Page last updated at 17:57 GMT, Monday, 11 August 2008 18:57 UK

Film star gets village honour

Great White Shark
While famous for his role in Jaws Robert Shaw was also an acclaimed playwright

He became more associated with the fictional Amity Island, but Jaws star Robert Shaw has been commemorated in a small Irish village he made his home.

Residents erected a plaque in memory of the English-born actor and writer who lived on the shores of Lough Mask at Tourmakeady, County Mayo.

He lived in the Gaeltacht village for 10 years before his 1978 death.

Oscar nominated for Best Actor in 1966 for A Man For All Seasons, he is best remembered for his Jaws role as Quint.

Robert Shaw as Claudius in Hamlet, 1964, BBC production
Robert Shaw was a writer as well as an actor

Connie O'Toole, who was on a committee to establish a memorial, said villagers will also mark the 20th anniversary of his 1978 death by raising a drink to him at his favourite bar.

"He drank in the local pub Paddy's. He just joined in at the bar like a local, he didn't want to be seen as a big Hollywood star," she said.

"He was very down to earth, and mixed with the locals and the farmers. He also had friends here who he played golf with.

"He was very well-liked."

Shaw's wife Virginia, and three of his children - Penny, Colin and Tom - attended the unveiling of the memorial, made from a rock from the shore of Lough Mask, next to the village.

It has been inscribed with the words: "In honour of Robert Shaw who lived in Tourmakeady. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam." (May he rest in peace.)

He had a deep affection for the landscape and the people of Mayo and would be absolutely delighted that he is being commemorated locally
Colin Shaw

The plaque was erected near the point where he died of a heart attack, aged 51, on the road into the village, near a small marina on the lake shore.

His son Colin, told the gathering at the plaque that the death of actor had cast a long shadow. He said, in the Irish Independent, that his continuing appearances in the TV schedules made the family feel he had never gone away.

"Off screen he remained a family man. He valued the privacy that he had found in Tourmakeady. He had a deep affection for the landscape and the people of Mayo and would be absolutely delighted that he is being commemorated locally," he said.

Shaw's widow, Virginia, who was living in Tourkameady with him when he died, said it was an emotional time. She had stayed in Tourmakeady for a while, but left when the children moved away.

She said Shaw loved Tourmakeady and declared he had discovered the "most wonderful place on earth".

Shaw was also a writer and was nominated for a Tony Award in 1969 for his play The Man in the Glass Booth.

While it is the role he will be best remembered for he did not find the script for the Steven Spielberg shark film astounding.

He confided to his friend, Hector Elizondo: "They want me to do a movie about this big fish. I don't know if I should do it or not."

When Elizondo asked why Shaw had reservations he mentioned that he had never heard of the director and didn't like the title.

In 2005, the American Film Institute voted Roy Scheider's line "You're gonna need a bigger boat" from the film as number 35 on its list of the top 100 movie quotes. Roy Scheider, who played Chief Brody, died in February this year.




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