You may not know Ron Taylor by name but you’ve undoubtedly seen his work.
Taylor, along with his wife Valerie, was a pioneer in underwater photography. Their work resulted in some of the most breathtaking and exciting documentaries of their time.
Some of the most memorable are “Blue Water, White Death” (1971) and National Geographic’s “Blue Wilderness” (1992).
It was Taylor’s work on the former film that got him the attention of up-and-coming Hollywood director Steven Spielberg. This resulted in Taylor filming the scene in “Jaws” where the colossal shark attacks Richard Dreyfuss’ Matt Hooper while suspended in the “protection” of a shark cage. Taylor filmed the scene off the coast of his native Australia utilizing a short stuntman and a 14-foot great white to set the movie scale version of a 26-foot long shark compared to the normal statured Hooper. This scene is one of the most famous in all of cinematic history. Taylor also worked on “Orca” (1977) and “Sky Pirates” (1986).
Although Taylor began his underwater career killing sharks–made famous in 1963’s NBC documentary Shark Hunters–in later years he and wife Valerie championed shark conservation.
Taylor died of leukemia. He was 78 years old.