On my 35th birthday my wife gave me a signed photo from Ben as the Creature. It was a great gift along with all those extras. I was so impressed, Ben stamped the envelope with creature images and included a note detailing the contents of the package and wished me a happy birthday. That gift made me want to meet him in person even more so I went to a convention he was attending and he didn’t disappoint. He was so nice, the line was long and I expected him to just sign the photo and on to the next person but it wasn’t that way at all, he gave me quite a bit of time and I actually sort of moved on because I didn’t want to hold up the line any longer. The next morning we were leaving to go home and he was eating in the hotel breakfast area. As I passed his table I told him to have a safe trip home and he waved me back to his table, he remembered me from the previous day and we continued the conversation. We exchanged emails on occasion and I got to see Ben several times over the years at conventions in Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky and Pennsylvania . I picked up a signed photo every time and every signed photo I got from him was a gem that I cherish.
It was so cool to meet a guy who played a major Universal Horror Film monster (my all time favorite film) and it was such a treat that the guy turned out to be Ben Chapman. I’ll really miss him; he was definitely one of the good guys.
I was deeply saddened to hear the passing of Bennie. I had the honor of being his friend for many years. I first met Bennie in 95, when I got the privilege to drive him from Newark Airport to the Chiller Con, and did so every time after that. He even came to my house a few times...great memories hanging with him, and for that I will be forever grateful.It was always an adventure to be with Bennie...great man, great sense of humor....just a top notch guy.
He will surely missed by many,
My sincere condolences to his Family.
When I was a very young child I saw "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" for the first time. It changed me somehow. The Creature tapped into an emotional and artistic place in me that has never been the same. Today I am an Artist living the dream of a
wonderful life. I have you to thank for so much. Thank you for all of the joy that you have brought to my life since I was a child until now. How fortunate I am to have met you not so long ago, and to thank you in person.
I will never forget you, I love you. Roger Groth, San Francisco.
After reading the pages from the fans of The Creature and Ben Chapman himself, I feel that I needed to chime in as well. Like so many of you that watched The Creature movie as a kid, I loved this movie as well and it had always been one of my favorites. For those of you that met Ben and even formed friendships with him, tons of envy goes out to you as well as heartfelt sympathy, especially to his family at this difficult time. I stumbled upon the website last year and contacted Ben by email. He wrote back.
My young nephew was in town last summer and I put in the VHS tape of the Black Lagoon. Even though he's from a younger generation that's used to viewing visually stunning computer graphics used in today's productions, he was still enthralled at the old black and white that was playing. I think what REALLY got him into the movie was that I told him The Creature even wrote me back!
When the movie ended, I showed him Ben's site. I even ventured to his photos for sale and he selected one. My procrastination still haunts me this day. The only thing that I can only cherish now is laminating a copy of the email he sent me. Even with this brief form of communication, I feel like I was personally touched by his consideration by responding back to me. That'll never be forgotten. And judging from the past memories I've read, it doesn't surprise me in the least of what type of person he was to his fans.
Strength goes out to those he loved,
Ben was a dear friend of ours, always very supportive of our non-profit museum, "The
"Witch's Dungeon Classic Movie Museum", which features a figure of "The Creature".
Ben was also an Honorary Board Member of the museum. Plus he has a major
segment in our documentary, "The Witch's Dungeon 40 Years of Chills". We are
working on a new documentary, which will include some additional footage with
Ben, and we plan to dedicate this new film to him. Merrilee knows us well also.
Here is a painting I made as an assignment for my digital illustration class. While working on it, I discovered that Ben Chapman had passed, so this turn out to be a tributing piece. This was my second major assignment in my digital illustration class. The medium was acrylics this time around. My focus was primarily on textures, color, and technique since composition and design was already a given from the reference image. I don't like how the rock portions turned out though. I couldn't figure how to get the proper texture working for that.
Ben Chapman (the man under the suit for this promotional image, who played the land-based Gill-man in the original Creature from the Black Lagoon) lived a full life and died peacefully, so it's not right to feel sad for the guy. May his soul rest in peace.
This piece is still not yet finalized, so I might update this later. I apologize if the colors seem a bit dim--I haven't adjusted them because I don't think I'm quite yet finished.
I consider myself lucky to have known Ben Chapman, even in the limited context of one actor to another. I saw him at several conventions that I appeared at, or attended as a fan of the genre, for all of my 40 years. Ben was always warm and talkative. I will always cherish one conversation above the rest.
At a con in Cleveland Ohio a few years back, I told Ben about my childhood fascination with all things Gillman. It was after the show rapped for the night, sitting around a table with fans and actors alike. Ben listened intently amid the background noises, and I told a tale of a sickly little boy. This was my tale. The boy found the Gillman as a reason to enjoy the water therapy he attended. I had been a premie and suffered all sorts of lung and muscle related issues. But I took to the water due to my identifying with the Gillman.
I walked like the Gillman all the time. I had an early 70's Gillman action figure that went with me everyday into the Black lagoon ...of my imagination. His portrayal gave me what and who I needed in those days when I felt different from the other kids. By the 80's I was a high school wrestler and went on to serve in the Marine Corps. All
that might have been different if not for Ben. He signed a multitude of pictures for me over the years. He has one of mine as well. That night in Cleveland, I got to tell the man behind the Creature, how much that movie meant. How much it inspired me. He put his arm on my shoulder. It was one of those,' Wow.", moments. Thank you Ben. We love you, buddy.
I would like to share my memory of Mr Chapman, but before I do I would like to provide some background about myself. Although a fan of classic monster films, it has been a idle past time: not something that really impacted my life or the path which I tread each day.
I say this to emphasize what a true gentleman Mr Chapman was in the few moments, my fiancee spent with him at Adventurecon. Some of the celebrities, attending were polite, some were obviously wishing they were somewhere else, and a couple greeted our enthusiastic questions with obvious disdain.
Mr Chapman on the contrary, exhibited not only kindness and patience, but a true joy in interacting with his fans. Once he learned the names of the fans, who had stood in line to see him, Mr Chapman was kind enough not only to address then by their names but to patiently and enthusiasticly answer their questions regardless of how many times he had repeatedly answered the same questions that day. His love of his fans was plainly obvious.
Fot this reason alone, not withstanding the fact that Ben was the last of the great Universal Monsters: we should remember Ben for what he truly was: a true friend and a gentleman by any definition.
Farewell Ben, in your life you sat an example we should all live by