Fans are in mourning this week after it was revealed that beloved actress Julia Meade passed away. She was 90 years-old.
Meade became a household name in the 1950s when she was cast as the elegant public face of Lincoln beginning in 1953 and as the promoter of a range of other products, including gas-powered appliances, Hudnut hair products, Life magazine and Kodak cameras. According to the New York Times, she had been a struggling theater actress before earning the gig.
“Lincoln made her a celebrity, if not a star, the object of intense viewer interest,” Karal Ann Marling wrote in 1994 in her book “As Seen on TV: The Visual Culture of Everyday Life in the 1950s.”
“The seductive member of Sullivan’s TV family was its fetching Lincoln saleswoman, Julia Meade — part auto dealer, part chic sexpot,” Gerald Nachman wrote in 2009 in “Right Here on Our Stage Tonight!: Ed Sullivan’s America.”
Meade’s long career included film roles in classics like the Rock Hudson-Doris Day romantic comedy “Pillow Talk” (1959), the Sandra Dee comedy “Tammy Tell Me True” (1961) and the Harrison Ford drama “Presumed Innocent” (1990). She also appeared on Broadway in such shows as Max Shulman and Robert Paul Smith’s “The Tender Trap” in 1954 (John Chapman of The Daily News called her the best new actress of the year), Sidney Sheldon’s “Roman Candle” in 1960, Jean Kerr’s “Mary, Mary” in 1962 and a revival of the Ben Hecht-Charles MacArthur comedy “The Front Page” in 1969.
Meade’s family said she died peacefully while watching television at her home in Manhattan. She is survived by two daughters, two grandchildren, and two sisters.