Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 21st, 2008
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.
Ricou Browning (l) and Ben Chapman (r) both played the Creature (Browning in the water & Chapman on land).
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.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.