Ricou Browning, who is best known for his playing the underwater version of Gill-man in Creature From the Black Lagoon, has died at the age of 93. Released in 1954, Creature from the Black Lagoon is directed by Jack Arnold and tells the story of a group of scientists who discover an amphibious humanoid in the depths of the Amazon jungle. The success of the film ultimately spawned two sequels, including Revenge of the Creature in 1955 and The Creature Walks Among Us in 1956, both of which also featured Browning as Gill-man during underwater sequences.
As reported by Bloody Disgusting, Browning, who was the last surviving actor to have portrayed any of the classic Universal Monsters, has sadly passed away at the age of 93. In addition to his work in Creature of the Black Lagoon, Browning also served as a marine action coordinator on Thunderball (1965) and Never Say Never Again (1983). Throughout his career, Browning would lend his talents to films like Flipper (1963), Hello Down There (1969), Salty (1973), and Caddyshack (1980), among others.
Ricou Browning’s Underwater Action Was Groundbreaking
Creature From The Black Lagoon was evidently a groundbreaking film in many ways, but Browning’s work on Thunderball and Never Say Never Again is arguably just as significant. The James Bond franchise was at the pinnacle of action filmmaking back in the 1960s and Thunderball pushed this to a whole new level. The film’s climax features an expansive and explosive underwater fight sequence the likes of which had never really been seen before.
While Never Say Never Again‘s underwater action sequence wasn’t a massive battle between larger forces like in Thunderball, Browning helped to make the more intimate and intense fight really shine. The thrilling scene features Bond (Sean Connery) facing off against SPECTRE agent Largo (Klaus Maria Brandauer) while the two are wearing scuba gear. The underwater action scene is made even more significant with the knowledge that it’s the last major set piece in a Connery-led Bond movie.
Although Creature From The Black Lagoon and Browning’s two Bond entries are certainly dated in many respects, the underwater scenes largely hold up to this day. It remains to be seen if Creature From The Black Lagoon will get rebooted, but the 1954 original will surely continue to stand the test of time as one of the most formative monster movies ever made. Browning may have been more at home behind the Creature’s mask or behind a camera, coordinating stunts, but his imprint on Hollywood will live on.
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Source: Bloody Disgusting