What happened to Sue Lyon? Little is known about the 'Lolita' star at age 71 -- but her estranged daughter offers some insights

Not all then-and-now stories have a pleasant ending.

Little is known about the current state of Sue Lyon, who won a Golden Globe for "Lolita" as a teenager in 1962. Seemingly blonde and bubbly, the young starlet enjoyed about a decade of work in Hollywood before she fell off the map, never appearing in another on-screen role after 1980.

The only other readily available information about Lyon, now 71, is her marital history: The Iowa native wed five times, each time ending in divorce. Just one of those marriages produced a child -- and that child, Nona Harrison, is our only insight into what's happened over the subsequent three-quarters of Lyon's life.

"Every child should grow up with parents that support, love, and guide them.  My life’s lesson was to learn how to succeed without that guidance," Harrison wrote in 2015 in a public blog post.  "After age 12, I would never feel her touch, or see her smile of joy again.  And year after year of this separation is where my spiritual work began. I had to work through the feelings of a child that had been abandoned."

See Sue Lyon during her career:

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Sue Lyon during her career
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Sue Lyon during her career
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1960: The American Actress Sue Lyon In 1960'S (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
American actress Sue Lyon, best known for her role as a teenage temptress in the film 'Lolita', circa 1962. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Welsh actor Richard Burton and American actress Sue Lyon on the set of The Night of the Iguana, based on the play by Tennessee Williams and directed by John Huston. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
American actress Sue Lyon, wearing vichy trousers and top, portrayed while posing in front of San Giorgio Island, Venice 1962. (Photo by Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche/Getty Images)
American actress Sue Lyon portrayed while talking to someone and joining her hands, inside a water taxi, Venice 1962. (Photo by Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche/Getty Images)
American actress Sue Lyon, wearing a a striped strapless bikini, portrayed while lying on a sunbed on the Lido beach, Venice, 1962. (Photo by Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Sue Lyon, 17, and Hampton Fancher III are shown following their wedding, December 22nd. They were married in a civil ceremony performed by Judge W. Blair Gibbens, at the home of Drorthy Jeakins, noted costume designer.
British actor James Mason and American actress Sue Lyon on the set of his movie Lolita, based on the novel by Vladimir Nabokov and directed by Stanley Kubrick. (Photo by Seven Arts Production/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
American actresses Sue Lyon and Shelley Winters on the set of his movie Lolita, based on the novel by Vladimir Nabokov and directed by Stanley Kubrick. (Photo by Seven Arts Production/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
American actress Sue Lyon as Dolores 'Lolita' Haze, in a scene from 'Lolita', directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1962. (Photo by MGM Studios/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Sue Lyon as Dolores 'Lolita' Haze and James Mason (1909 - 1984) as Humbert Humbert, in a scene from 'Lolita', directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1962. (Photo by MGM Studios/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
American actress Sue Lyon at the premiere of the film 'Lolita' at the Columbia Theatre in London, 6th September 1962. She plays the title role in the film. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - CIRCA 1962: Sue Lyon attends the movie premiere of 'Lolita' in Los Angeles,CA. (Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - CIRCA 1962: Sue Lyon looks to pose with photographer Earl Leaf as she attends the movie premiere of 'Lolita' in Los Angeles,CA. (Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - CIRCA 1962: Sue Lyon sips a milkshake after the movie premiere of 'Lolita' at sandpipers in Los Angeles,CA. (Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
1962: Actress Sue Lyon poses for a portrait in a scene from the movie 'Lolita' which was released in 1962. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - CIRCA 1962: Sue Lyon attends a party with a friend in Los Angeles,CA. (Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
July 1962: Sue Lyon, the young actress selected to play the title role in Stanley Kubrick's 'Lolita', bites her thumb in concentration. (Photo by Michael Hardy/Express/Getty Images)
Actress Sue Lyon walking on beach on location during filming of motion picture The Night of the Iguana. (Photo by Gjon Mili/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
American actress Sue Lyon on the set of 'The Night of the Iguana', directed by John Huston, Mexico, 1964. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Welsh actor Richard Burton (1925 - 1984) and American actress Sue Lyon in 'The Night of the Iguana', directed by John Huston, Mexico, 1964. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Closeup of Sue Lyon.
Portrait of actress Sue Lyon at the Dorchester Hotel, London, October 5th 1964. (Photo by Les Lee/Express/Getty Images)
American actress Sue Lyon, circa 1965. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
American actress Sue Lyon, circa 1967. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
LOVE, AMERICAN STYLE - 'Love and the Bed' - Aired on December 29, 1969. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) SUE LYON
LOVE, AMERICAN STYLE - 'Love and the Bed' - Aired on December 29, 1969. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) SUE LYON;ROGER PERRY
LOVE, AMERICAN STYLE - 'Love and the Bed' - Aired on December 29, 1969. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) ROGER PERRY;SUE LYON
FANTASY ISLAND - 'Reunion / Anniversary' - Airdate: April 29, 1978. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) L-R: MICHELE LEE;SUE LYON;PAMELA FRANKLIN
FANTASY ISLAND - 'Reunion / Anniversary' - Airdate: April 29, 1978. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) SUE LYON
FANTASY ISLAND - 'Reunion / Anniversary' - Airdate: April 29, 1978. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) SUE LYON
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According to a past Facebook post by Harrison, Lyon was diagnosed at a young age with bipolar manic depressive disorder, and she never wanted to be a mom. Harrison also noted that her parents "showed me at a very young age what it looks like to give up on your hopes and dreams."

Harrison's father is football player Roland Harrison, who was largely absent during her childhood, and she's written about the unique challenges of her early childhood as a biracial child with a blonde-haired, blue-eyed mother:

"When I decided to forgive them, to see them for who they really were (two people who did not want to be parents), that is when I was able to live in my truth," Harrison continued. "And let go of the pain and hurt of what they could, or should have been."

So where is Sue Lyon now? It's unclear if she has any relationship with her daughter, and her most recent divorce was in 2002. She hasn't been in the spotlight for decades, and it seems we should expect it to stay that way.

 

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