Scuba Diver Profile: Zale Parry

Most probably, Zale Parry can be considered as the most famous female scuba diver in the world today. She was a pioneer in skin diving in the 1940s and an early tester of underwater equipment in 1953 for Scientific Underwater Research Enterprises. Parry also helped with running the first civilian hyperbaric chamber for scuba divers in California and set a depth record for women to 209 feet in 1954. During the same year, she made her screen debut in Jack Douglas Production’s “Kingdom of the Sea”, which was shown in 70 countries. With her beauty and knowledge of  scuba and skin diving, producers of “Sea Hunt” also immediately cast her with not much of a screen test.

More Than Just a Great Diver

Aside from being an expert in diving, Parry also has some artistic talents that manifold from acting to photography. As an accomplished underwater photographer, she co-founded the International Underwater Film Festival in 1957, which ran for 17 years, and became the first elected woman president of the U/W Photographic Society in 1960. Most of the second half of the 19 th century saw Parry remaining in demand as an underwater stuntwoman and actress for Hollywood studios. Apart from “Kingdom of the Sea” and “Sea Hunt”, her credits include “GE Theatre”, “Peter Gunn”, “Wagon Train and more. She also made several TV commercials and appeared on the cover of “Sports Illustrated” magazine in many occasions.

Even though Parry is semi-retired from making films, she still continues to inspire and enthrall audiences today with her lectures and photo presentations about the beautiful world underwater. Recently, she published a book entitled, “Scuba America Vol. I, the Human History of  Sport Diving in America”, and is already working on the next volumes.

Honors and Awards

Parry has received many awards, including the Women’s Scuba Association Scuba Diver of the Year Award, Beneath the Sea Diver of the Year Award, NOGI Award for Distinguished Service, Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Education Award and DEMA’s Reaching Out Award. In 2001, she was named a “Lifetime Ambassador at Large” by The Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences and was inducted into the Cayman Island International  Scuba Diving Hall of Fame a year after.

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