A MEMORIAL to Westhoughton-born film star Robert Shaw is to be unveiled in the town where he was born...almost 20 years after his death.

On Saturday at 2pm the Mayor of Westhoughton, Cllr Brian Clare, will unveil a plaque outside Westhoughton town hall in memory of Shaw - best known for his role as the shark hunter Quint in the phenomenally successful movie Jaws.

A campaign in 1983 to get a permanent memorial to the Oscar-nominated actor was unsuccessful.

The plaque is a gift from Cinema 100 the national celebration of the centenary of cinema in Britain.

And to coincide with the year long celebration, Westhoughton library is hosting the British Film Institute's travelling exhibition as well as a display on the career of Robert Shaw. This also kicks off on Saturday. Usually the library is closed from 12.30pm on Saturdays but this week it will reopen to allow people to enjoy the exhibitions until 4.30pm. Admission is free and refreshments will be available.

And on August 22 Brian Hall from Farnworth will be giving a talk and video presentation on 100 years of cinema in Bolton. This event is also free and kicks off at 7.30pm.

Robert Shaw was born in King Street, Westhoughton, in August 1927.

Six months later his father Dr Shaw, moved his family to a large detached house called Oaklea in Bolton Road.

Young Robert, the eldest of five children, learned to read and write at the tiny White Horse School opposite.

The woman who was his headmistress, Clara Pendlebury, recalled after his death: "He was a lovely little lad. Very bright and a fast learner. He loved games and sport." Just before his eighth birthday the family moved to the Orkneys where he spent the remainder of his childhood.

But even when he was an established actor and joined the globe trotting jet set, Shaw would occasionally return to Westhoughton for a nostalgic look at his home town.

In an interview just before his death Shaw said one of his fond memories of Westhoughton was lying in bed and hearing the mill girls clattering past the window in their clogs. As well as Jaws, Shaw starred in a host of films such as The Sting, The Dam Busters, From Russia With Love, A Man For All Seasons and The Deep.

He also enjoyed television success in the 1950s as Dan Tempest in the long running ITV adventure series The Buccaneers.

Shaw, who was married three times, died in 1978 aged 51.

His first marriage to Jennifer Marguerite ended in divorce in 1963 after an affair with actress Mary Ure.

He later married Mary but it ended in tragedy when she died accidentally from a mixture of drink and drugs in 1975. He secretly married his third wife - his former secretary Virginia Jansen - in 1976. She was with him when he collapsed in his car near their home at Tourmakeady in Southern Ireland. He was dead before an ambulance could get him to hospital.

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