Artist Roger Kastel, whose painting of a shark menacing a swimmer was used for an iconic movie poster for the 1975 film “Jaws,” died Nov. 8. He was 82.
Kastel died of kidney and heart failure at a hospice facility in Worcester, Massachusetts, his wife, Grace, told The Hollywood Reporter.
In addition to his “Jaws” artwork, which was also used as the paperback cover for Peter Benchley’s novel of the same name, Kastel also created posters for “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980), “Doctor Faustus” (1967) and “The Great Train Robbery” (1978), according to Deadline.
“Jaws” was originally published by Doubleday in February 1974, and the artwork for the hardback edition was produced by artist Paul Bacon, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
For the Bantam Books paperback edition, Kastel tweaked Bacon’s image, making the shark more menacing. He told the story in the documentary about the making of the film, “The Shark is Still Working,” adding that he got his inspiration after visiting the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
“I said, ‘Do you have a shark exhibit in the building?’ (The employee) said, ‘Yes we do,’ but they were all down. They were refurbishing, cleaning them,” Kastel said. “All the sharks were laying on easels. And so I had my camera with me. I knew what position I wanted the shark in, and there was this great white that they had laying on an easel; I guess they were dusting it. And that’s what I worked from.”
Kastel used a model he was photographing at a Good Housekeeping photo shoot to portray the swimmer, getting her to simulate a front crawl while she was on a stool, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Kastel also illustrated book covers for “East of Eden,” “Hollywood Wives” and “The Invisible Man,” Deadline reported.
Kastel was born in White Plains, New York in 1931, according to the entertainment news website. After graduating from White Plains High School, he attended the Art Students League in New York City until serving in the U.S. Navy for four years during the Korean War.
Kastel’s first paying job as an artist came when he was 15, as he created industrial cartoons, Deadline reported.
In addition to his wife, survivors include their children, Beth and Matthew, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
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