There are some who contribute to comics and geek culture who don’t get their due. Today we here at Comic Addicts are paying tribute to a man who brought a beloved comic character to life not only on the big screen, but on the little screen as well. Today we salute you Dick Durock.
Dick Durock is an actor who’s face you rarely saw. It was hardly seen because he was either in a bit part or it was covered in movie make-up. Dick Durock was mostly a stunt man starting out as far back as the original Star Trek series. He’s played thugs and flunkies on shows such as The Six Million Dollar Man, Battlestar Galactica (original series), Knight Rider, Lost in Space and many others.
Durock’s biggest claim to fame; however, was playing Swamp Thing. He played the character in both movies and on the TV series. Durock really brought the character to life with his portrayal. He used the elements of the tortured soul, intelligence, defender of the innocent, and environmental vigilante to the transformed scientist. Holland’s battles with Arcane were epice because the two men truely were two sides of the coin. One wanted power and eternal life while the other wanted to protect and show respect for all life.
Durock was the one who consulted Wes Craven on the first Swamp Thing movie after he was cast. He told Craven what would and wouldn’t work for the suit as well as the character itself. Imagine how much different things would have been if Craven had done what he wanted to do originally. Initially Craven wanted to have Durock in the suit for the fight scenes and far away shots, but have Ray Wise, who played Holland as a human, in the make-up for the close-up shots. Durock explained that make-up fit everyone differenly and the difference would be noticable. Craven tried it just to see how it would look, but Durock was right. People would be easily able to tell two men were playing the part. Craven then went with Durock playing Swamp Thing throughout the film.
Aside from Swamp Thing Durock also brought another character in the comic/TV universe to life. He played Frye’s Creature on The Incredible Hulk in a two part episode titled “The First”. Yes, he went toe to toe with Lou Ferrigno. It was a very iconic episode since it was a shock to learn tha someone had the same “condition” and David Banner. A very good episode if you get the chance to watch. Here’s the synopsis:
Frye was much different than Banner. Frye liked turning into the creature and he enjoyed hurting people. He had even killed a couple of people one within the past year. Banner had stumbled across Frye looking for the notes of the scientist he had worked with, Dr. Clive. Clive had been trying to help Frye 30 years ago with some medical ailments by harnessing the power of the sun. The gama from the solar flares made him able to transform. Realizing his mistake Clive found a way to cure it. This didn’t make Frye happy so when Banner comes along Frye tricks him into explaining what Clive had done to him and he recreates it. Naturally Banner came because of the cure which he doesn’t end up getting.
Unfortunately this past September 17 marks the 2 year anniversary of his death. Dick Durock lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at 72. Still we say “Thank You” for all that he has contributed not only to geek culture, but to pop culture as well. Here’s to a man who looked mighty fine in green.
For more information about Dick Durock visit his page on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0244270/
January 18, 1937 – September 17, 2009