“I defy any pretty girl who is rocketed to stardom in a sex nymphette role to stay on a level path. Lolita exposed me to temptations no girl of that age should undergo. From the time I was about 16, I’d go totally wacko, totally crazy, for about three months at a time, then go into such deep depressions that I wouldn’t even leave the house to go to the grocery store.
I hate the spotlight, I hate people looking at me, I don’t like strangers asking me questions. I like to be left alone. I enjoy my security, my safeness with a private life. I was once on a television show, a talk show. My brother had just died two days before that. The interviewer opens his show by saying – and now I was 16 years old – he said, ‘Did your brother kill himself because you played Lolita?’ I didn’t say a thing. I got up and I walked off. I couldn’t even dignify that. I had no words. That’s typical of the reason that I can’t be a movie star. I never could.
Am I going to be Lolita when I’m 50? Much as I appreciated Lolita in her day, I’d like to leave her now.”
–Sue Lyon, after her early retirement from films (photo via Chicago Sun-Times, 1962)