How much money did Robert Shaw earn for Jaws? Very little it turns out. Shaw didn’t take home a penny for his immortal role of Quint. Here’s why.
Trouble With The Law
It’s easy to flatten Robert Shaw’s career into his one role in Jaws, but that would be doing him a severe disservice. He was an Academy Award nominee for his role in A Man for All Seasons, memorably popped up as a sucker in The Sting, and even fought James Bond in From Russia With Love.
Shaw was also a heavy drinker who had 10 children in his lifetime. He died of a heart attack only three years after Jaws was released. When he died, his estate was worth $766,865 after adjusting for inflation, which is shockingly low considering how high-profile of a performer he was.
Why Didn’t He Have Money?
In a tale familiar to everyone from Al Capone to Willie Nelson, Shaw owed a lot of money to the IRS. According to IMDB, Shaw earned about $500,000 for his role in Jaws, but all of that money went to the government to help pay off his tax debts. He craftily tried to avoid this by commuting from Canada, but he’d receive no such luck.
Shaw struggled with taxes his entire life. He once recounted, “I don’t spend much on myself, maybe a drink. And I like to travel and stay at really fine hotels. I have an interest in fast cars, and I now have a Mercedes 450SL, but it’s not like before when I owned Rolls Royce convertibles and Aston Martins. Of course, the tax situation in Britain is impossible.” Those pesky taxes really are how they’ll get you.
Tax Trouble Abounds
Tax trouble runs rampant to this day. USA star Todd Chrisley would apparently brag about not paying his fair share, only to meet the ire of Uncle Sam. Chris Tucker, once one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors, nearly lost his career thanks to a $14 million tax bill.
From time to time, taxes even come up in the tabloids. A rumor floated around last year that Prince Harry would move back to England so he could avoid paying U.S. taxes. That simply did not happen, and he’s still in the United States to this day. Shaw may not have brought home the bacon for his role in Jaws, but the role did make him immortal for fans and buffs alike.