Thursday, April 16, 2015

Who Knew That An Italian Baroness Designed The Creature From The Black Lagoon?

A few weeks ago I was wasting time on Twitter, as I usually do, when I stumbled on an interesting picture posted by Retro Horror (@el_zombo). The picture showed a woman in an old black and white photo holding "her creations." Among them was a monster who a few might recognize as the freaking Creature from the Freaking Black Lagoon.

Milicent Patrick, aka Mildred Elizabeth Fulvia di Rossi, is rumored to have been born an Italian baroness, What's pure fact, though, is that in the 1950's Patrick starred in a number of movies and TV shows in addition to creating an impressive list of creature designs, including masks from Abbot and Costello Meet Dr. Jekkyl and Mr. Hyde and, of course, old Gill-Man pictured above from COTBL.

So why don't many people know about Patrick's contribution to the monster universe?  You'll have to ask this fellow.

Don't actually ask him.  He's quite dead.
George "Bud" Westmore was the head of the make-up department for Universal Studios, and upon hearing that the executives were planning on touring Patrick as "The Beauty Who Created the Beast," he did the only thing that a reasonable man in his place could do:  he told the studio execs that he was the sole designer of the creature and that they should not give her any credit.  Then he stopped hiring Patrick for any future jobs.  Then he kicked a puppy in the face.  OK, he didn't do that last one.  And maybe to his friends and family he was a kind, caring fellow.  But man, fuck you, Bud Westmore.  You effectively ended someone's career and managed to make yourself look like an idiot all because you had to be a 50's male cliche.  

What became of Patrick is actually a mystery after the 1980's.  No one even knows for sure how she died.  For all we know she could still be alive, avoiding the Bud Westmores of the world and kicking back in an Italian villa for her remaining years.  Just remember, Milicent Patrick created the Gill-Man, and Bud Westmore deserved several painful kidney stones.

Further Reading:

Parker, Mary.  "Horror Icon: Milicent Patrick."  February 6, 2012. 

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