Susan Backlinie has died at the age of 77.

The actress and stuntwoman is best remembered for portraying the young woman who goes for a late-night ocean swim only to be eaten by a shark in the opening scene of the 1975 thriller but she passed away on Saturday (May 11) at her home in California, her agent Matthew Templeton has confirmed.

He told The Daily Jaws: "It is with heartfelt regret to confirm our beloved Susan passed away this morning. We would like to thank everyone for their condolences at this time. Please respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time."

For her brief but memorable appearance as Chrissie Watkins in the Steven Spielberg-directed epic,which was based on the book by Peter Benchley and follows three men as they try to hunt and kill the shark that is terrorizing and killing residents of a small New England town, Susan, a nationally-ranked swimmer, spent three days on set and was secured into a harness to film the scene in which her character is eaten alive.

Jeffrey Kramer, who played Deputy Lee Hendricks in the film, was one of the first to pay tribute to his co-star.

He said: "Susan was a kind, soul and loving soul and will be sorely missed by the Jaws community. She has a special place in our hearts!"

Susan, who is survived by her husband Harvey Swindall, later made appearances in The Grizzly and the Treasure, 1941 and Day of the Animals, but has not appeared on screen since she appeared in an episode of The Fall Guy in 1982.

After making her screen debut in Jaws, she posed naked for the cover of Mayfair in 1977 and spent her years after retiring from the spotlight appearing at fan conventions dedicated to the cult classic.

Last year, Steven Spielberg recalled that he was more inclined to put a trained stuntwoman into the role because he needed someone who could endure the "violent shaking" that would be required on set.

In the book Spielberg: The First Ten Years, he said: "I didn’t want an actor to do it. I wanted a stuntperson because I needed somebody who was great in the water, who knew water ballet and knew how to endure what I imagined was going to be a whole lot of violent shaking.

"So, I went to stunts to find her, and Susan was up to the challenge."

Celebrities Who Died in 2024

RIP to these stars who passed away in 2024.

Gallery Credit: Jacklyn Krol

More From 106.9 KROC-FM