Hollywood, as well as fans of vintage science fiction film, suffered a loss yesterday as Patricia Neal, star of the 1951 classic THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, died of lung cancer at the age of 84. Although she starred in many films over the years including such titles as THE FOUNTAINHEAD, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S and IN HARMS WAY – genre fans will remember her most for her portrayal of “Helen” in THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL.
Playing the sympathetic human to actor Michael Rennie’s Klaatu, an alien who arrives on Earth to warn humans against their propensity for violence, Helen becomes the unlikely heroine of the film. Few fans will forget her uttering the iconic phrase, “Klaatu barada nikto,” thus ending Armageddon at the hands of Gort, the killer robot . Another notable entry for horror fans was her supporting role as “Stella Hawthorne” in the 1981 movie GHOST STORY.
Though THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL was her only sci- fi film, this movie is viewed by most of us as being one of the all time best. Certainly not to be confused with the horrific remake starring Keanu Reeves.
Though she is no longer with us, that role alone has granted her certain immortality. Rest in peace. Ms Neal.
The Terror Daves~