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Film

‘Jaws’ child actor becomes chief of police in town the movie was filmed

Jonathan Searle, who played a small part as one of the children in the classic movie Jaws, has been selected to become the police chief of the town in which the movie was filmed.

The Steven Spielberg classic was shot in the town of Oak Bluffs in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, in 1974 and was released the following year. Police chief Searle and his real-life brother Steven portray the two children who stage a hoax using a false shark fin to prank the people of the fictional town of Amity. 

Searle has been a part of the town’s police force since 1985. In 2008, his career seemed to mimic his role in the film, when, according to NBC Philadelphia, he was involved in charging a man with disorderly conduct after lying about the presence of sharks in the area.

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In 2019, the Edgartown Police Department to which Searle belongs paid tribute to his role in Jaws in a social media post marking the film’s 44th anniversary. “Anytime we can show off the fact that Sgt. Searle was in Jaws is a good day!!” the post read.

Searle’s promotion to chief was confirmed last week following a 3:1 vote in his favour amongst the competition of two other candidates. “I’m clearly elated, and I’m humbled and honoured to have been offered the position,” Searle told The Vineyard Gazette. “It’s something I’ve been working toward my whole career.”

When asked by The New York Post about his journey from acting in Jaws to becoming a police chief, Searle commented: “I’m finding the whole thing quite funny myself!”

Elsewhere, it was reported in 2021 that director Spielberg declined the offer from Universal for a Jaws reboot. A recent Deadline article that detailed Spielberg’s forthcoming production deal with Netflix revealed that the question had arisen on several occasions in recent years and the answer would always be “a firm no”.