Milicent Patrick helped invent a new kind of animation at Disney. She was the first woman to work in special effects for a movie studio. And she designed sci-fi and horror creatures that would go on to influence filmmakers from Steven Spielberg to Guillermo del Toro.
Patrick was such a big deal in her day that, in 1954, Universal sent her on a cross-country tour. The former model, then 38, went to theaters and TV stations with drawings and prototypes of the studio’s famed monsters, including her own design for the Gill Man from “Creature from the Black Lagoon.”
But she was also blackballed from Hollywood by a jealous male boss who stole her legacy.
Now a new book by Mallory O’Meara, “The Lady from the Black Lagoon,” restores Patrick’s rightful place in film history.
“She wasn’t being helplessly carried away in the arms of the monster,” O’Meara writes. “She was creating it.”