Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw Biography

Robert Shaw

Robert Archibald Shaw was a versatile and accomplished actor, playwright, screenwriter, and author. Born on August 9, 1927, in Westhoughton, Lancashire, Shaw’s early years were spent in the theatre, where he honed his craft and established himself as a talented performer.

Robert Shaw’s first big break came in 1946 when he appeared as Angus in a production of Macbeth at Stratford. This was followed by a series of successful roles in TV and film, including small parts in The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), The Dam Busters (1955), and A Hill in Korea (1956).

Shaw’s star rose even higher when he was cast as the lead in the TV series The Buccaneers (1956–57), where he played Captain Dan Tempest. This was followed by more lead roles in TV films such as Success (1957) and Rupert of Hentzau (1957). He also made a big impact on the West End stage with The Long and the Short and the Tall (1959).


In 1961, Robert Shaw made his Broadway debut in Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker, and soon after, he became global name as a film actor after being cast as assassin Donald ‘Red’ Grant in the second James Bond film, From Russia with Love (1963). He went on to play a variety of roles in film and television, including Colonel Hessler in Battle of the Bulge (1965), Martin Luther in Luther (1968), and the shark-obsessed fisherman Quint in Jaws (1975).

Robert Shaw was also a talented writer, with his first novel, The Hiding Place (1960), receiving positive reviews. He went on to win the Hawthornden Prize in 1962 for his second novel, The Sun Doctor (1961). His play The Man in the Glass Booth (1967) was a hit on both London West End, and New York’s Broadway stages.

Shaw was married three times and had 10 children, two of whom were adopted. He died at the age of 51 from a heart attack on August 28, 1978, while driving from Castlebar, County Mayo, to his home in Tourmakeady.