Obituary: Ben Chapman
Ben Chapman, the actor who played the title role in THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, has died. No official obituaries have posted yet, but the news can be found, with much heartfelt fan reaction, in this thread at the Classic Horror Movies message board.
In a way, the Creature from the Black Lagon is unique among the pantheon of Universal Monsters. A product of the 1950s, when science-fiction had overtaken Gothic literature as the inspiration for creature features, the Gill-Man somehow became as memorable to fans as the established characters like Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, and the Wolfman, who had haunted the screen courtesy of Universal Studios in the 1930s. The Creature may have been an off-shoot of evolution, rather than the result of a curse, but he was every bit as effective as his older relatives. And he did share at least one common trait with them: a propensity for sweeping the leading lady off her feet.
Born in 1925, Chapman played the Creature on land in the 1954 sci-fi film, shot in 3-D (Ricou Browning swam the role underwater). In recent years, the former actor was a welcome face at fan conventions, and he was also interviewed for a couple of video productions celebrating his most famous role: BACK TO THE BLACK LAGOON: A CREATURE CHRONICLE (2000) and CREATURE FEATURE: 50 YEARS OF THE GILL-MAN (2004).