If the name Richard Brooker doesn’t ring a bell, you certainly know him by the mask he wore, a hockey mask specifically. Brooker was Jason Voorhees in ‘Friday the 13th Part 3D’, where the big lug finally found his look with the hockey mask, an object which has become a mad slasher staple ever since.
Now the sad news has come that Brooker has passed away on April 8. The news confirmed by his former business manager Eric Branden on Facebook.:
‘It is my sad obligation to tell all of you that my first client and dear friend RICHARD J. BROOKER past away earlier today. There are many words spoken and there are so many words left unspoken. I’m still shocked so excuse me that I leave you with this few words only. My prayers goes to his family all over the world.”
Brooker only played Jason once, but it was certainly a memorable turn in the role. It was the first time Jason wore his famed hockey mask. According to one story, there were several Canadians working on the film who were naturally hockey fanatics, and one of them had a goalie mask laying around. Those who are familiar with the Friday series know a hockey mask sure beats the hell out of the potato sack Jason wore in ‘Part Two’.
Brooker was a former trapeze artist before taking the role of Jason, and as he recalled in the David Grove book ‘Making Friday the 13th: The Legend of Camp Blood’, he “answered an ad in Dramalogue. They wanted a really large guy and I fit the bill…I thought that playing a psychopathic killer seemed like the perfect entry-level job in the movie business.”
Paramount was high on 3D at the time, and the technology had a small comeback back in the early eighties. Although ‘Friday the 13th 3D’ cost $2 million to make, it cost Paramount about $10 million to rebuild 2,500 theaters to play the film. But as the book ‘Crystal Lake Memories’ tells us, it really paid off, making $36.6 million at the box office. (It’s also now available, in 3D, on DVD and Blu-ray.)
Even with Brooker’s sole turn as Jason, horror fans know every detail and credit from the classics, which guarantees him immortality. Brooker was indeed incredibly lucky to be in such a revered horror franchise, starring as one of horror’s most revered characters, as he’ll now live on in the hearts of the fans forever.
Our deepest sympathies goes out to Brooker’s family, friends and fans in this time of sorrow.