A Woman to Know: Milicent Patrick

Women are the most important part of horror because, by and large, women are the ones horror happens to. — Mallory O'Meara

(image via California Institute of the Arts)


She was an actress, an animator at Walt Disney Studios (the first woman on the staff), a model, a woman who waves the black-checkered flags at races, a costume designer and an artist. She dreamed up monsters and aliens for such 1950s hits as "It Came From Outer Space," "The Mole People" and "This Island Earth" — but her most famous creation would never bare her name.

Working on the set of "Creature from the Black Lagoon," Milicent brought it (him?) to life – that is, she created the actual creature from the black lagoon, the webbed, gilled thing that inspired terror in audiences around the world. She even traveled on a promotional tour for the movie, billed as "The Beauty Who Created the Beast."

But as they approached the film's release, another makeup artist resented Milicent's newfound acclaim. He told the director that Milicent contributed only a few ideas to the "Gill-Man"'s final form. He fired Milicent when she came back from the tour, and in the final version of the film, Milicent's name is stripped from the credits.

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