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‘Jaws’ child actor named police chief on Martha’s Vineyard, where movie was filmed 50 years ago

“I’m finding the whole thing quite funny myself!” said Jonathan Searle, 56, who is stepping into the real-life role of the movie’s top cop

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By Will Katcher

EDGARTOWN, Mass. — As a boy, Jonathan Searle appeared in an iconic scene of a timeless movie — swimming with a fake dorsal fin to spook beachgoers in the fictional town of Amity Island in “Jaws.”


Sgt. Jonathan Searle was recently named the next Chief of Police in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, a town on Martha’s Vineyard where ‘Jaws’ was filmed. Searle appeared in the movie as a child actor.

Vineyard Gazette, Facebook

Nearly 50 years later, Searle will become a police chief on Martha’s Vineyard, the same island where Steven Spielberg filmed his classic 1975 marine horror flick.

The town select board in Oak Bluffs voted this week to name Searle, an Edgartown police sergeant, as their next police chief, according to the Vineyard Gazette. When he succeeds the retiring police chief at the end of June, Searle will step into the real-life role of the fictional Martin Brody, Amity’s top cop in the movie.

“I’m finding the whole thing quite funny myself!” Searle, 56, told the New York Post.

With the possibility of a killer shark roaming the waters off Amity Island, the town’s residents and leaders were on high alert July 4 weekend.

In his one scene in “Jaws,” Searle and his brother played a pair of fictional brothers who swam through the shallow waters off an Amity beach with a fake dorsal fin sticking out of the ocean above them. As they approached the shore, the panicked swimmers rushed from the surf. The boys emerged beneath the waves to find Amity’s police force training guns on them, only to realize the incident had been a prank.

Searle grew up on Martha’s Vineyard, the son of a former Edgartown police chief, and has served in the department since 1986, the Gazette said.

“I’m clearly elated and I’m humbled and honored to have been offered the position,” Searle told the paper. “It’s something I’ve been working toward my whole career.”

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