Ricou Browning, an actor who played the underwater character in the 1954 movie, “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” died on Feb. 27 at his South Florida home, his daughter said. He was 93.
Browning died in Southwest Ranches, in Broward County west of Fort Lauderdale, his daughter, Renee Le Feuvre, told The New York Times.
Browning played the “Gill-man” in “Lagoon” and reprised the role in two sequels: “Revenge of the Creature” (1955), which featured Clint Eastwood in an uncredited role; and “The Creature Walks Among Us” (1956), according to IMDb.com.
“He had a fabulous career in the film industry, providing wonderful entertainment for past and future generations,” another daughter, Kim Browning, told The Hollywood Reporter.
According to the entertainment news website, Browning also was a stuntman in “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” in 1954, was a double for Jerry Lewis in “Don’t Give Up the Ship” (1959) and “played all the bad guys in (TV’s) Sea Hunt,” he said in a 2013 interview.
He also was the underwater double for Forrest Tucker in “Crosswinds” (1951), the Times reported. Other credits included “Around the World Under the Sea” (1966), “Island of the Lost” (1967) and “Caddyshack” (1980), according to WPTV.
Browning was born in Fort Pierce, Florida, on Feb. 16, 1930, and was raised in nearby Jensen Beach, TCPalm.com reported. His father, Clement Walker Browning, was an automobile salesman in Stuart and his mother, Inez Louise Ricou, was a member of one of the pioneer families of Jensen (now Jensen Beach). His maternal grandparents owned the R. R. Ricou and Sons Fish Company in Jensen, among the largest fish wholesalers in South Florida, according to the news outlet.
He attended Florida State University and began his career in movies at the age of 23 with underwater film pioneer Newt Perry in Wakulla Springs and Weeki Wachee Springs, WFTV reported.
At Wakulla Springs in 1953, Browning was asked to escort a filming crew looking for locations for a new movie, WPTV reported.
“Their cameraman asked if I could swim in front of the cameras so they could get the perspective of the size of a human being against the fish and the grass,” Browning told the Hartford Courant in 2016. “So I did.”
Browning later shared a story-writing credit for the 1963 film, “Flipper,” and was a creator of the television series bearing the same name the following year. He directed and helped write several episodes during the show’s three-year run, according to IMDb.com. He also performed some of the series’ underwater stunts, the Times reported.
Browning also served as the second-unit director for the underwater sequences in a pair of James Bond movies — “Thunderball” in 1965, and “Never Say Never Again” in 1983, WPTV reported.
Browning was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2012.
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