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Robert Shaw RIP

A great actor died 30 years ago today. Robert Shaw dropped dead of heart attack at age 51 in Ireland. Shaw's acting career spanned 27 years. From a bit role in the classic British comedy, The Lavender Hill Mob, to the positively awful Avalanche Express. Shaw died while the later was still being filmed. Another actor's voice had to be dubbed for Shaw's role in the movie.


I'm betting a great many Wizbang readers remember Shaw. What was your favorite movie of his? Was it

The Sting
Black Sunday
A Man for All Seasons

or a movie not listed above. Shaw was great in all those I listed. Two movies of Shaw's that I'm particularly fond of were The Luck of Ginger Coffey and Swashbuckler. Swashbuckler was a campy pirate movie, but its lots of fun. Ginger Coffey may have been Shaw's most unappreciated work. An Irish dreamer living in Canada who can't seem to take his responsibilities seriously. I loved this movie when I first saw it about 25 years ago. Even taped it on VHS, but the cassette is now gone and Ginger Coffey is rarely shown on television.

Few people know Shaw was a talented author and playwright. He acted to provide for his family, he fathered ten children. Four of them with actress Mary Ure, who played his wife in The Luck of Ginger Coffey. I posted a video tribute to Shaw that I found at You Tube. Thank you for all the great movies Robert and RIP.


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Comments (29)

"Here's to swimmin' with bo... (Below threshold)

"Here's to swimmin' with bowlegged women...."

Shaw was indeed gifted beyo... (Below threshold)

Shaw was indeed gifted beyond most moviegoers' appreciation of him.

My favorite Shaw performance was as the head villain in The Taking Of Pelham 1-2-3. It was a tough role to carry, maximally unsympathetic, but Shaw made it magnetic. However, my favorite movie with Shaw in it would be Black Sunday, which also contained two amazing performances by Bruce Dern and Marthe Keller as psychopathic terrorists.

RED GRANT TO JAMES B... (Below threshold)


"The first one won't kill you; not the second, not even the third... not till you crawl over here and you KISS MY FOOT!"

For me: "A Man For All Seas... (Below threshold)

For me: "A Man For All Seasons" An absolutely terrific cast. Shaw included.

he was born in 1927, 81 yea... (Below threshold)

he was born in 1927, 81 years old i think. a great loss.

somebody fetch my readin gl... (Below threshold)

somebody fetch my readin glasses. sorry bill for doubting your math skills. hey wait a minute, with my reading and math skills, i could do a poll for obama, wouldn't that be a hoot.


While we're at it, let's no... (Below threshold)

While we're at it, let's not forget his mellowed, battle-weary Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin and Marian.

He was a remarkable talent who left the stage too soon, no doubt about it.

Robert Shaw was a great act... (Below threshold)

Robert Shaw was a great actor. I also loved Swashbuckler, I saw that one in the theater. It was silly and campy and to kid a LOT OF FUN. Becuase of that whenever I read the book Tai-Pan by James Clavell I think of Robert Shaw as the main character Dirk Struan. He would have been perfect for the role.

jab,Yes, Shaw's po... (Below threshold)


Yes, Shaw's portrayal of psychopath killer Red Grant is outstanding. The lengthy fight scene between Shaw and Connery near the end of the picture took three weeks to film, and Shaw and Connery did nearly all of their own stunts.

"The Deep"... Loved that wh... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

"The Deep"... Loved that when I was a kid... Thank you, oh image of Jacqueline Bisset that adorned my puberty years. ;)

The Taking of Pelham 123... (Below threshold)

The Taking of Pelham 123 is a great underrated movie. Shaw and Walter Matthau are excellent as antagonists who actually don't see each other until close to the end of the movie.

The guy who got stung in <i... (Below threshold)

The guy who got stung in The Sting.

He was good in To Russia wi... (Below threshold)

He was good in To Russia with Love. And Jaws.

A Scot with character; Connery like.

"Here lies the body of Mary... (Below threshold)

"Here lies the body of Mary Lee,
Died at the age of a hundred and three,
For fifteen years she kept her virginity,
... not a bad record for this vicinity."

Doyle Lonnigan, by a mile.<... (Below threshold)

Doyle Lonnigan, by a mile.

I am not a movie affaciando, but whoever cast in him in that role was a genious.

I'd probably give the nod t... (Below threshold)
The Exposer:

I'd probably give the nod to Ginger Coffey too, a real tour de force. It's very difficult to choose, though, given that he never turned in a bad performance. Sickening to see that we've lost so many strong, leading male actors that we seemed to have in abundance in the '50s, '60s, and '70s, replaced by whining, PC metrosexual ninnies. Matt Damon and Affleck aren't fit to hold Mr. Shaw's jock. He is surely missed.

Has to be, Where Eagles Dar... (Below threshold)

Has to be, Where Eagles Dare.

Put me down for Quint in Ja... (Below threshold)

Put me down for Quint in Jaws.

Especially when he told the story of the USS Indianapolis.

Especially when he... (Below threshold)
Especially when he told the story of the USS Indianapolis.

Classic scene.

"...but we delivered the bomb."

I was 11 when Jaws h... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned:

I was 11 when Jaws hit the silver screen and it took me many years to read enough history to understand what happened to the USS Indianapolis. Learning that a decade or so after the movie made that scene even creepier.

That said, watching Newman & Redford take his money in The Sting never gets old.

I have to agree with Bill a... (Below threshold)

I have to agree with Bill above: Where Eagles Dare! What a great actor, still missed. How many of today's stars will be missed 30 years after they're gone?

The crazy German tank comma... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

The crazy German tank commander in The Battle of the Bulge was classic.

But Quint was epic.

FWIW, IMDB says he died 8/28/78...

And Where Eagles Dare was R... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

And Where Eagles Dare was Richard Burton...

"Aye chief, 4,586,129 men w... (Below threshold)

"Aye chief, 4,586,129 men went in the water....only 12 survived...."

I'm a bit biased but my fav... (Below threshold)

I'm a bit biased but my favorite roll he played was the one of getting stung in The Sting. My late uncle was in that movie, hence the bias.

"Sometimes that shark he... (Below threshold)

"Sometimes that shark he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. And, you know, the thing about a shark... he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be living... until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin'."

Robert Archibald Shaw (9... (Below threshold)

Robert Archibald Shaw (9 August 1927 - 28 August 1978) was an English stage and film actor and writer.

I loved him in Force 10 fro... (Below threshold)

I loved him in Force 10 from Navarone.

why, i just think all of Ro... (Below threshold)
joanne m. lindahl:

why, i just think all of Robert Shaw's movies were fantastic! during his career he personally influenced many other well known actors/actresses/directors/screenwriters/editors in todays industry. He made no "BAD" movies, made MANY low budget movies and he captured the whole plot from beginning to end.






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