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Swamp Creature Actor Dies

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 23rd, 2007

Doctor, I was thinking… just the work that you’ve done with the crocodiles and taking them back along the evolutionary path and making them into fish would be enough to win you world acclaim.“Tom,” Curse of the Swamp Creature

Yes, but acclaim… that’s nothing. To create life, to move it up and down the evolutionary path… that’s something. Something I don’t think you quite appreciate, Tom.“Dr. Simond Trent,” Curse of the Swamp Creature

Curse of the Swamp Creature

The plot to Curse of the Swamp Creature is about as simple as the movie. Deep in the rural swamps of east Texas the mad Dr. Simond Trent is conducting experiments on the local swamp people in an attempt to discover the secret of evolution. When a party of oil surveyors comes upon Dr. Trent’s isolated laboratory the mad scientist decides to take the final step and turn one of them into a grotesque amphibious creature.

The producer of Curse of the Swamp Creature, Edwin Tobolowsky, 86, died on July 29, 2006, and he was remembered here. Now comes news that one of the film’s actor’s, Bill McGhee has passed away.

Edwin Tobolowsky

McGHEE, WILLIAM “BILL” Pioneer actor, William “Bill” McGhee aka Bill McGhee, 76, died of breast cancer February 17th [2007] at his home. Mr. Mc Ghee, born in Mexia, Texas (Limestone County), lived in Dallas his entire life. His love for the arts began at age 12 while tap dancing in the streets of Dallas. Those endeavors led to participating in local community theatre activities and landing leading roles at Lincoln H.S. In June 1947, McGhee held an elevator operator job at the popular Baker Hotel (downtown Dallas), where the infamous bombing occurred and was reported as “dead” in the media. Miraculously, he survived, in spite of the harsh segregation climate at Parkland Hospital and ambulatory services during that time. He suffered amnesia, but was fully restored to health. He resumed his quest for the theatre and his unique odyssey of life continued. He served his country as Army Corporal in the 31st Unit division in the Korean War, and performed for the troops at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. While serving in Yucca Flats, Nevada, he was the unfortunate victim of secret Atmospheric Radiation testing experiment conducted there. Upon an honorable discharge, he resumed acting. He performed for Black troupes, such as the Dallas Theater Center’s Janus Players with actors such as Irma P. Hall and Ted Mitchell. In 1954, Bill broke racial barriers and was the first Black to make a professional debut on the Dallas stage performing roles both written for Blacks and roles without racial requirements. Now coined William “Bill” McGhee, he would perform for companies like, Round-up Theatre and Courtyard Theatre. The young thespian joined the production company at Theater Three, affording him several lead roles. His move to integrate the stage impacted the community and he was given many more opportunities in the theater circuit. His life as an actor was planted and Bill reaped the benefits by being one of the first union Black actors in Dallas with SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists). He acted in over 35 theater productions and stage plays, […and in] over 15 films including […] Curse of the Swamp Creature,…Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald….- extract, Dallas Morning News on Feb. 22, 2007

Bill McGhee

Unfortunately, despite the fact Bill McGhee (pictured above from one of his horror film performances) broke racial barriers, some of his roles called for McGhee to play stereotyped characterizations of AfricanAmericans in 1950s’ Texas.

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.


2 Responses to “Swamp Creature Actor Dies”

  1. DavidFullam responds:

    The picture comes from Don’t Look in the Basement, one of my favorite B Movies. Bill played a mental patient who saves the day in the end in a great performance. What a shame, I really liked him. Rest in Peace.

  2. mystery_man responds:

    I had never even heard of this movie before! Love the dialogue at the top. So cheesy, it’s brilliant!



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