Robert Shaw (actor)

Robert Shaw (actor)

Infobox actor
name = Robert Shaw

caption = Robert Shaw as Quint in "Jaws".
birthdate = birth date|1927|8|9|df=y
birthplace = Westhoughton, Lancashire, England
deathdate = death date and age|1978|8|28|1927|8|9|df=y
deathplace = Tourmakeady, County Mayo, Republic of Ireland
yearsactive = 1947-1978
spouse = Jennifer Bourke (1952-1963)
Mary Ure (1963-1975)
Virginia Jansen (1976-1978)
awards = KCFCC Award for Best Supporting Actor
1967 "A Man for All Seasons"
NBR Award for Best Supporting Actor
1966 "A Man for All Seasons"

Robert Archibald Shaw (9 August, 1927 – 28 August, 1978) was an English stage and film actor and writer.


Robert Shaw was born in Westhoughton, Lancashire , England, in 1927, to Thomas (a physician) and Doreen Shaw. He had three sisters and one brother. When he was seven, the family moved to Stromness, Orkney, Scotland and when he was 12 his father committed suicide by swallowing a lethal dose of opium. He apparently had been struggling with alcohol for a number of years. The family then moved to Cornwall, where he went to school in Truro. Shaw was a teacher in Saltburn, Yorkshire for a brief period, then attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.

Acting career

Shaw's best-known film performances include a turn as the dangerous enemy secret agent, Red Grant, in the 2nd James Bond film "From Russia with Love" (1963); the relentless panzer officer Colonel Hessler in "Battle of the Bulge" (1965); a young Henry VIII in "A Man for All Seasons" (1966); Lord Randolph Churchill, in "Young Winston" (1972); the ruthless mobster Doyle Lonnegan in "The Sting" (1973); the tightly wound, but coolly efficient heist mastermind/former mercenary soldier Bernard Ryder aka "Mr. Blue" in "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" (1974), and the shark-obsessed fisherman Quint in "Jaws" (1975).

Shaw was nominated for the Golden Globe Award and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "A Man for All Seasons".

He performed on stage as well, both in England and on Broadway.

Writing career

In addition to his acting career, Shaw was also an accomplished writer of novels, plays and screenplays. His first novel, "The Hiding Place", published in 1960, met with positive reviews. His next, "The Sun Doctor", published the following year, was awarded the Hawthornden Prize in 1962.

Shaw then embarked on a trilogy of novels – "The Flag" (1965), "The Man in the Glass Booth" (1967) and "A Card from Morocco" (1969); it was his adaptation for the stage of "The Man in the Glass Booth" which gained for Shaw's writing the most attention. The book and play present a complex and morally ambiguous tale of a man who, at various times in the story, is either a Jewish businessman pretending to be a Nazi war criminal, or a Nazi war criminal pretending to be a Jewish businessman. The play was quite controversial when performed in the US and the UK, some critics praising Shaw's sly, deft, and complex examination of the moral issues of nationality and identity, others sharply criticizing Shaw's treatment of such a sensitive subject. "The Man in the Glass Booth" was further developed for the screen, but Shaw disapproved of the resulting film and had his name removed from the credits.

Shaw also adapted "The Hiding Place" into a screenplay for the film "Situation Hopeless ... but not Serious" starring Alec Guinness. His play "Cato Street", about the 1820 Cato Street Conspiracy, was produced for the first time in 1971 in London.

Personal life

Shaw was married three times and had nine children: Jennifer Bourke (1952-1963) by whom he had four daughters; Mary Ure (1963-1975, until her death as a result of accidental overdose), with whom he had two sons and two daughters; and Virginia Jansen (1976-1978), one son. One of his sons by Mary Ure, Ian Shaw, is also an actor.


