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Feature
The Unsung Heroes Of Jaws
Costume designers! Stunt men! Poster designers! We salute you….

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In the 37-year history of Jaws, a lot of the key cast and crew members have received their day in the sun, from editor Verna Fields and production designer Joe Alves, to composer John Williams and shark builder Robert A. Mattey. But there are still some stirling contributions from unheralded Jaws players, both in front of the camera and behind it, that have yet to be celebrated. So here is a roll call of just a few unsung heroes that add to the texture of Jaws to make it the classic that it is.

WORDS IAN FREER
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Ted Grossman (Stunt Co-ordinator)

Ted Grossman was Jaws’ stunt co-ordinator and has the distinction of being a member of the exclusive club of people killed by Bruce. Grossman is billed in the movie as ‘Estuary Victim’, the smart-alec sap who shouts sailing instructions to Brody’s kid, then gets attacked by the shark (above), his severed leg floating to the bottom of the ocean (this is one of Jaws’ most famous continuity gaffs: in the boat, he is barefoot; as his leg drops down it boasts a running shoe). Spielberg originally envisioned the scene differently with Grossman in the shark’s mouth heading towards Brody’s son and scooping him up to get him out of harm’s way. “I was in this bucket seat strapped into it,” recalled Grossman. “The shark fin was behind me on a sled. I had the kid in my arms and was going to take him underwater and then the sled went underwater. It was so horrendous, that they couldn’t use it. It was too violent period.”

Grossman’s heroics also ran off-screen: he was the poor sod responsible for bringing a 900lb dead tiger shark (to hang in the Amity dock) from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard. Grossman went onto become a constant presence throughout Spielberg’s career turning up in Raiders (Peruvian Porter), E.T. (Government Agent), The Goonies (FBI man), Always (Fisherman No.2), Last Crusade (Deputy Sheriff) and Crystal Skull (reprising the role of Peruvian Porter).

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