Robert Shaw

1927 - 1978

Actor and novelist. Although born in Westhoughton (Lancashire, England), at the age of seven Shaw moved with his family to Stromness (Orkney), where his father became a respected local doctor. However, his father had a drink problem and this contributed to his untimely end, when Shaw was just twelve. The family then moved to Cornwall, where Shaw went to school in Truro. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (London) before making his professional stage debut in Shakespeare (1949). He was to play Shakespeare on the stage on many subsequent occasions.

Shaw's first film appearance was a short non-speaking part in The Lavender Hill Mob (1951). However, he was best known for later film roles; namely as the deserving victim of The Sting (1973) and the worldly-wise shark-hunter in Jaws (1975) which became the biggest box-office grossing film of all time and included a scene written by Shaw himself. His other films include: The Dam Busters (1954), From Russia With Love (1963), part of the James Bond series, The Battle Of The Bulge (1965), the Academy Award nominated A Man For All Seasons (1966), The Battle Of Britain (1969), The Taking Of Pelham One-Two-Three (1974), Force Ten From Navarone (1978) and Avalanche Express, which was unfinished at the time of his death (1978).

Shaw also worked in television and was an accomplished playwright and author, his second novel The Sun Doctor (1961) winning the Hawthornden Prize in 1962.

Married three times, his second wife was Scottish actress Mary Ure (1933-75) with whom Shaw had had a widely-reported affair which gave rise to a child. He was devastated when she died of an overdose.

Shaw died of a heart attack while driving near his home in Ireland.

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