Actor, b. West Houghton, England, August 9, 1927. d. Aug 27, 1978 in Ireland.

Robert Shaw was most famous for portraying assholes and drunks, which many who worked with him later reported was the true nature of his character. According to the tales that have been told, he was notorious for drinking on the set of Jaws and according to those tales, he despised Richard Dreyfuss for not being up to his caliber of manliness or his equal as an actor.

Born in England in 1927, Shaw trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and was soon performing Shakespeare at the Shakespeare Memorial Theater at Stratford-on-Avon. From there, he began to mold his career, appearing frequently as the villain and in tough guy roles in British and American films.

In 1963 he would gain wider notice for his role in From Russia with Love which would lead him to a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his portrayal of Henry VIII in A Man for All Seasons in 1966. He would be a frequent player in films, but it would not be until 1973's The Sting with Robert Redford and Paul Newman that Shaw would explode upon the scene as a villain and tough guy of note in Hollywood.

As Doyle Lonnegan, a crime boss in Depression era Chicago, Shaw portrayed the ruthless and heartless gangster whose ego gets the best of him. Soon after, he would be cast as Quint in Jaws, the role for which he is best remembered. Not exactly a villain, he was less than wholesome family entertainment, and as the story goes he was quite drunk when he improvised the famous USS Indianapolis speech from the movie.

He would expand on his villainy by playing the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1976's Robin and Marian which also featured Sean Connery as Robin Hood, Audrey Hepburn as Maid Marian and Richard Harris as King Richard. Then, in 1977 he would be called back to the ocean to more or less reprise his role of Quint from Jaws as treasure hunter Romer Treece in The Deep.

Shaw's last movies, Force 10 From Navarone and Avalanche Express would be released posthumously, as Shaw would pass on from a heart attack in Ireland in 1978.

In addition to his acting, Shaw was a published novelist and playwright. His 1967 novel The Man in the Glass Booth he adapted himself into a play and it became a theatrical success in both London and New York. Later the play was made into a movie. He was 51 when he died and was on his third wife at the time. Some folks like to refer to him as the poor man's Richard Burton.


Sources:
Allmovie.com
and
"Jaws" Special Edition DVD commentary

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.