Shaw died of a heart attack in Ireland while filming "Avalanche Express", on August 28, 1978. He was driving home with his wife, Virginia, and his youngest son, Thomas (then twenty months old), after golfing with friends during a break in filming. After feeling chest pains, he stopped the car and told Virginia he would get out and walk them off. After taking four or five steps he collapsed by the side of the road and was pronounced dead by the paramedic team which arrived fifteen minutes later. A Wetherspoon's Pub has been named after him in his home town.



*"The Caretaker" (1962)
*"The Physicists" (1964)
*"The Man in the Glass Booth" (1969)
*"Gantry" (1970)
*"Old Times" (1972)
*"Dance of Death" (1974)


* "The Lavender Hill Mob" (1951) (uncredited)
* "Operation Secret" (1952) (uncredited) - Jacques
* "The Dam Busters" (1954) - Flight Sgt. J. Pulford
* "A Hill in Korea" (1956) - Lance Corporal Hodge
* "Double Cross" (1956)
* "Man from Tangier" (1957) - Johnny
* "The Buccaneers" (1957) - Captain Dan Tempest - Television
* "Sea Fury" (1958) - Gorman
* "Libel" (1959) - Newspaper Photographer
* "The Winter's Tale" (1961) - Leontes
* "The Valiant" (1962) - Lieutenant Field
* "The Caretaker" (1963) - Aston
* "From Russia with Love" (1963) - Donald 'Red' Grant
* "The Cracksman" (1963) - Moke
* "The Luck of Ginger Coffey" (1964) - Ginger Coffey
* "Carol for Another Christmas" (1964) - Ghost of Christmas Future
* "Tomorrow at Ten" (1964) - Marlowe
* "Hamlet" (1964) - Claudius, King of Denmark
* "Battle of the Bulge" (1965) - Col. Martin Hessler
* "A Man for All Seasons" (1966) - King Henry VIII
* "Custer of the West" (1967) - Gen. George Armstrong Custer
* "The Birthday Party" (1968) - Stanley Webber
* "Battle of Britain" (1969) - "Skipper"
* "The Royal Hunt of the Sun" (1969) - Francisco Pizarro
* "Figures in a Landscape" (1970) - MacConnachie (also adapted for the screen)
* "A Town Called Bastard" (a.k.a. "A Town Called Hell") (1971) - The Priest
* "Young Winston" (1972) - Lord Randolph Churchill
* "A Reflection of Fear" (a.k.a. "Labyrinth") (1973) - Michael
* "The Hireling" (1973) - Steven Ledbetter
* "The Sting" (1973) - Doyle Lonnegan
* "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad" (1974) (uncredited) - The Oracle of All Knowledge
* "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" (1974) - Mr. Blue - Bernard Ryder
* "Jaws" (1975) - Quint
* "Der Richter und sein Henker" (a.k.a. "End of the Game", "Murder on the Bridge", "Deception", and "Getting Away with Murder") (1975) - Richard Gastmann
* "Diamonds" (a.k.a. "Diamond Shaft") (1975) - Charles/Earl Hodgson
* "Robin and Marian" (1976) - Sheriff of Nottingham
* "Swashbuckler" (a.k.a. "Scarlet Buccaneer") (1976) - Ned Lynch
* "Black Sunday" (1977) - Major David Kabokov
* "The Deep" (1977) - Romer Treece
* "Force 10 from Navarone" (1978) - Major Keith Mallory
* "Avalanche Express" (1979) - General Marenkov


* "The Hiding Place" (1960)
* "The Sun Doctor" (1961)
* "The Flag" (1965)
* "Situation Hopeless... But Not Serious" (1965) (screenplay adaptation of "The Hiding Place")
* "The Man in the Glass Booth" (1967)
* "The Man in the Glass Booth" (1968) (play adaptation)
*"A Card from Morocco" (1969)
*"Cato Street" (1971) (play)

External links

*findagrave|6524588|Robert Shaw
*ibdb|59762|Robert Shaw
*imdb|0001727|Robert Shaw


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