The Lady from the Black Lagoon
Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick
by Mallory O'Meara
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Pub Date 05 Mar 2019 | Archive Date 04 Apr 2023
HARLEQUIN – Trade Publishing (U.S. & Canada), Hanover Square Press
A Hugo and Locus Award Finalist
Winner of the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award
The Los Angeles Times Bestseller
A Thrillist Best Book of the Year
A Book Riot Best Book of 2019
One of Booklist’s 10 Best Art Books of the Year
The Lady from the Black Lagoon uncovers the life and work of Milicent Patrick—one of Disney’s first female animators and the only woman in history to create one of Hollywood’s classic movie monsters
As a teenager, Mallory O’Meara was thrilled to discover that one of her favorite movies, Creature from the Black Lagoon, featured a monster designed by a woman, Milicent Patrick. But for someone who should have been hailed as a pioneer in the genre, there was little information available. For, as O’Meara soon discovered, Patrick’s contribution had been claimed by a jealous male colleague, her career had been cut short and she soon after had disappeared from film history. No one even knew if she was still alive.
As a young woman working in the horror film industry, O’Meara set out to right the wrong, and in the process discovered the full, fascinating story of an ambitious, artistic woman ahead of her time. Patrick’s contribution to special effects proved to be just the latest chapter in a remarkable, unconventional life, from her youth growing up in the shadow of Hearst Castle, to her career as one of Disney’s first female animators. And at last, O’Meara discovered what really had happened to Patrick after The Creature’s success, and where she went.
A true-life detective story and a celebration of a forgotten feminist trailblazer, Mallory O’Meara’s The Lady from the Black Lagoon establishes Patrick in her rightful place in film history while calling out a Hollywood culture where little has changed since.
Don't miss Mallory O'Meara's upcoming novel, Girly Drinks!
“Captivating and exhaustively researched…This is a fascinating slice of Hollywood history with a feminist slant, correcting a sexist wrong from decades ago and restoring Patrick to her rightful place of esteem.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Like many women film pioneers, Millicent Patrick's trailblazing creature design and special make-up effects work has largely gone unrecognized, overlooked or even attributed to men. The Lady from the Black Lagoon shines a vital light on one of the unsung women heroes of cinema." —Jovanka Vuckovic, author of Zombies! An Illustrated History of the Undead