Peter Benchley, the author of 'Jaws', dies aged 65
Tuesday 14 February 2006
The man who turned the great white shark into an icon of terror - with a little help from Steven Spielberg, who directed the blockbuster movie of his book - succumbed to pulmonary fibrosis at his home in New Jersey over the weekend.
Benchley spent his latter years campaigning for the conservation of great whites and other sharks and acknowledged the source of his greatest success had been based more on sensationalism than science. "Knowing what I know now, I could never write that book today," he wrote a fortnight ago. "Sharks don't target human beings, and they certainly don't hold grudges."
Benchley was a freelance writer before mentioning over lunch with an editor that he fancied writing a novel about a shark terrorising a holiday resort. It was a publishing sensation, with film rights sold before the book was out.
Nobody pretended it was great literature, but it resonated with a generation of Americans whose unprecedented affluence could not conceal lurking fears, both rational and irrational. "If I were to be elected pope or if I cured cancer, still, at my funeral, should anybody care, they'll play, 'Duh dum, duh dum'," he said. "My legacy will, no matter what, be Jaws. I hope there will be at least the acknowledgment that I spent my time working for the oceans and trying to protect them."
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Games of Thrones actor Lena Headey makes emotional promise to her unborn daughter
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
Eurovision 2015: Graham Norton returns with another cutting commentary - his best lines
Eurovision 2015: The best moments from Australia's random entry to Lithuania's gay kiss
Clarkson, Hammond and May Live: Top Gear trio returns with a blend of fireworks, AC/DC and 'automotive pornography'
Eurovision 2015 winner: Sweden beats Russia and Italy to take the title from Conchita Wurst
Eurovision 2015: Estonia seemingly enters Louis Tomlinson from One Direction
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland