Starred in 'Creature from the Black Lagoon'

Ben Chapman, the actor who played the title character in “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” died Feb. 21 of congestive heart failure in Honolulu. He was 79.

While the Gill Man didn’t have any lines in the 1954 cult film, his role as the scaly monster earned him a spot in Hollywood history.

Chapman had a few smaller roles in such movies as “Ma and Pa Kettle in Waikiki” and “Wake of the Red Witch,” and spent most of his career in real estate.

In a 2003 interview, Chapman even downplayed his involvement in the signature horror film, saying his size rather than his acting skills earned him the part.

“They were looking for an imposing creature, and at 6-feet-5, I filled the bill,” said Chapman, who often participated in fan conventions.

He is survived by his longtime companion, Merrilee Kazarian, three children and a sister.

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