Veteran actress Lee Fierro has died at 91 of coronavirus-related complications.
“The one word I would think of when I think of Lee is dedication,” said Kevin Ryan, artistic director and board president for Island Theatre Workshop, a program Fierro championed during her 40-plus years on Martha’s Vineyard and through which she taught and mentored what Ryan estimates to be more than 1,000 children in theater.
“I’ve watched her as a performer, director and business woman and then we became friends. She was my teacher and mentor,” he continued. “I would still call Lee for artistic discussion and commentary … She was fiercely dedicated to the mission of teaching. She, no matter what it was, would stay at it and get the job done.”
Fierro is known for her iconic scene in the Steven Spielberg-directed shark attack film, in which she confronts and slaps Chief Brody (played by Roy Scheider) in the face.
“I just found out that a girl got killed here last week and you knew, you knew there was a shark out there. You knew it was dangerous, but you let people go swimming anyway,” her character says, furious and sobbing, in the clip. “You knew all those things and still my boy is dead now, and there’s nothing you can do about it. My boy is dead.”
She reprised her role in the 1987 sequel “Jaws: The Revenge” opposite Michael Caine.
Fierro is survived by five children, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
A small service is planned by her family in Ohio. A Martha’s Vineyard memorial service is set to take place at a later date, reports Deadline.