Six-foot-five ex Marine Ben Chapman, who, uncredited and with no lines and his face covered, played the Gill Man in the cult 1954 monster movie The Creature from the Black Lagoon (in 3-D!), died Thursday of congestive heart failure at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu. He was 79.
“In the big picture, he achieved a small amount of success as an actor, but for baby-boomer ‘monster kids,’ he was the bomb,” Tom Weaver, author of the 1992 making-of book Creature From the Black Lagoon, told The Times on Friday. “I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to call it the most famous Hollywood monster movie of the ’50s,” Weaver said.