Deanna Lund, who starred in the late-’60s sci-fi series Land of the Giants and went on to appear in dozens of films and TV shows, died Friday. She was 81.
Lund played the heiress Valerie Scott on Land of the Giants, the 1968-70 cult drama credited by pre-disaster movie producer Irwin Allen, who was coming off the science fiction series Lost in Space and Voyage to the Bottom of the Seas. It followed a group whose flight encountered a time warp and dropped them into mid-1980s London. The kicker was that they were normal size but everything they encountered was gargantuan: All of them could lounge on a breakfast plate, and a housecat was a hissing behemoth. The series didn’t really click with viewers, though it certainly gave its prop crew some enjoyable work.
Before her big break on network TV, the native of Oak Park, IL, had small sometimes uncredited role in film and TV starting in the mid-’60s. A look at her character names/descriptions reflect a different era: She was Honey Blond in Sting of Death (1965), Bikini Girl in The Oscar (1966), Tuff Bod in Out of Sight (1966), Redhead Beauty in Spinout (1966) — opposite Elvis Presley, with whom she also worked in 1966’s Paradise, Hawaiian Style — and played a robot in 1965’s Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine. She also appeared opposite Chad Everett in Johnny Tiger (1966).
By 1966 Lund had started to land guest shots on primetime network series, appearing on Westerns The Loner, The Road West and Laredo. Her most recognizable pre-Land of the Giants role was as Anna Gram, moll of the Riddler (John Astin) in a pair of 1967 Batman episodes. That year she also appeared with Frank Sinatra and Jill St. John in private-eye drama Tony Rome.
She went on to guest on such popular 1970s TV shows as The Waltons, The Incredible Hulk and Love, American Style and would appear on the big and small screens into the 2010s.
Lund was engaged to TV talk show host Larry King in the mid-1990s, but they never married.
Her survivors include daughter Michele Matheson, an author and actress whose credits include TV’s Life Goes On and Mr. Belvedere and the 1996 Farrelly brothers comedy Kingpin.