Ben has a lot of fans around the world. Here is a collection of memories in the order they were sent.
I met Mr. Chapman on several occasions at the Monster Bash in Pittsburgh. He was always kind to everyone he met. The best was having my young kids meet the man who scared me at a young age and would go on to scare my daughter 35 years later.
The first time I met him I did a quick video interview. Several years later I would compile it together and upload it to YouTube. You can find the link to the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lXP6Qj_4-w
Rest In Peace Mr. Chapman. You were a classic act.
I met BEN a couple times and bought stuff,conversed and emailed the legend of
rubber-suited guys.I played a monster in DEADLY SCAVENGERS and he called me BUG-BOY in affection to his more mature monster :) I MISS the Daddy Of Us Rubber-Suited Guys.
Visit My websites:
We're very sorry to hear about Ben's passing and our condolences to his family and friends.
I've always been a fan of the Creature movies and learning about Ben and reading and watching his many interviews really made the the movies that much better. My wife really enjoyed dealing with him this past Christmas as she gave me a signed photo that will always be a special item in my collection along with the note from Ben.
I posted a small tribute to Ben on my blog
http://neatocoolville.blogspot.com/2008/02/ben-chapman-rip.html and I've enjoyed reading many of the other tributes.
Todd & Debbie Franklin
Sorry to hear about Big Ben. I don't have to tell you what a great man Ben was. My name is Freddie Poe aka as Dr. Vollin MD in Movie Collectors World. I first met Ben in 2003 when i was covering the Chiller Convention. We became instant friends. In the years to come i would try to be at every north eastern show that Ben was attending. We also emailed often. Ben had invited me to Hawaii (i'm from Mass.) but i never went due to business obligations.
At one Convention a short time after, while sitting in Ben's Hotel room, i could see that he wasn't well. Ben said to me "Doctor, you can write whatever you want about me but don't ever say that i'm sick because then no one will want me at their show. They think i'll keel over on them." So anytime i ever wrote about Ben , I always respected his wishes.
In the years to follow, Ben's appearances to the Northeast section of the U.S were few. I didn't see Ben again until 2007 Monster Bash when he fell ill. I drove 15 hours to see him on that occasion. When i went to his hotel room that morning, i could once again see how ill he was. i said "Ben you shouldn't have traveled all that way if your ill. It's not a good idea." Ben said "That's what my doctors told me, that's what Merrilee told me, that's what everyone told me but i wanted to be here, to see my fans, hang out and have some fun." Ben was just that kind of guy. I then realized how much his public meant to him. Needless to say, we know Ben paid for his decision to attend Monster Bash as he fell ill the next day.
Ben's Birthday and mine are a few days apart but we always celebrated our BD's together if possible, if not in person, by greeting cards. I exchanged season greetings with Ben via eMail at Xmass and New Years. Strangely enough i woke up on the 19th of February with Ben on my mind. I didn't know why, but he was a strong presence in my head. I emailed him that morning asking "how he was feeling?" etc. I did not hear back from Ben right away and that was odd. The next night, my pal Mark Stewart sent me the devastating news.
I miss Benny badly already. The last of the Universal Monsters and the last of the Nice Guys............Sadly but with Honor for Ben, Freddie Poe aka Dr Vollin Movie Collectors World.
I met Ben for the first time back in 1995. Being that the Creature was my all-time favorite monster since I was a kid, this was especially thrilling to me!
Through the years to follow, I developed a lasting friendship with the Big Kahuna. I found Ben not only fun to be with, but I saw a man who just loved being the "Gill Man"..........then again, who wouldn't? But what he loved even more than that, was going to all these conventions & meeting his fans. He spent time with each & every one, answering questions, taking pictures & chatting. He was the most approachable celebrity I've ever met! Even if you weren't buying a picture from him, he would still sit there & talk with you. That aspect of him really impressed me!! He was genuine! And he would always credit his fans for his success as the "Gill Man"!!
He mad a lasting impression on me, & I was honored to have his friendship! I'll miss my "Gill Man"!
Phila. Police Officer (Ret.)
