'Jaws' star Susan Backlinie has died aged 77

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

Susan Backlinie - who is perhaps best known for her role as Chrissie Watkins in Steven Spielberg's Jaws - has passed away at the age of 77. 

As reported by Variety, Backlinie died Saturday morning at her California home from a heart attack, as confirmed by Convention All Stars owner Sean Clark.

In 1975, Backlinie made movie history when she became the first-ever victim of the giant white shark.

In the iconic opening scene of the movie, Backlinie portrayed victim Chrissie Watkins, who meets her demise in a terrifying encounter with a killer shark. Backlinie, known for her expertise in swimming, also worked as a stunt performer.

Susan Backlinie on the set of Jaws in 1974. Credit: Penske Media / WWD / Getty

Following the actress’ death, many people have taken to social media to rewatch the iconic opening scene that left so many of us afraid to “go back into the water”. 

In the comments section of the Universal Pictures All-Access’ video, fans paid tribute to Backlinie, with one person writing: “R.I.P Susan Backlinie ️


“Because of her I stayed out of the water every time I would go to the beach [...] delivered the most iconic and memorable scene of all time.”

A second commented: “RIP Susan Backlinie. That was a magnificent performance.:

“RIP Susan Backlinie,” a third wrote. “You delivered one of the best and most memorable opening scenes of all time in one of the best movies ever made!”

Credit: Christopher Polk / Getty

Despite popular belief, Backlinie's screams of terror in the Jaws opening scene were not due to any injury from the harness. However, she was not informed about being pulled underwater to elicit a genuine reaction, Variety reports. 

Born on September 1, 1946, Backlinie pursued various roles in acting and stunt performing. Beyond her entertainment career, she worked as a former animal trainer and later transitioned to work as a computer accountant in Ventura, California.

In addition to Jaws, Backlinie appeared in notable films such as Jim Henson's The Great Muppet Caper (1981) and Spielberg's 1941 (1979), where she participated in a parody scene referencing Jaws.

Susan in 2013. Credit: Albert L. Ortega / Getty

Her television credits include appearances in The Quest, Quark, and The Fall Guy. She also starred in films like The Grizzly & the Treasure (1975), A Stranger in My Forest (1976), and Day of the Animals (1977).

Susan Backlinie is survived by her husband, Harvey Swindall.

Our thoughts go out to Backlinie’s family, friends, and fans at this time.

Featured image credit: Christopher Polk / Getty

'Jaws' star Susan Backlinie has died aged 77

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

Susan Backlinie - who is perhaps best known for her role as Chrissie Watkins in Steven Spielberg's Jaws - has passed away at the age of 77. 

As reported by Variety, Backlinie died Saturday morning at her California home from a heart attack, as confirmed by Convention All Stars owner Sean Clark.

In 1975, Backlinie made movie history when she became the first-ever victim of the giant white shark.

In the iconic opening scene of the movie, Backlinie portrayed victim Chrissie Watkins, who meets her demise in a terrifying encounter with a killer shark. Backlinie, known for her expertise in swimming, also worked as a stunt performer.

Susan Backlinie on the set of Jaws in 1974. Credit: Penske Media / WWD / Getty

Following the actress’ death, many people have taken to social media to rewatch the iconic opening scene that left so many of us afraid to “go back into the water”. 

In the comments section of the Universal Pictures All-Access’ video, fans paid tribute to Backlinie, with one person writing: “R.I.P Susan Backlinie ️


“Because of her I stayed out of the water every time I would go to the beach [...] delivered the most iconic and memorable scene of all time.”

A second commented: “RIP Susan Backlinie. That was a magnificent performance.:

“RIP Susan Backlinie,” a third wrote. “You delivered one of the best and most memorable opening scenes of all time in one of the best movies ever made!”

Credit: Christopher Polk / Getty

Despite popular belief, Backlinie's screams of terror in the Jaws opening scene were not due to any injury from the harness. However, she was not informed about being pulled underwater to elicit a genuine reaction, Variety reports. 

Born on September 1, 1946, Backlinie pursued various roles in acting and stunt performing. Beyond her entertainment career, she worked as a former animal trainer and later transitioned to work as a computer accountant in Ventura, California.

In addition to Jaws, Backlinie appeared in notable films such as Jim Henson's The Great Muppet Caper (1981) and Spielberg's 1941 (1979), where she participated in a parody scene referencing Jaws.

Susan in 2013. Credit: Albert L. Ortega / Getty

Her television credits include appearances in The Quest, Quark, and The Fall Guy. She also starred in films like The Grizzly & the Treasure (1975), A Stranger in My Forest (1976), and Day of the Animals (1977).

Susan Backlinie is survived by her husband, Harvey Swindall.

Our thoughts go out to Backlinie’s family, friends, and fans at this time.

Featured image credit: Christopher Polk / Getty