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Friday, February 22, 2008
Ben "Gill Man" Chapman 1928-2008
The Creature no longer walks among us. Benjamin F. Chapman Jr., best known for portraying the iconic Gill Man in the 1954 classic The Creature from the Black Lagoon, passed away yesterday in Honolulu at the age of 79.
Chapman was one of the last living actors to have portrayed one of the famous "Universal Monsters"--although he only portrayed the Creature in his out-of-water scenes (Ricou Browning, who played the underwater Gill Man, is still with us.) Although he only did a handful of other early 1950s B-movies, Chapman spent the rest of his life graciously meeting and greeting fans at conventions and autograph signings across the country.
Standing an imposing 6'5" (a big part of what got him cast as the Creature), Chapman served his nation in the Korean War, and even crossed paths with the Rat Pack during his days as a bartender, partying with the likes of Peter Lawford and a pre-presidential JFK.
For more on Mr. Chapman, check out his official website: http://www.the-reelgillman.com/.
Special thanks to Karswell of The Horrors of It All.