Ben knew how much he was loved, and he made sure each and every one
of us knew of his love for us. He made time for EVERYONE. I
witnessed first hand, his kindness, generosity and professionalism
at a handful of show in which he shared his table with me. In
between pedaling my wares, I would give him a hand in pulling stills
and gathering the rest of the package which consisted of his
contract, "disclaimer" and "gilly bucks". I would get so frustrated
watching the line grow behind him as he engaged in conversation with
the person he was signing for. But that was his genius. When he was
talking to you, YOU were all that mattered. He rushed no one, and no
one was more "important" than another. He especially loved the
little ones. They stole his heart and capture his imagination. It's
no surprise how they took to him.
"Pop" was the consummate professional, a true entertainer. He was so
relaxed in front of the camera and was always on his "A" game when
in front of a crowd. Even when he was tired and sore, he would rise
to the occasion, giving no indication he was in pain. He took the
Gillman character so very seriously- as much as I and some of my
cohorts and fellow comedians would do our best to desecrate it for
the sake of a laugh. He felt the Gillman character was bigger than
he was. But we knew better. He was the heart and sole of the
character and brought to us, the human element. He made our
relationship with the Gillman personal.
It cracked me up how he would leave his prop Hawaii 5-0 badge and ID
on the dresser of whatever hotel room he was staying to ward off any
sticky-fingered housekeepers. He had the last laugh though when he
went to depart for home a few days after being grounded during 9-11.
He didn't have any ID on him, and was trying to board. He got on the
flight using his prop badge and phony baloney ID! One time Roebuck
and I were late picking him up from LAX. We called the airport to
keep an eye out for him, but by the time we got there he had made
himself at home in the LAPD airport precinct. He had the entire
squad in stitches, winning them over and adopting "Uncle Benny" as
their precinct mascot! And to think we worried about him! He was
having coffee and donuts and had the entire room in the palm of his
I'll think of him every time I eat a hamburger. He loved them. I
could go on all day. It's crazy, the hodge-podge of emotion,
grinning from ear to ear while having a lump in my throat and vision
blurred by tears all at once. That lump has come and gone for 4
days. It's like losing my dad all over again. Ben was my "other"
dad, and I love him as such.
Thanks for enriching my life so much, pop and making my (our) world
a better place. I can't help but think of a quote from the Wizard of
Oz that goes something like, "Measure your heart NOT by the love you
have for others, but by how much others have love for YOU." I know
he took that love with him.
My love and sympathy goes out to Merillee, Ben III and Grant.
Submitted in the Memory of our CHOSIN Brother: Ben Chapman. Rest in Peace Brother, God Bless! SEMPER FIDELIS!
The ALOHA Chapter of The CHOSIN FEW, INC
Subject: Shakespeare, Henry V, Act IV, Scene III
“Whoever does not have the stomach for this fight, let him depart. Give him his money to speed his departure since we wish not to die in this man's company. Whoever lives past today and comes home safely will rouse himself every year on this day, show his neighbor his scars, and tell him embellished stories of all their great feats of battle. These stories he will teach his son and from this day until the end of the world we shall be remembered.
*We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for whoever has shed his blood with me shall be my brother. And those men afraid to go will think themselves lesser men as they hear of how we fought and died together.”
The CHOSIN FEW have taken the liberty to change one sentence (*) to read:
“We Few, We CHOSIN FEW, We Eternal Band of Brothers”
James Ward, Secretary
ALOHA Chapter / The CHOSIN FEW, Inc.
I have heard of the news of Ben's recent death and vas immediately saddened. I put up a memorial pic on my site that same day. I just kept thinking of Ben's scheduled appearance during last summer's Monster Bash in Pittsburgh and vas hoping to see him one more time, but unfortunately he took sick that veekend and ve never did get to see him so he could sign my Creature figure. However, I remember the time in 2004 at Flashback Weekend in Rosemont, Illinois that Countess & I did speak to Ben and he invited us out to his house and even gave us his card vhich I still have to this day and found in my camera bag over the veekend. That is a cherished memory of Ben. Great guy and one of the iconic figures of classic horror. He vill surely be missed.
Yours in Fright,
Count & Countess Gregula V^^^V
Ben was my friend, an extraordinary friend. He was loyal, helpful, kind, understanding and great fun to be with no matter what was going on or how he might be feeling that day. No wonder he had so many friends who will miss him and will never forget him.
My deepest sympathy to Ben's family. I had the pleasure of meeting Ben at several conventions over the years. Ben was very kind. Being a book collector, I always brought Ben a CFTBL movie tie in book to sign. Ben was well versed in collectibles and always knew exactly what page had the best picture of him. In some cases he would sign a couple of places. One of my favorite collectibles is my CFTBL Crestwood House book with his signature on the cover. Ben will be missed and thought of often.
