Creature From The Black Lagoon Actor And James Bond Contributor Ricou Browning Is Dead At 93

Ricou Browning in costume as the Creature from the Black Lagoon, walking forward with his hands out.
(Image credit: Universal)

The worlds of classic horror movies and James Bond movies don’t always intersect, but in the case of underwater performer Ricou Browning, the crossroads make for an amazing case. With roles like the titular Creature from the Black Lagoon, as well as his status as a 007 veteran that helped make underwater sequences in Thunderball and Never Say Never Again amazing adventures, his was a skillset that was as dazzling as it was unique. We celebrate those talents for a bittersweet purpose today, as Ricou Browning has died at age 93.

Reported by horror outlet Bloody Disgusting, Browning was also noted as the final original star of the Universal Monsters lineup still alive. No cause of death was reported at the time of publication, but an outpouring of impressive credits and skills from his career were readily provided.

Originating that legendary creature that could have returned in Universal’s Dark Universe, Ricou Browning would play the Creature in its 1954 origin story, as well as the first two sequels. That casting came after Browning showed off his impressive water skills to scouts prepping for the Creature from the Black Lagoon shoot, and the rest was history.

As far as his history with the 007 franchise, Browning theoretically worked on the same movie twice. In the world of Sean Connery’s James Bond, Ricou directed the underwater sequences for the actor’s second to last appearance in the role, Thunderball. 18 years later, when that very movie returned as the unofficial remake Never Say Never Again, Ricou Browning was there to lend a hand in directing underwater action yet again as part of that film’s second unit.

It wasn’t all drama or frights with Mr. Browning either, as his entire career spanned a wide array of roles in front of and behind the camera. Looking through his credits, you’ll see achievements that showed Ricou Browning as a co-writer of the original Flipper film, as well as further second unit work on the ‘80s comedies Caddyshack and Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach

A man of many talents, Ricou Browning’s contributions to cinema will not soon be forgotten. Whether it was creating chills and thrills, or convincing the world that a Baby Ruth bar in a pool was something far more sinister, moments like those have built many a cinematic memory. It's through scenes like those that the world will remember Browning as a movie icon, as well as an underwater ace that knew how to put on a show.

We here at CinemaBlend extend our deepest condolences to Ricou Browning’s friends and family as they navigate this time of grief and remembrance. If you'd like to revisit Browning's work directing the still-amazing underwater sequences of Thunderball, your HBO Max subscription will allow you to do so at the time of this writing.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.