If, like me, you spent your first viewing of Jaws, hiding behind the sofa and watching the events of the film unfold through the small gaps in between your trembling fingers, then you might be interested to know that you owe your enduring fear of the sea, lakes and baths (yes, even baths, there’s no proof sharks can’t fit through plugholes) to a man named Ron Taylor.
Ron Taylor was a highly esteemed Australian marine conservationist, who along with his wife Valerie, spent many years documenting and capturing footage of great white sharks and he unfortunately died last week after a two year long battle with leukemia. Taylor was dedicated to uncovering the beauty of the much feared great white, and Steven Spielberg was so impressed with Taylor’s work that he asked him to employ his knowledge and expertise to film scenes for the shark sequences in Jaws. His vivid footage shocked and thrilled audiences in equal measure, however Taylor is said to have harboured reservations about his involvement with Jaws as the film was credited with causing a marked increase in shark attacks and killings. However, it must be noted that ultimately, it provoked a national interest in the great white shark which had not been there before.
Taylor’s contribution to the film was instrumental towards creating some truly iconic sequences that will undoubtedly continue to conjure fear in the hearts of many for years to come.