Happy International Women’s Day to all you Groovie Ghoulies and Cool Ghouls out there!
We thought we’d celebrate the occasion by honoring a woman who gave us one of the greatest monsters of all time: Ms. Milicent Patrick. You may not recognize the name, but you certainly know her work…
That’s right, Monster Lovers! Actress/Designer/Artist Milicent Patrick is the woman who designed the Gill-Man AKA The Creature from the Black Lagoon! Not only did she give Gill-man his ghoulish good looks, but she also designed the Metaluna Mutant in This Island Earth, the aliens in It Came from Outer Space, and Mr. Hyde in Abbott and Costello meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In addition to all of that, she held the distinction of being one of the first female animators hired by Disney. Unfortunately, no definitive record of her life, her death, or her whereabouts seems to exist. The Screen Actors Guild lists her amongst the missing. For someone who designed one of the great horror icons, there’s very little info. Heck, people can’t seem to agree on whether there was one “l” or two in her name!
What most do agree on is that Universal put her on a publicity tour to promote the release of Creature from the Black Lagoon, billing her as, “The Beauty Who Created the Beast.” An excellent promotion, but it certainly rubbed make-up head Bud Westmore the wrong way. Westmore promised to never hire her again and made good on his word. Executives noted that Patrick had done everything possible to credit Westmore during her interviews. They even said that Westmore was acting childish, but that didn’t resolve the matter. She continued to act in films and television until 1968, but her career in the make-up department was over. For many years, Westmore took sole credit for the creation of the Creature.
Despite what had happened, she continued to give Westmore the credit he did deserve. After all, it takes a lot of mad scientists to make a monster. Even if she if she isn’t the sole creator, she did design the monster we love today and perhaps did even more. We salute you, Ms. Patrick! The Creature certainly wouldn’t be the creepy creep he is today without you.
Ms. Partick in Ramar of the Jungle
1954 interview with Miss Patrick