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Jaws Actress Susan Backlinie Dies at 77

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Susan Backlinie, the iconic actress known for her role in the movie ‘Jaws,’ passed away at the age of 77 at her residence in Ventura, California.

Backlinie, a professional diver and stuntperson, rose to fame as the skinny-dipping Chrissie in the legendary thriller ‘Jaws’ by Universal Pictures in 1975.

Steven Spielberg himself handpicked Backlinie for the role, impressed by her water skills and endurance, as described in Laurent Bouzereau’s book.

During the filming on Martha’s Vineyard, Backlinie worked tirelessly in the water, executing the demanding scenes under Spielberg’s meticulous direction.

Born in Washington, Backlinie moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, where she excelled as a cheerleader and state swimming champion at Forest Hill High School.

Her early career included performing as a mermaid at Weeki Wachee Springs and working with animals at Ivan Tors Studios, where she crossed paths with stars like Gentle Ben and Flipper.

Backlinie impressed Spielberg with her skills when approached for ‘Jaws,’ leading to her impactful portrayal of Chrissie in the film’s haunting opening scene.

Following her standout performance in ‘Jaws,’ Backlinie continued her acting career with appearances in various films like ‘Two-Minute Warning,’ ‘Day of the Animals,’ and ‘The Great Muppet Caper.’

After retiring from stunt work, Backlinie resided with her husband, Harvey, on a houseboat in Ventura, where she enjoyed a peaceful life post-retirement.

Rachel Adams

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