PASSINGS: Ron Taylor, Mario Armond Zamparelli, Anne Shaw Price


Ron Taylor

Filmed shark for ‘Jaws’

Ron Taylor, 78, an Australian marine conservationist who helped film some of the dramatic underwater footage used in the classic shark thriller “Jaws,” died Sunday at a Sydney hospital after battling leukemia.


Taylor and his wife, Valerie, spent years filming great white sharks and trying to persuade a wary public that the much-feared creatures were beautiful animals worthy of respect. Their stunning up-close images of sharks drew the attention of “Jaws” director Steven Spielberg, who asked the couple to capture footage of a great white for his 1975 blockbuster.

The Taylors shot much of the movie sequence in which a shark tears apart a cage holding one of the main characters.

They filmed off South Australia, using a miniature shark-proof cage with a very short diver inside in an attempt to make the real sharks look as large as the 25-foot mechanical shark used in the movie.

Taylor, a Sydney native, had a long love affair with the ocean but started out as a spearfisherman. In the 1950s, he had a change of heart in the midst of a spearfishing competition.

“I just thought, `What am I doing down here killing these poor, defenseless marine creatures?”’ he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. in 2005. “So I just packed up, went home — didn’t even weigh my fish in — and never went back to another spearfishing competition.”

He and his wife went on to shoot several documentaries, including “Blue Water, White Death” (1971), and provide underwater footage for such feature films as “The Blue Lagoon” (1980) and “Gallipoli” (1981).

Mario Armond Zamparelli

Chief designer for Howard Hughes

Mario Armond Zamparelli, 91, an artist who created logos, images and posters for reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes’ many companies, died Saturday of heart failure, his family said. He had been a resident of La Cañada Flintridge and San Marino.

The artist, who worked in numerous styles and forms, was an illustrator for magazines in the early 1950s when Hughes came looking for someone to design posters for his RKO Pictures’ movies. What followed was an association that continued until Hughes’ death in 1976.

Zamparelli created numerous logos, images and designs for such companies as TWA, Hughes Helicopters, Hughes Aircraft and the Summa Corp. As Hughes’ chief executive designer, Zamparelli oversaw the appearance of everything on both the inside and outside of Hughes’ fleet of airplanes, as well as his Frontier Hotel, Desert Inn, Sands and Tropicana casinos in Las Vegas.

As a painter, Zamparelli created the only portrait of Hughes that the billionaire is believed to have sat for.

Zamparelli also worked as a commercial artist for other companies and as a fine artist.

Born in 1921 in New York City to Italian immigrant parents, Zamparelli showed artistic talent as a young man and studied at the Pratt Institute. He performed with an Army band in Europe during World War II.

Anne Shaw Price

Classical singer, arts benefactor

Anne Shaw Price, 89, a classically trained soprano and arts patron who with her husband, Harrison “Buzz” Price, supported local cultural organizations, died of natural causes Thursday in Pomona, her family announced.

Born Anne Shaw on Jan. 2, 1923, in Stockton, she grew up singing in church choirs. While attending Pomona College, she met her future husband, who was studying mechanical engineering at Caltech. They married in 1944 and raised four children. Her husband went on to become an internationally renowned research economist and a consultant to Walt Disney on his theme parks.

She performed as a soloist with symphony orchestras and choral groups, including the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

Besides singing with the L.A. Master Chorale, she was a founding board member and president of the organization. The Prices were also co-founders of Ryman Arts, an educational program for teenage artists. And she was a longtime trustee at her alma mater, Pomona College.

Her husband of 66 years died in 2010.

-- Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports