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Ricou Browning

Filmmaker/Writer/Producer

1930 - Present
Inducted in 2012

Biography

Ricou Browning is a Florida native who made his mark as a writer, director, actor and underwater stunt coordinator in the Florida Film Industry. A penchant for underwater stunt work began at Wakulla Springs in the 1940s when he learned to perform in underwater newsreels dreamed up by Newton Perry, who later took Browning along when he opened Weeki Wachee.  This association led to Browning's iconic performance as the Gill Man in Creature from the Black Lagoon. Mr. Browning reprised his role two more times in Revenge of the Creature (1955) and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956). Mr. Browning then joined the public relations team at Silver Springs where he worked with legendary photographer Bruce Mozert creating underwater sketches.

Recognizing his talent in the field of underwater motion picture photography, Director Ivan Tors recruited Browning to work on "Sea Hunt," a popular television series that was the first to feature underwater adventures.  While at Silver Springs, Mr. Browning got the idea for Flipper and he and Jack Cowden wrote a book about a boy and a Florida dolphin.  The book was never published but Ivan Tors made the story into a film. The film was so successful they launched "Flipper," one of television's most popular shows. Mr. Browning became President of Ivan Tors Studio in Miami and in 1968 was elected to head up the newly created Florida Motion Picture and Television Producers Association.

Once he began working in film, he never stopped. From directing some of the most daring underwater scenes ever filmed in James Bond's Thunderball (1966 Academy Award winner for special visual effects), to directing underwater scenes in Caddyshack (1980) to coordinating marine stunts in an episode of "Boardwalk Empire" (2010) Ricou Browning has distinguished himself as one of Florida' most preeminent artists, a status recognized in 2006 when Film Florida awarded him its first Florida Legends Award.