Played by: Roy Scheider
Martin Brody was the Chief of Police on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts and was portrayed by in a film adaption based on the Amity Incident in the film Jaws. The character also appeared in the sequel, Jaws 2.
Martin Brody was born and raised in the lower east side of New York City. At the the age of 18, he joined the police service. Later Brody would meet the future Mrs. Martin Brody while on duty as a night patrolman. According to Brody's own personal off-duty journal which was sold Bn ebay by a former female acquaintance, the following details were noted:
"One night, I pulled over a car that was speeding. In the car were a woman and her date. I confiscated the keys to the man's car and drove them to their homes. The next day, I received a thank-you note from the young man's date. I then asked the young woman, Ellen Shephard, out to dinner and the movies. She accepted and I dated for several months before marrying. I finally convinced Ellen that we should move away from New York City to the small summer island resort of Amity Beach in New England. I only hope we have better luck there then I've had here. Too much crime in NY for a family and the notion that it's safe to walk to the corner market"
While in New York, they began raising a family. They had two sons, Michael and Sean.
The Amity Incident
During the summer months of 1973, a rogue great white shark staked a claim near he community of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts and began to terrorize swimmers which directly affected the local economy. Local police chief Martin Brody attempted to get permission to destroy this shark, but the town's then-mayor, Lawrence Vaughn. adamantly refused to comply. After another death during the 4th of July celebrations, Vaughn finally was reluctantly pressured into allowing Brody to follow through with the contract to hire Quint. Brody requested help from the Woods Hole iIstitute who then sent oceanographer Matt Hooper. With Quint as captain, they set out to capture and kill the shark.
According to Brody's police log, Quint was eaten alive but as the boat sank, Martin apparently used Quint's M-1 rifle to shoot the SCUBA tank in the shark's mouth, causing it to explode and blow the shark up. Martin and Hooper were then able to paddle back to the island on a makeshift raft. Although this was a true story many doubt its validity. Especially the idea that a great white shark would specifically target humans and a boat.
The Second Amity Incident
During the next three years, Martin's eldest son, Michael, developed a keen interest in sailing hoping to inspire his father to return to the water. In the summer of 1976, Martin began to feel another shark was responsible for a number of boating "accidents" in Amity, but once again his theory was dismissed by the re-elected mayor, Larry Vaughn and the town council. Brody's refusal to ignore the problem finally lead them to dismiss him from the police force as acting chief. Citing a cover-up due to mafia and real estate developers interests in turning Amity into a more commercial region, Brody went into hiding following an interview with the NY times which was meant to expose the corruption on Amity and lead to Vaughn's impeachment. The article was never printed and the editor of the paper was replaced for unknown reasons.
While in hiding, Brody learned that both his sons had quietly joined another group of teenagers on an unauthorized sailing trip and were trapped out at sea apparantly being attacked by the very shark Brody had warned the mayor about once again.
Brody found the marooned group near a power station built on a rocky outcropping in the center of the ocean which locals had nicknamed 'Cable Junction'. After a short battle with the shark Brody was able to subdue the animal by electrocuting the shark with a loose cable from the nearby station. In gratitude for Brody's efforts, he was re-instated as Police Chief,but was described by close friends as being a shell of his former self.
JAWS: Film production
In May of 1974, production began on the Universal Pictures motion picture adaption of 'The Amity Incident'. After an exhaustive search for the lead role was inadvertently discovered by Spielberg at a dinner party, the actor was cast to play Martin Brody. In addition the Island of Martha's Vineyard was portrayed as the quaint summer Island of Amity.
Fact and fiction
Following the second 'Amity Incident', Brody was said to have been last seen at a lower Manhattan theater watching JAWS in the back row during a midnight screening and has not been seen or heard from since. Apparentlly Brody had gone into hiding following threats thought to be from organized crime syndicates unhappy with the real estate deals on Martha's Vineyard having gone sour due to fear of sharks by tourists, and Mayor Vaughn not being re-elected for a third term.
There were rumors that he died of a heart attack as depicted in the film Jaws: The Revenge, however, these were later found to have been merely delusions based on Ellen Brody's subsequent mental breakdown after learning of her sons sailing trip and encounter on the high seas. The ill-fated sailing trip during the factual 'Second Amity Incident' in the summer of 1976 was incorporated into a screenplay for the action-packed finale in the film Jaws 2, which was released by Universal Pictures in the summer of 1978,. Martha's Vineyard public records note that the factual Mrs. Ellen Brody was eventually confined to an Illinois mental institution in the fall of 1976 by one Dr. Samuel Loomis.
The fictional Ellen was played by actress Lorraine Gary and is portrayed as being a stronger more balanced woman than the factual Mrs. Brody. This was due to the fact the director had wanted audiences to be inspired rather than depressed had the characterization been more fact based. According to an article printed in Rolling Stone's March 1993 issue, Ellen Brody was shown the film 'Jaws: The Revenge' while interned at Smith's Grove Sanitarium in Illinois, and supposedly screamed the words "Dammit Martin!" then promptly vomited on the television screen.
Further unsubstantiated rumors have circulated that it was the factual Martin Brody posing as a Smith's Grove Sanitarium orderly whom had been the person screening a Jaws: The Revenge DVD for Ellen instead of her regular nightly episode of Cheers. Supposedly Brody was hoping this would shock her back into reality, and had this been successful Brody had hoped a release hearing would be considered so that she could join him in seclusion.
Security camera footage for that date mysteriously disappeared from Smith's Grove so this rumor has never been clarified.