Lee Fierro, the actress best recognised for her role as Mrs. Kintner in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 Jaws, has died at the age of 91 after suffering complications once she contracted coronavirus.
Fierro, who had been had been living off-Island on a Massachusetts island, Martha’s Vineyard, for more than 40 years, was said to be at an assisted care facility in Ohio when she died.
According to close friends, Fierro will be remembered her as “the dedicated, vibrant matriarch of the Island’s robust theatre scene,” according to The Martha’s Vineyard Times.
Kevin Ryan, artistic director and board president for Island Theatre Workshop, said: “The one word I would think of when I think of Lee is dedication. I’ve watched her as a performer, director and business woman and then we became friends. She was my teacher and mentor,” Ryan said. “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’s character in the film, who was the mother to shark victim Alex Kintner, is best remembered for the moment she she walks up to police chief Brody and slaps him in a memorable scene.
He added: “I really want to make sure people remember there was more to Lee Fierro than that one scene, though she really did steal that scene from a lot of big actors,” he said. “I want people to remember that she helped to build a community company that after 52 years is still here. As they’re closing around the country, we’re still here and that’s because of Lee Fierro’s dedication.”
Novelist Nicki Galland also paid tribute to Fierro, describing the actor as her second mother: “I wouldn’t have gotten through my teen years without her,” said Galland. “She’s the reason I followed my dreams. That’s such a hackneyed phrase, but it’s true. This is going to stick with me for a long time.”
The ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease was first officially identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei in China. As of April 6th, more than 1,276,732 cases of COVID-19 have been officially confirmed but the actual number is thought to be much higher due to substantial under-reporting of cases.
With more than 69,529 people having died from the virus, COVID-19 has now spread into more than 180 other countries—including mainland Europe, South America and many more. Given the exponential growth in cases in countries like Italy, Spain, Germany, France and the UK, the WHO stated that Europe became the epicentre of the pandemic after the strict lockdown in China saw reduced numbers. Now, however, as the virus continues to spread aggressively across The United States—who have more confirmed cases than any other country—the epicentre of coronavirus is expected to be officially changed to North America.