45 YEARS ago movie-going audiences across America were taking part in a phenomenon that changed cinema history.

On Friday, June 20, 1975, Steven Spielberg’s classic film Jaws was released to an unsuspecting public. By the end of that summer it had overtaken The Godfather as the highest-grossing film at the North American box office, on its way to becoming the first film ever to earn $100m.

One of the undoubted stars of the film was veteran British actor Robert Shaw whose scene stealing turn as shark hunter Quint became one of his most famous roles in a long and illustrious career.

Shaw was born on August 9, 1927 at 51 King Street in Westhoughton, the son of former nurse Doreen Nora, who was born in Piggs Peak, Swaziland, and Thomas Archibald Shaw, a doctor of Scottish descent.

When Shaw was just six months of age the family moved across the area a short distance away to Oaklea House in Bolton Road and by the age of five he was attending the County Primary at White Horse.

At the age of seven, Shaw left Westhoughton for the Orkneys, then later moved to Cornwall, but the actor never forgot his roots, visiting his birthplace several times and telling a BBC interviewer he could remember the sound of mill girls clogs clattering on the cobbles as they sang Play To Me Gypsy.

By 1975, Shaw had been nominated for an Oscar for his role as Henry VIII in A Man for All Seasons, and played the conned mobster Doyle Lonnegan in The Sting. In 1963, he also played the memorable Bond villain, Donald ‘Red’ Grant, in From Russia With Love.

Nine days before the start of production, the role of Quint had not been cast with the part originally offered to actors Lee Marvin and Sterling Hayden, both of whom passed.

Shaw was reluctant to take the role, but decided to accept at the urging of both his wife, actress Mary Ure, and his secretary—”The last time they were that enthusiastic was From Russia with Love. And they were right.”

It proved to be the right decision, with Quint’s famous monologue about surviving the sinking of the USS Indianapolis going down as one of the greatest scenes in movie history.

Shaw died in Ireland at the age of 51 from a heart attack on August 28, 1978.