‘Jaws’ Star Lee Fierro aka Mrs. Kintner Dies at 91 After Battle With COVID-19

Lee Fierro Dead

Screengrab via Universal Pictures Lee Fierro pictured during her iconic performance in "Jaws."

Lee Fierro, one of the stars of Jaws, has died at the age of 91. Fierro had been suffering from COVID-19

Fierro’s passing was confirmed in a post from the dedicated Jaws blog, The Daily Jaws. A friend of Fierro’s, Donna Honig, told the website, “Very sad to report that our dear friend from early Island Theatre Workshop days on the Vineyard, the amazing Lee Fierro, has passed away from COVID-19 at an assisted living facility where she had been living near her family in recent years. Condolences to all of us who knew her.”

Fierro played the mother of Alex Kintner in the iconic 1975 film Jaws, directed by Stephen Spielberg. Alex Kintner was the shark’s second victim in the film. The movie was shot in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, where the then-45-year-old actress lived with her family. In her most memorable scene, Fierro slapped Chief Martin Brody, played by Roy Scheider, across the face following the death of her son.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Fierro Said it Took 17 Takes to Get Her Famous Slapping Scene Right

Jaws (1975): Mrs Kintner and Chief BrodyMrs. Kintner (Lee Fierro) and her enigmatic escort seek Chief Brody (Roy Scheider). Once he is located, certain events unfold.2019-04-15T05:37:17.000Z

Movie lore says it took 17 takes to get the slapping scene right. Schieder is quoted in “Roy Schieder: A Film Biography” as saying of the scene, “The actress had no idea how to hit someone in the movies. Every time she slapped me, she really slapped me and it hurt like hell. She had no control. A couple of times I wanted to strangle her, but it was very effective.” Fierro is quoted in the same book saying, “It took 17 takes and he stood there and let me do it. I heard later he had to go to a chiropractor.”

In 2000, Fierro told People that during one take, she knocked Schieder’s glasses off his face. Fierro said she immediately broke character in order to apologize to her co-star.

In 2012, Fierro said that after years of being asked by fans to slap them, she was retiring the gesture. Fierro said, “How many times have I been asked to slap somebody…? I’ve never counted … It happens a lot, and it is mostly young men … I do it to please the fans, but last year I decided, that is it. I have slapped my last slap.”

2. Fierro Moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 1969

Lee Fierro (Mrs. Kintner) on JAWS – The Shark is Still WorkingFrom the interview sessions of The Shark is Still Working documentary available on the JAWS Blu-ray. Featuring JAWS actor Lee Fierro.2015-02-07T22:43:51.000Z

Fierro had been acting since elementary school, according to her profile on the Island Theatre Workshop‘s website. In 1946, Fierro began studying acting under former Moscow Art Theater actor Andre Jilinsky in New York City. During that time, Fierro made early television appearances on The Colgate Comedy Hour for NBC and Man Against Crime with Ralph Bellamy for CBS.

Jaws 25th Anniversary Interviews – Lee FierroVisit timeaxismedia.com/jaws25 for official website and more pics! Our last interview was a personal favorite among the crew, the lovely Lee Fierro , who played the angry, devastated mother of the unfortunate Alex Kintner. Here's the scene of her final, moving scene with Roy Scheider. An exhausted Jaws 25th Anniversary crew. What a week! My…2017-02-04T21:35:41.000Z

In 1950, Fierro and her husband moved to Moylan, Pennsylvania, according to the profile. The couple raised their five children in the state while Fierro worked as a drama teacher. Fierro moved with her husband to Martha’s Vineyard in 1969 and was appointed as the artistic director of the Island Theatre Workshop in 1974. The Vineyard Gazette reported in June 2017 that Fierro was moving from the island to “start a new chapter” in Ohio.

3. Fierro Reprised Her Role Briefly in ‘Jaws: The Revenge’

Alex Kintner Gets KilledScene from the movie Jaws (1975), where Alex Kintner gets killed by the great white… All rights reserved, © Universal2011-02-10T22:44:13.000Z

Fierro reprised her role as Mrs. Kintner briefly in the critically massacred Jaws follow-up, Jaws: The Revenge. The only other credit on Fierro’s IMDb page is a 2016 movie named, The Mistover Tale. That movie was also filmed on Martha’s Vineyard.

In 2000, Fierro told The Cape Cod Times that appearing in Jaws restored her love of the theater. Fierro said in the same interview that every three or four months, she gets a residual check for $35 or $40.

4. Fierro Ran Into Her Fictional Son Years After the Movie When She Unknowingly Went to His Restaurant to Eat

Bloopers – Jaws (1975)A local sheriff, a marine biologist and an old seafarer team up to hunt down a great white shark wrecking havoc in a beach resort. Director: Steven Spielberg imdb.com/title/tt0073195/ Cast: Roy Scheider … Chief Martin Brody Robert Shaw … Quint Richard Dreyfuss … Matt Hooper Lorraine Gary … Ellen Brody Murray Hamilton … Mayor Larry…2018-01-28T13:05:45.000Z

According to the Jaws companion book, Just When You Thought It Was Safe, in his later years, actor Jeffrey Voorhees, who played Alex Kintner, opened a restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard named The Wharf. The book says that one day, Fierro came in to dine. Voorhees approached her and jokingly asked if she believed in reincarnation, saying that he had been killed by a shark many years previously. Voorhees said that Fierro joined in on the joke, saying, “My son died twenty-five years ago – he was killed by a shark.”

Fierro is quoted in the same book as saying the slap she gives Chief Brody “changes” his character. Fierro said, “He feels so much guilt over this poor woman losing her son, because he kept the beaches open. You can sense this in the film, because after I slap him, the mayor says, “Don’t think about it, Martin, she’s wrong,” and Brody says, “No, she’s not.”

5. Fierro Wouldn’t Agree to Take the Role in ‘Jaws’ Until the Swearing Was Taken Out of Her Key Scene

Jaws movie mrs kintner

GettyA sign welcomes people to fictional “Amity Island” June 2, 2005, in Edgartown, Massachusetts. Amity Island is the name of the island in the movie Jaws, which was shot on Martha’s Vineyard and is celebrating its 30th anniversary over a weekend-long “Jaws Fest.”

Fierro detailed in Just When You Thought it Was Safe that she first moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 1969. By the time Jaws came to film on the island, Fierro was working as a drama teacher, raising her children as well as teaching natural childbirth. A friend of Fierro’s was helping the movie production with local casting and introduced Fierro to Stephen Spielberg.

Fierro was unimpressed with the amount of swearing required for her role and only agreed to do the part when the language was cleaned up.

Fierro said in the book people still recognized her on the street for her role. Fierro said, “Sometimes people on the street recognize me, or think they know me. It doesn’t happen as much now that I’m older, but they know that they know from something – that happens every time I go somewhere. It’s sweet. I’m just surprised that people are looking for me or want to meet me. I don’t know what to say, it amazes me so much.” Fierro also said one Christmas she received her iconic swimsuit from the movie as a gift.

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