In perhaps her most memorable scene, Fierro’s character slaps Chief Brody after learning he had known that a shark was lurking in the water but had allowed people to swim anyway.
Kevin Ryan, board president for the Island Theatre Workshop that was championed by Fierro, informed the Martha’s Vineyard Times of her death. He remembered her as a dedicated performer, director, businesswoman and mentor.
“The one word I would think of when I think of Lee is dedication,” he said. “I’ve watched her as a performer, director and businesswoman, and then we became friends. She was my teacher and mentor.
“I would still call Lee for artistic discussion and commentary… She was fiercely dedicated to the mission of teaching. She, no matter what it was, would stay at it and get the job done.”
In a report on Fierro’s death, The Hollywood Reporter cited a funny story about an encounter with her on-screen son, Jeffrey Voorhees, after the film was released.
“At the restaurant I run [in the Martha’s Vineyard-area town where Jaws was filmed] is a sandwich called the Alex Kintner Burger, and one time this lady came in with her friend, and I recognised instantly it was my mother from the film,” Voorhees said.
“So I approached her table and said, ‘Can I ask you a very personal question — if you think this is a little odd tell me to go away — but do you believe in reincarnation? Because I think I died years ago, and you look like my mother from a previous life.’
“And Lee realized who I was and so she went along with the joke and said, ‘Oh, my God, I had a son that died years ago in the ocean!’ And everyone in the restaurant, including her friend, were just wondering what the hell was going on!”
According to The Times, a small ceremony will be held in Fierro’s honour by her family due to current social distancing restrictions.
Fierro is survived by her five children, seven grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.