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Ricou Browning, who portrayed the Gill-Man in the classic film ‘Creature From the Black Lagoon,’ passed away at 93

Throughout his career, he devoted significant amounts of time to being in the water, as well as contributing to productions such as ‘Flipper,’ ‘Sea Hunt,’ ‘Thunderball,’ and ‘Caddyshack.’

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Ricou Browning, who brought the infamous Gill-Man to life in ‘Creature From the Black Lagoon’ and was the creative mind behind the initial ‘Flipper’ movie and television series, has passed away at 93 years old.

According to his daughter, Kim Browning, the Florida native passed away due to natural causes on Monday at his residence in Southwest Ranches, Florida.

She also stated, “He had a fabulous career in the film industry, providing wonderful entertainment for past and future generations.” Browning worked as a stuntman in Richard Fleischer’s ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ (1954), acted as a double for Jerry Lewis in ‘Don’t Give Up the Ship’ (1959), and confessed in a 2013 interview that he played all the villains on TV’s ‘Sea Hunt.’

In addition, Browning’s talents extended to directing, as he helmed the thrilling underwater fight scene in Thunderball (1965), another underwater sequence in Never Say Never Again (1983), and the comedic Jaws-inspired candy bar-in-the-pool scene in Caddyshack (1980).

As a performer, Browning portrayed the Gill-Man during the underwater scenes in the classic 1954 3D film Creature From the Black Lagoon, a Universal Pictures production that featured Julie Adams as the girlfriend of a researcher, played by Richard Carlson, on an Amazonian scientific expedition. Initially, Browning found the Gill-Man costume unwieldy, but he soon became absorbed in the role and joined the ranks of Universal’s classic monsters such as Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, and The Mummy.

Browning returned to the role for the sequels Revenge of the Creature (1955), also in 3D, and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956). He was known for his ability to hold his breath for up to four minutes at a time. Browning passed away from natural causes at his home in Southwest Ranches, Florida, at the age of 93, according to his daughter Kim Browning, who spoke with The Hollywood Reporter.

Ricou Browning’s daughter Kim Browning has confirmed that he passed away on Monday at his home in Southwest Ranches, Florida, at the age of 93.

Browning, who played the Gill-Man in the underwater scenes in the classic film Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954) and was a creative force behind the original Flipper movie and TV show, died of natural causes.

His daughter Kim said that he had a successful career in the film industry, and provided entertainment for generations. Browning also worked as a stuntman and directed several underwater scenes, including one in Thunderball (1965).

He was elected to lead the new Florida Motion Picture and Television Producers Association in 1968, and received Film Florida’s first Florida Legends Award in 2006.

Browning is survived by his four children, Ricou Browning Jr., Renee, Kelly, and Kim, as well as 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. His wife Fran passed away in March 2020.

According to Renee, Browning often brought animals home, including a sea lion that sat at the dinner table, otters, a baby black bear, and a female peacock that would drink iced tea out of their glasses. The Browning household was a popular destination for neighborhood children because of its zoo-like atmosphere.


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