Where in the Horror are they Now? Jaws star, Lorraine Gary!

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THEN: Summer has finally arrived and beach weather is here. So let’s all get into the water once again and just hope that we don’t hear that iconic John Williams score playing while we are far too deep in the water. Of course, with the upcoming shark flick THE SHALLOWS, I’m in the mood for JAWS. And why not, it’s arguably one of the greatest “summer blockbusters” - the first in fact - and it sill holds up as an intense and thrilling adventure. That Spielberg really knows how to build suspense. Now while many film fans gravitate to either Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw or Richard Dreyfuss, what about the loyal wife to Chief Brody? That’s right, Ellen Brody is a pretty badass character in the first film. She brings a ton of heart to what could have easily been a throwaway role. Yes, as a fan of JAWS, we must not forget what Lorraine Gary gave to this already amazing flick.

Lorraine started off her career like many from that time period. She made a number of appearances on such TV shows as Dragnet 1967, The Virginian, McCloud and she even showed up in on the genre centric series Night Gallery, opposite the legendary Leonard Nimoy, in the episode entitled “She’ll Be Company for You.” She continued to work steadily on the small screen on McMillan & Wife, The Wide World of Mystery, Ironside and The F.B.I., so how did the actress finally find herself on the big screen? Well, if you are going to do a first feature film, you might as well go for a blockbuster.

where in the horror are they now lorraine gary jaws jaws 2 jaws 3d jaws the revenge 1941

For the actress, JAWS proved to be something bigger than any of those involved could have ever imagined. The fake shark didn’t work so Spielberg had to show much less of the man-eater than he had hoped. And thankfully, it was just enough. The movie scored with critics and audiences everywhere. For Lorraine Gary, the role of Ellen Brody worked partly because of her incredibly chemistry with Roy Scheider. The scene where she is looking at a shark book and finds a picture of a boat getting attacked from below is priceless. JAWS is a masterpiece on every level. And it all starts with the characters. If we didn’t care about the human element of this man vs. nature flick, why would we be afraid of a giant shark in a movie? We were afraid because we did care.

What do you do after being a part of a huge summer hit? Well for Lorraine, she was featured in a couple of minor roles in flicks like CAR WASH in 1976 with the great Richard Pryor and the 1977 fantasy drama I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN. Well before Hollywood fell in love with making money off of sequels, it wasn’t long before somebody at Universal felt that another giant shark in Amity needed to be released. So in 1978 JAWS II made everybody terrified to go back in the water. And yes, Lorraine was back to support Chief Brody for the sequel. While the second film isn’t nearly as good as the first, I can honestly say that this movie holds a special place in my heart. Considering it wasn’t Spielberg at the helm, this sequel was a nice mix of killer shark and “dead teenager” flick and it worked.

where in the horror are they now lorraine gary jaws jaws 2 jaws 3d jaws the revenge 1941

While JAWS 3-D focused on the grown up sons - this time played by Dennis Quaid and John Putch - the parents didn’t join them at the water park with shark problems. However, Gray did once again work with Spielberg in the 1979 flop 1941. The comedy may not have been a hit with most audiences, but it’s one that featured a ton of cool actors like John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd, Treat Williams, Nancy Allen and even Gray’s JAWS co-star, Murray Hamilton. Personally I kind of dug this goofy flick, and it’s one that I revisit every so often. And while Gray took a break from the pesky great white, she soon returned for her very last feature film.

JAWS: THE REVENGE (1987) is about as dumb as you can get. Now compared to the barrage of bad shark flicks from Asylum, this movie is a little better than I remember but that’s not saying much. Even still, I have to give Lorraine Gary credit for giving as good of a performance as she possibly could with this script. Ellen Brody doesn’t have her husband with her anymore, and you’d think she could have some peace for her family in Jamaica; or wherever the hell they went. But no, somehow a friend of a friend of the shark persuasion decides to follow the Brody family and cause all sorts of havoc for everyone involved. This one even has Michael Caine slumming it. Still, the four JAWS flicks tend to inspire a little nostalgia in me, even the really terrible last two features. I do give them credit for bringing back Ms. Gary for one final film… If only it had been at least good.

where in the horror are they now lorraine gary jaws jaws 2 jaws 3d jaws the revenge 1941

NOW: Since her days of battling killer sharks, the retired actress (who is married to entertainment industry executive Sidney Sheinberg) has been out of the public eye. The couple have two sons, and they are both producers. Both she and her husband are involved in the group Human Rights Watch Women’s Rights Advisory Committee and an Advisory Board Member of Ms. Magazine and Girls Learn International. The couple have received the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Humanitarian Award for the contributions made. Other than that, not much is known of her. You know, if I were making a movie about a killer shark, I think I’d owe it to JAWS fans to try and get Ms. Gary to take a break from retirement and come in for a cameo. that would have made THE SHALLOWS epic if she had been Blake Lively’s mom.

Sure, Gary was married to a Hollywood bigwig, but that doesn’t change the fact that she offered a real human quality to the JAWS franchise. While she does have a Facebook account, it looks as though she isn’t terribly active on it. And you won’t find her on Twitter either. Clearly she was ready to move on from dealing with a pesky shark and now she appears to have placed focus on her family. As a massive fan of JAWS, I’ll always appreciate what Lorraine Gary added to an already incredibly cast. I’ll always think of Ellen Brody as a cool movie mom that would freaking trek out to sea all by herself to try and kick shark butt.

Extra Tidbit: Which of the JAWS sequels is your favorite?
Source: AITH



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