The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Entertainment

September 10, 2012

Shark expert Ron Taylor dies; helped make 'Jaws'



SYDNEY (AP) — Ron Taylor, a beloved Australian marine conservationist who helped film some of the terrifying underwater footage used in the classic shark thriller "Jaws," has died after a long battle with cancer, a close family friend said Monday. He was 78.

Taylor, who had suffered from leukemia for two years, died on Sunday at a hospital in Sydney, said Andrew Fox, who worked with Taylor on shark conservation efforts for decades.

Fox said Taylor had mixed feelings about his work on "Jaws," which terrified beachgoers but ultimately helped draw attention to the intimidating yet often threatened animals.

Taylor and his wife, Valerie, spent years filming great white sharks and trying to persuade a wary public that the much-feared creatures were beautiful animals worthy of respect. Their stunning up-close images of sharks drew the attention of "Jaws" director Steven Spielberg, who asked the couple to capture footage of a great white for his 1975 blockbuster.

The Taylors shot much of the now-classic sequence in which the shark tears apart a cage holding one of the main characters.

They filmed off South Australia, using a miniature shark-proof cage with a very short diver inside in an attempt to make the real sharks look as large as the 25-foot mechanical shark used in the movie. While filming, a great white became tangled in the shark cage's cables and began thrashing violently as it tried to escape.

Fox's father, Rodney Fox, who famously survived a near-fatal great white shark attack in 1963, assisted on the shoot. Andrew Fox said both men were affected by criticism that the movie reinforced the notion that great whites were death machines. ("It is as if God created the devil and gave him — JAWS," the narrator in the film's theatrical trailer warned in an ominous voice.)

Text Only
Entertainment
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee