE TWLIGHT ZONE (”The Four of Us Are Dying”), an episode of DANGER MAN (known as “Secret Agent Man” in the U.S.), two episodes of THE WILD WILD WEST, an episode of THE PLANET OF THE APES, and several episodes of LOIS AND CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN. Non-genre roles included appearances on REMINGTON STEELE, THE SCARECROW AND MRS KING, MY THREE SONS, and PORT CHALRES. Her last screen credits were for a recurring role on SEVENTH HEAVEN, which ran from 1997 to 2004.

Garland was a fun and fesity actress – and apparently an astute businesswoman as well. She parlayed her acting income into purchasing the Beverly Garland Hotel, a fixture of North Hollywood. Cult movie and sci-fi fans can get a kick out of entering the lobby of the classy-looking building – and seeing photographs from her old exploitation movies dotting the walls of the lobby.

Read the Variety obituary here.

About the Author

Steve Biodrowski

Cinefantastique's Los Angeles Correspondent from 1987 to 1993 and West Coast Editor from 1993 to 1999. Currently the webmaster of Cinefantastique Online, I also run a website called Hollywood Gothique that covers Halloween Horror and Sci-Fi Cinema Events in the Los Angeles area.

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