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

Mallory O’Meara

Mallory is a best-selling author and screenwriter. Every week, she hosts the literary podcast Reading Glasses alongside filmmaker and actress Brea Grant. Whether it's for the screen or the page, Mallory seeks creative projects filled with horror and monsters. She lives in Los Angeles.

Her best-selling first book, The Lady From The Black Lagoon, the chronicle of Mallory's search for and a biography of Milicent Patrick, is out from Hanover Square Press. Her second book, Girly Drinks, the history of women making and drinking alcohol all over the world, is also forthcoming from Hanover Square Press.

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.

THE LADY FROM THE BLACK LAGOON is not just a story that needed to be told, the exact right person told it. At some point, the book starts to resemble troika dolls: echoes of Milicent Patrick’s life can be heard in Mallory O’Meara’s life, and echoes of Mallory’s can be heard in ours, the readers. It’s then that you realize how profound this book really is.
— Josh Malerman, author of BIRD BOX

Talks and Topics

  • The Lady From the Black Lagoon presentation

  • Milicent Patrick

  • Women in Film

  • Women in Horror

  • Monsters

  • History of Horror

  • Writing and Researching Nonfiction



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