“Jaws” Actress Dead at 77

(RepublicanDaily.org) – Susan Backlinie, who played the iconic first victim of the giant killer Great White shark in the 1975 cult classic “Jaws” has passed away at the age of 77.

Sean Clark, who serves as Backlinie’s agent, confirmed her passing to the press. He said that she died in her home in California after suffering a heart attack.

In the Stephen Spielberg shark flick, Backlinie played Chrissie Watkins, who after skinny-dipping into the sea in a nighttime swim, finds herself shaken and torn apart by Spielberg’s massive creature from the deep. Jaws would not only give birth to several sequels later on, but also pioneered a genre of films of whose kind are still seen on cinema today.

In the scene, Backlinie is seen thrashing in the water after being attacked by the Great White. She manages to cling to buoy for support for a brief moment before being dragged back down under by her finned and sharp-toothed assailant.

Backlinie was chosen for the role as Spielberg wanted the first victim to be someone who could swim in real life. Backlinie was secured to a harness, and instead of actually being naked, was in reality wearing a special pair of jeans below the water. Metal plates had been sewn into the pants’ sides, which were in turn attached to the cables attached to the harness. The cleverly hidden prop allowed Backlinie to be shaken rather violently while in the water, a process that the actress said was very exhausting.

“I was home and exhausted at the end of the day,” she related at a talk show she guested in last year. There were also rumors that the stunt broke one of Backlinie’s ribs, but she said that despite the extremely physical nature of what she needed to do for the scene, she suffered no such injury.

Backlinie leaves behind her husband, Harvey Swindall.

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