Susan Backlinie

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Susan Backlinie playing Chrissie Watkins in the iconic shark attack scene in the 1975 blockbuster movie Jaws by Steven Spielberg
Susan Backlinie playing Chrissie Watkins in the Jaws movie poster
Susan Backlinie in the Paradise Mermaid Follies show
Susan Backlinie (born Susan Jane Swindall on 1 September 1946 in Ventura, California) is a former actress, animal trainer and stuntwoman who specialized in swimming work. She is known for her role as Chrissie Watkins, the first victim in Steven Spielberg's 1975 movie blockbuster Jaws. She appeared in The Lady and the Lion pictorial in the January 1973 issue of Penthouse Magazine.

She was an excellent swimmer in her teenage years and later became a professional swimmer at Florida's long running Paradise Mermaid Follies show.

Contents

Scene from Jaws

Originally, the shot in Jaws of the shark attack where Backlinie, playing Chrissie Watkins, was killed was shot several times over the course of 3 days. The final shot was produced when Backlinie was not told when she would be attacked. When the diver below her grabbed onto, and pulled her leg to pull her under, she gave a genuine scared reaction that remained in the final movie edit. There were two 300-pound weights attached to Backlinie that were being tugged by two groups of crewmen on shore. One group would pull right, and the other would pull left in order to create the iconic death scene. Later, when she was recording the screams to be dubbed over the film, Spielberg had her tilt her head back and poured water down her throat while she screamed.

In the movie when the remains of Chrissie Watkins were examined, the tissue damage indicates the non-frenzied feeding of a large squalus is described by oceanographer Matt Hooper. Squalus is Latin for shark. On the beach when Chrissie's remains are discovered, the prop arm that was originally used looked too fake in the scene so director Steven Spielberg had a female crew member buried in the sand with only her arm exposed.

Jaws Opening Scene

Making Of Jaws

Film and Television Career

1975 Jaws as Christine Chrissie Watkins 1975 The Grizzly and the Treasure as Eve 1976 Grizzly Victim 1976 Two-Minute Warning as pretty blonde woman in crowd 1977 Day of the Animals as Mandy Young 1979 1941 as Polar Bear Woman 1981 The Great Muppet Caper as Charkie's Water Ballet Performer 1988 A Stranger in My Forest 1976 The Quest (TV) as Girl in Brawl 1978 Quark as Guard #1 for 2 episodes

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