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Creature From The Black Lagoon Has Died

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 21st, 2008

creature black lagoon

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Ben Chapman, 82, has passed away this morning, February 21, 2008, at 12:15 AM Hawaii time.

Chapman was admitted to the hospital two days ago and died peacefully in his hospital bed. He had a living will and his life support was disconnected yesterday about noon Hawaii time. The family will be having a memorial service at a Catholic Church located near the beach and he will be cremated.

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Ricou Browning (l) and Ben Chapman (r) both played the Creature (Browning in the water & Chapman on land).

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The 6′ 5″ Ben Chapman during the filming of the movie.

Ben Chapman was born in Oakland, California, while his Tahitian parents were on a trip to the United States. He was raised in Tahiti, relocated to the U.S. in 1940 and went to school in the Bay Area of San Francisco. Working as a Tahitian dancer in nightclubs led to his first movie job, a bit in MGM’s “Pagan Love Song” (1950); other small film roles followed before Korean War duty temporarily sidetracked his modest screen career.

Talent scouts from Universal-International “discovered” Chapman upon his return, and for a year he became a U-I stock player–and, at six-foot-five, an ideal choice for the finny title role in Jack Arnold’s Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Chapman is the Creature in scenes where the camera is out of water; Ricou Browning is the Creature in scenes where the camera is underwater.

Ben is the cousin of screen actor, Jon Hall.

The role of the “creature” in Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) came after a meeting with Jonny Rennig (she worked with many cowboys and stuntmen) when he had dropped into the casting office. Ben also worked bartending roles between night club gigs and movies. He was tending bar when he first met Peter Lawford and later Jack Kennedy when he was still a Senator and would later enjoy parties at the Lawford’s home.

Most recently Chapman resided in Oahu, Hawaii.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


10 Responses to “Creature From The Black Lagoon Has Died”

  1. red_pill_junkie responds:

    One of my favorite monsters. When I first saw the movie on TV it gave me quite the scare; great music too.

    Rest in Peace Mr. Chapman. Thank you for helping several generations of horny adolescents make out at the Auto Cinema.

  2. red_pill_junkie responds:

    I mean, at the Drive-In. Lousy translation, I’m sorry

  3. SOCALcryptid responds:

    I agree red_pill, one of my favorites also. When I was a child this movie gave me nightmares. Thanks for the memories Mr. Chapman. Rest in peace.

  4. Henshaw responds:

    Always loved that movie…

    I already had the “Creature” trilogy on VHS so the wife and kids weren’t sure that I’d like the DVD they got me. (Just “Creature” on this disk, not all three movies.) They shouldn’t have worried… There is an excellent 45 minute documetary called “Back To The Black Lagoon” in the special features. It, alone, is worth the price of the DVD. They go into great detail about what went into making “Creature”.

    RIP

  5. Saint Vitus responds:

    I was just watching that movie the other day, actually, I got a big kick out of it. I have been to Wakulla springs, Florida, where the movie was filmed. It’s a beautiful place, I highly recommend it.

  6. Ole Bub responds:

    My heartfelt condolences to the Chapman family and his loved ones…

    One of ole bub’s favorite critter movies…The Creature and Seahunt sparked my thirty year passion for SCUBA diving.

    I hope the remake is half as good as the original.

    Life is much too short…live and let live…

    ole bub and the dawgs

  7. squatchwatcher responds:

    One of my favorite movies, even my kids love it. We own it so we can watch it any time. RIP Ben Chapman, you are an american hero in my eyes. ANYBODY who serves our great country is a STUD in my eyes! GODS SPEED!

  8. eireman responds:

    I must concur, after King Kong, Black Lagoon is my favorite “monster” movie from the golden age of film. I keep hearing rumors on the internet about a modern version in various stages of production but it must have fallen into that abyss alongside Nicholas Cage’s Superman…

  9. bill green responds:

    hey everyone this is definetly very sad news about wonderful acter ben chapman passing away. i even got his autograph a few years ago. i still injoy watching him in the classic orginal creature from the black lagoon on vhs. but he is in heavon now. i hope his family doing well about this sad situation as well as his fans. thanks bill green :(

  10. johnstownmonster responds:

    Awwww. I LOVE this film! It’s a big memory from my childhood — seeing this and other great classic creature features at a local old-school movie house for Saturday matinee double features. 50 cents for an afternoon of pure imagination.

    Why can’t we make films with this much charm anymore? I guess that’s why they call it the “golden age.”

    Godspeed.



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