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Lee Fierro, an actress known for playing Mrs. Kintner in Jaws and its 1987 sequel, has died. She was 91.
Fierro, who portrayed Alex Kintner’s (Jeffrey Voorhees) mom in the two films, died of complications from the coronavirus, Kevin Ryan, artistic director and board president for the Island Theatre Workshop, told the Martha’s Vineyard Times. The workshop was a program Fierro championed during her 40-plus years on the island. According to Ryan, Fierro taught and mentored more than 1,000 children in theater.
Fierro more recently was living in Ohio at an assisted-living facility.
“The one word I would think of when I think of Lee is dedication. I’ve watched her as a performer, director and businesswoman, 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.”
MJ Munafo, artistic director at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts, said Fierro starred in a myriad of roles at the Playhouse. “I loved her and she was an inspiration to me,” Munafo said. “She was a huge presence on the Island theater community. She worked with hundreds of young people who just adored her.”
Though Fierro didn’t have many acting credits outside of the Jaws franchise, she spent more than 25 years as artistic director of the Island Theatre Workshop and continued to assist there well into her 80s.
Voorhees, who played her young son in Jaws (1975) — he was the second shark victim in the movie — told a funny story about Fiero in a 2014 interview with Rhett Bartlett.
“At the restaurant I run [in the Martha’s Vineyard-area town where Jaws was filmed] is a sandwich called the Alex Kintner Burger, and one time this lady came in with her friend, and I recognized instantly it was my mother from the film.
“So I approached her table and said, ‘Can I ask you a very personal question — if you think this is a little odd tell me to go away — but do you believe in reincarnation? Because I think I died years ago, and you look like my mother from a previous life.’
“And Lee realized who I was and so she went along with the joke and said, ‘Oh, my God, I had a son that died years ago in the ocean!’ And everyone in the restaurant, including her friend, were just wondering what the hell was going on!”
According to the outlet, Fierro’s family will hold a small ceremony in her honor because of social distancing restrictions.
Fierro is survived by her five children: Melanie Stephens; Anthony Stephens and his wife, Jami; Doug Keeler; Dinah Hodgson and her husband, John; and Ethan Fierro; seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
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