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Ricou Browning, the Gill-Man in ‘Creature From the Black Lagoon,’ Dies at 93


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Ricou Browning, who took to the water because the menacing Gill-Man in Creature From the Black Lagoon and because the inventive drive behind the unique Flipper film and TV present, has died. He was 93.

Browning died Monday of pure causes at his house in Southwest Ranches, Florida, his daughter Kim Browning informed The Hollywood Reporter. “He had a wonderful profession within the movie business, offering great leisure for previous and future generations,” she stated.  

The Florida native additionally served as a stuntman on Richard Fleischer’s 20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea (1954), doubled for Jerry Lewis in Don’t Give Up the Ship (1959) and “performed all of the dangerous guys in [TV’s] Sea Hunt,” he stated in a 2013 interview.

Plus, Browning directed the harpoon-filled combat in Thunderball (1965), one other underwater scene in By no means Say By no means Once more (1983) and the hilarious Jaws-inspired sweet bar-in-the-pool sequence in Caddyshack (1980).

Browning, who stated he may routinely maintain his breath for 4 minutes at a time, performed the Gill-Man within the underwater scenes in Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), the Common Photos 3D basic that starred Julie Adams because the girlfriend of a researcher (Richard Carlson) on a scientific expedition to the Amazon.

Browning famous that his costume “was cumbersome at first. Once I first put it on, it appeared awkward and clumsy,” he stated. “However as soon as I obtained into the film, I forgot I had it on. I grew to become the creature.”

With Gill-Man becoming a member of the Common monster Corridor of Fame alongside the likes of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man and The Mummy, Browning returned for the sequels Revenge of the Creature (1955), additionally in 3D, and The Creature Walks Amongst Us (1956).

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Ricou Browning because the Gill-Man in ‘Creature From the Black Lagoon’

Browning stated he got here up the concept for Flipper after he and Newt Perry, who had labored as Johnny Weissmuller’s stand-in on Tarzan movies, captured fresh-water dolphins within the Amazon throughout a visit to South America.

“We introduced them again to [a Florida state park in] Silver Springs,” Browning recalled. “I grew to become their guardian, apparently, and took care of them. In the future, after I got here house, the children had been watching Lassie on TV, and it simply dawned on me: ‘Why not do a movie a couple of boy and a dolphin?’”

Browning and his brother-in-law Jack Cowden wrote the story for what would turn into MGM’s Flipper (1963), starring Chuck Connors and, as his son, Luke Halpin, who each care for an injured dolphin (actual identify: Mitzi). Halpin then returned for Flipper’s New Journey (1964) and for the NBC adaptation that ran for 3 seasons, from 1964-67.

Browning additionally directed 37 episodes of the Florida Keys-set Flipper and was in command of underwater operations on the present.

Browning was born on Feb. 16, 1930, in Fort Pierce, Florida. He attended Florida State College and labored for Perry as a performer in water exhibits at Weeki Wachee Springs, a Florida vacationer attraction, and in underwater newsreels. He additionally was on the U.S. Air Power swim staff.

Browning was charged with exhibiting the realm of Wakulla Springs, Florida, to location scouts from Common who had been in search of filming places for Creature From the Black Lagoon. He additionally did some swim strikes for them, and that led to his Gill-Man gig. (Ben Chapman performed the beast on land within the first film.)

“The lips of the swimsuit sat a couple of half-inch from my lips, and I put the air hose in my mouth to breathe,” he said in a 2019 interview. “I might maintain my breath and go do the scene, and I’d produce other security individuals with different air hoses to offer me air if I wanted it. We had a sign. If I went completely limp, it meant I wanted it. It labored out effectively, and we didn’t have any issues.”

Browning stated he filmed his scenes in wintertime, and it was fairly chilly. “The crew felt sorry for me, so any person stated, ‘How would you want a shot of brandy?’ I stated, ‘Certain,’” he recalled. “One other a part of the crew [also] gave me a shot of brandy. Fairly quickly they had been coping with a drunk creature.”

Whereas filming Revenge of the Creature in St. Augustine, Florida, he stated a turtle bit off one foot of his costume and swam away with it. “It was the final pair of ft that I had on the shoot, so the prop males and the opposite stunt divers needed to chase that turtle down and get the factor out of his mouth,” he stated.

After the Creature movies, Browning appeared on a 1958 episode of the Lloyd Bridges-starring Sea Hunt, and producer Ivan Tors employed him to oversee the underwater images on that syndicated journey sequence in addition to on CBS’ The Aquanauts.

(Tors additionally provided Thunderball with divers and diving tools and produced the Flipper movies and TV present. Within the ’60s, he named Browning president of his North Miami-based Ivan Tors Studio.)

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On the set of TV’s ‘Flipper,’ clockwise from high: Ricou Browning and actors Brian Kelly, Tommy Norden and Luke Halpin.


Browning directed the options Salty (1973) — a couple of sea lion — and Mr. No Legs (1978); served as a technical adviser on Mike Nichols’ Day of the Dolphin (1973); and helmed episodes of the Dennis Weaver-starring CBS sequence Light Ben, a couple of bear.

In 1968, he was elected to steer the brand new Florida Movement Image and Tv Producers Affiliation, and Movie Florida awarded him its first Florida Legends Award in 2006.

Survivors embrace his 4 kids, Ricou Browning Jr. (a marine coordinator, actor and stuntman like his dad), Renee, Kelly and Kim; 10 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. His spouse, Fran, died in March 2020.

What was it like rising up within the Browning family? “Each time he obtained an concept for a film, he would convey the animals house,” Renee stated. “We had a sea lion that sat on the dinner desk. … We had otters, a child black bear and a feminine peacock that might sit on our shoulder and drink iced tea out of our glass. All the children within the neighborhood wished to come back over our home, as a result of it was like a zoo.”

Rhett Bartlett contributed to this report.

Pavan Kumar
Pavan Kumarhttps://site.viagracc.com
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