Born on 9th of August 1927
Died in Mayo
Died on 23rd of August 1978
Robert Shaw was one of the most powerful actors of his generation, his abilities enhanced by a physique which brought to mind a boxer or an RSM.
Shaw was born in Westhoughton and brought up there, in Stromness on Orkney , and after the suicide of his father, in Cornwall . He trained at RADA, and learned his craft in provincial theatres before hitting the West End. He was associated with Harold Pinter at various times in his career, performing in The Caretaker on stage and screen, and playing Stanley in the film of The Birthday Party. But his screen career was more noted for appearances in action movies, war films, and thrillers: an early role in The Dam Busters helped establish him; in From Russia with Love he was a scary Donald Grant; in Battle of the Bulge an obsessive German officer; The Sting a ruthless and violent gang boss adding danger to the caper plot; and Jaws saw him as another obsessive, Quint.
Equally at home in Shakespearean or period roles he was Oscar-nominated for his portrayal of Henry VIII as athletic and self-satisfied but at the same time torn intellectually, in A Man for All Seasons .
Less well-known is his skill as a writer, publishing several novels one of which, The Man in the Glass Booth, he adapted for the stage and was later made into a film. Most of his written work was produced in the 1960s before he was a major film star. Like his father he was an alcoholic, a condition that may have led to his death from a heart attack aged just 51.
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