Without a doubt the hardest part of our job reporting on the latest horror news is when one of our own is taken from us. We’re very sad to inform you that Dick Durock, best known for his role as the “Swamp Thing”, passed away last week at his home in Oak Park, California, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Durock, 72, was the subject of a fond tribute from Erin Blasko of the South Bend Tribune. Excerpts follow:
Born in South Bend in the late 1930s, Richard “Dick” Durock survived an early family tragedy to become a minor Hollywood player and fanboy idol for his role as Swamp Thing in the two feature films and television series of the same name.
Despite his success, he remained a humble Midwesterner at heart.
“He didn’t get a big head. He was down-to-earth, very natural,” Frank Varrichione, Durock’s brother-in-law, said.
Dick Durock’s early work included stunts for “The Beverly Hillbillies” and a bit part as “Guard #1” in an episode of “Star Trek.” He would go on to do stunt work in hundreds of films and television shows, including “The Poseidon Adventure” and “A-Team,” and act in hundreds more, including “The Rockford Files,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Married with Children” and “Stand by Me.”
But Dick Durock’s most memorable work was as the DC Comics character Swamp Thing, a plant-like humanoid charged with protecting the natural world from the abuses of man.
He played the character in two feature films, “Swamp Thing” (1982) and “The Return of Swamp Thing” (1989), and in a subsequent television series, also called “Swamp Thing,” that ran for 71 episodes in the early 1990s.
Dick Durock was practically unrecognizable in the physically taxing role, which required him to don a heavy body suit and endure hours of makeup.
“At the end of the day you’re wearing 80 pounds of wet latex,” Dick Durock said in a 2008 interview for the Web site Mania.com, “plus all the chemicals on your face. It sure isn’t sunglasses and autographs, I’ll tell ya.”
But he enjoyed the work, Judy Schenk (Durock’s older sister) said.
“He loved it,” she said. “He loved doing those crazy things.”
And we loved watching you, Dick.
On behalf of Dread Central, our sincere condolences go out to Dick’s friends and family.
Remember the happy times, and take a few moments to revisit Uncle Creepy’s recent interview with him.
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