In Remembrance: Maurice Zimring
Maurice Zimring, the screenwriter who crafted the story for the 1954 classic Creature From The Black Lagoon, has passed away on November 17, 2005 in Westwood, CA. He was 96.
Born on June 19, 1909 in Waterloo, Iowa, Zimring moved to Los Angeles in the 1930s to write for such mystery and drama radio series as Hollywood Star Playhouse and Murder By Experts under the pen name Maurice Zimm.
Zimring’s career transitioned to film when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios bought his radio script “A Question Of Time” to be adapted into the 1953 Barbara Stanwyck film Jeopardy.
Zimring’s next project was developing the storyline for Creature From The Black Lagoon for producer William Allan. Allan had been developing an idea about a half-man/half-fish creature after being told of such a legendary creature by Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figureoa at a dinner party at Orson Welles’ home. Zimring produced a 59-page story treatment which was developed into a screenplay by Harry Essex and Arthur A. Rose.
In 1955, Zimring worked on an early draft of the adaptation of the Tom Lea western novel The Wonderful Country, though he would receive no credit when the film was eventually released in 1959. Later that year, Zimring received his first full screenplay credit for the Biblical epic The Prodigal starring Lana Turner. He followed this up with penning the noir Affair In Havana (1957) which starred John Cassavetes and Raymond Burr. Zimring’s final film was the 1959 western Good Day For A Hanging featuring Fred MacMurray.
Zimring also wrote for television, contributing an episode to the mystery anthology series The Web and serving as a staff writer for Perry Mason.
In 1960, Zimring left the film business and relocated to Hilo, Hawaii, where he created a real estate development and served as an administrator for Peace Corps training and for the University of Hawaii’s East West Center.