I'm a 56 year old woman who grew up watching the Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Ben Chapman Creature from the Black Lagoon movies. I never really knew who was behind that costume but I was always scared out of my wits when I saw him come up out of the water. I was really scared when he took the woman down into the water with him. Yikes! I'm so glad that Mr. Chapman kept this creature going through his visits viewing of the Creature during Halloween. That suit was the most awesome I had ever seen as a young girl and I always wondered if the person could breathe inside that suit. I'm glad he did because no one said he didn't. I'm going to have to purchase this movie for us to watch (my husband, my son and myself). My son is 14 and he likes the old music; he'd really like the old movies if I purchased a few of them. There is another sci-fi movie I'd like to get but don't know the name of it. It revolves around a young boy who falls through sinking sand and is found by an alien species who lives underground. They take their leader around in a glass bowl (only his head is in the bowl). That one scared the heck out of me too. Thanks for sharing (I read Mr. Chapman's obit. in the S.D. Union today). God bless the man who gave us some thrills but wasn't too gorey!
Hello. I just want to say that I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Ben (by accident) in Baltimore in 2001. Of course, I had seen the classic "Creature from the Black Lagoon" several times. But it was an honor to meet Ben in person. Not just because he played the "Gill Man", and not just because of his proud service to his country in Korea, but because he was such a jolly, jovial fellow who seemed to truly enjoy his life. It seemed like his goal was always to brighten up those he came in contact with. And I think he loved the fact that, by playing the "Gill Man", it gave him the opportunity to meet so many people.
For those who know him from his well-known movie role, he will be remembered for the "life" he gave the character. For me, as I presume with most folks who met him, I will remember him as one of the genuinely nicest people I think I've ever met.
Rest in peace, "Gill Man" Ben.......
Paramedic, BWI Airport, MD
There are eight words that will make a Marine's hair stand up on his/her arms like no others: Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sanh. To say "I was there" in any of those battles is enjoy the respect and admiration of ALL Marines everywhere. Ben Chapman is a hero to all Marines who have come since. To have been at the Frozen Chosin is almost mythical in stature...
I wish I could have known him better. WW II and Korea Marines are leaving us every day, and they have such tales to tell. This guy gets out of the Chosin Reservoir alive, and a couple of years later, he's in Hollywood lifting Julie Adams around in a movie. I'm telling you--What a life that guy had...
That guy scared the daylights outta me in 1954, when I saw "Black Lagoon" as a kid. I took my family to meet him in Maryland in 2001 at a movie convention, but he'd fallen and broken his hip at the hotel the night before, and he was in a hospital. My little girls were very disappointed, since they'd just seen our VHS copy of "Black Lagoon" and were dying to meet the Creature. When we got back home in Virginia, I called the hospital just to see how he was doing, and they connected me to his room. Chapman answered, and we must have talked for 20 minutes. He invited us back up to see him, so we drove up to Glen Burnie the next day. Had a wonderful visit with the guy. There he was--in his 70s, thousands of miles from home in a hospital, with a brand new hip less than 24 hours old, sitting up jaw-jacking and charming my wife and daughters. AND me...
I wouldn't let the girls watch "Creature from the Black Lagoon" for years, for fear of it scarring their brains like it did mine in 1954. When I finally let them see it, I cautioned them to stop it if it got too intense for them. Their reaction? "Daddy! You can see the zipper down the back of his costume, for goodness sake!" I was humbled. I'd never noticed that zipper before. No matter. That movie STILL gives me chills...
We took the following photo at the hospital, and I sent him a copy, for which he thanked me. We'd exchange emails 2-3 times a year, and it was always a treat to hear from him...
After he returned home from the hospital in 2001, Mr. Chapman later sent me an email explaining his adventure on 9/11 and his flashing a fake "Hawaii 5-0" ID card to get on the plane from San Francisco to Hawaii. What a story! Hard to believe that the little girl in the striped shirt is heading for college next year, and the little girl in the cammie shirt is as tall as I am! They'll never forget meeting the "Creature," though, and neither will I...
Semper Fi, Ben Chapman. From the Chosin Reservoir to the Black Lagoon, and he got to snuggle with Julie Adams in that white bathing suit, to boot. One helluva life...
Colonel USMC (Ret)