Huge Loss: Legendary Actress Susan Backlinie Passes Away

Today, the entertainment world mourns the loss of Susan Backlinie, a renowned actress and stuntwoman famously known for her role as the first victim devoured by the shark in the classic film “Jaws.”

Backlinie passed away at her home in Ventura, California, at the age of 77. Matthew Templeton, her convention agent, confirmed the news, expressing deep regret and requesting privacy for the family during this difficult time.

Her most notable role was as Chrissie Watkins in Steven Spielberg’s iconic 1975 movie “Jaws.” At the age of 28, Backlinie, a nationally ranked swimmer and professional diver, portrayed the unfortunate victim of a shark attack while skinny-dipping.

Before her breakthrough in film, Backlinie had experience working with animals and water, including stints as a mermaid at Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs tourist attraction and handling various wild animals such as tigers and bears.

Backlinie’s unique skill set caught Spielberg’s attention, who sought her out for the pivotal scene in “Jaws.” Spielberg recognized that hiring a stuntwoman like Backlinie would allow for authentic close-ups of the stunt without the need to obscure her face.

Reflecting on the filming experience, Backlinie recalled Spielberg’s directive to create maximum suspense during the scene, urging the audience to hide beneath their seats with popcorn and bubblegum.

Following news of her passing, numerous tributes poured in on social media, with many acknowledging Backlinie’s unforgettable contribution to “Jaws” and the film industry as a whole.

Jeffrey Kramer, who also appeared in “Jaws,” fondly remembered Backlinie as a loving and kind person who held a special place in the hearts of the “Jaws” community.

Fans expressed their gratitude and admiration for Backlinie’s performance, praising her portrayal of Chrissie Watkins and acknowledging her impact on shaping their perceptions of the ocean and sharks.

In commemoration of her legacy, one fan shared how Backlinie’s role sparked his lifelong fascination with great white sharks, leading him to embark on cage diving adventures to observe these majestic creatures.

Susan Backlinie’s indelible mark on cinema as the inaugural victim of the infamous great white shark ensures her place in cinematic history, and she will be remembered fondly by generations of movie enthusiasts.

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