Eric J. Cullen
'Creature from the Black Lagoon' Actor Ricou Browning Has Passed Away
Actor and stuntman Ricou Browning passed of natural causes in his Florida home yesterday, the actor most famously known for his underwater, uncredited role of Gill-man in the 1954 Universal Monsters classic, Creature from the Black Lagoon. Tasked with donning the Gill-man suit during shots that took place underwater, Ricou Browning would help cement the film as one of the more frightening films of its time.
After college where he studied physical education, Ricou Browning began work performing in underwater shows at Wakulla Springs, a park south of Tallahassee, Florida, a location well-known for its use in the Tarzan movies. Browning's underwater work would eventually land him the task of assisting a film scouting crew, looking for places to shoot an upcoming Universal horror film. This moment would not only give Ricou Browning the chance to co-star, uncredited, in the role of a lifetime, but it would also allow Browning to step back into the role for the sequels, Revenge of the Creature and The Creature Walks Among Us.
After Creature from the Black Lagoon, Browning went on to co-create the film Flipper in 1963, with a friend and ad writer, Jack Cowden. The film did relatively well, spawning a TV series that ran for over 30 episodes, with Browning directing each one of them. Browning's directing work didn't end there though, the Creature actor lending his directing talents to the television show, Gentle Ben, and more specific aquatic directing skills to feature films like Thunderball and Never Say Never Again - both 007 films - and Caddyshack.
Ricou Browning managed to stay busy in Hollywood turning his career into something he could share with his son, Ricou Browning Jr., who is also an actor and stuntman. In his later years, Ricou Browning could be found at the occasional horror convention where he was available for both meets and picture opportunities for horror fans. Survived by his family, Ricou Browning was 93 when he passed.