Sunday, 9 September 2012

Ron Taylor, My Hero.

On the back of the wonderful news in my last blog, I am incredibly sad to hear the news today that my hero, the pioneer of shark film-making, the greatest of them all, Ron Taylor has passed away after suffering with Leukaemia for the last two years.

It is no secret to anybody who knows me or who has spent time with me that Ron and Valerie Taylor are in a group of maybe four or five people who I hold in higher regard than anybody else, the people whom I have looked to in my life for inspiration and influence not only on my professional life, but in how to be as a person.

Make no mistake, if there was no Ron Taylor, there would be no "From the Office to the Ocean," both Ron and Valerie have been the single biggest influence on my career and love for sharks since I first saw "Realm of the Shark" aged seven. By then I had been in love with sharks for four years and in Ron and Valerie, I found somewhere I could gain inspiration and learn as much about sharks as possible. I have no shame or embarrassment to say today what I said back then, "I want to be just like Ron Taylor," I will always want to be like Ron but I know all too well that he was a one off, I can only hope to try my best to maintain the message he brought to the world, to respect our underwater world, to protect it and to teach people about the importance of all life living in the world's oceans.

Ron Taylor's contribution to the world cannot be overestimated. Ron Taylor was the first to film Great White Sharks underwater, Ron Taylor came up with the idea and along with Jeremiah Sullivan, developed the mesh suit, Ron Taylor filmed the live shark scenes in JAWS, Ron Taylor helped film the greatest shark sequence ever filmed, the first shark protection laws came into place because of the efforts of Ron and Valerie and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

I never met Ron, it will now always be an unfulfilled dream and where I could tell the story of Ron Taylor, I feel it better to leave that to the people who knew him, I am merely one of the many people whose lives have been touched by the king of shark related film-making. The letters sent to a nine year old me by Ron and Valerie and the book they sent about the first experiments with the mesh suits (seen in my hands in this pic) are amongst my most prized possessions but the greatest thing Ron Taylor did for me was teach me that you could get close to and film sharks and that those films could inspire generations of people to love sharks in the way he and Valerie do. I have always aimed to try my best to offer a continuation to their work, partly as a way of thanks for the inspiration they gave me.

Millions of people will have a sense of loss with the passing of Ron but nothing will compare to that being felt by Valerie. It's not for me to try and quantify that or tell you about their time together but it's impossible to think of one without the other, they were always just, Ron and Valerie and to me, even with Ron's passing, they will always be Ron and Valerie.

Over the coming days you will read many tributes to the great man and the most moving will be from those who knew him best, my friend Mike Neumann is a close friend of Ron and Valerie's and he would speak of Ron with glowing respect, admiration and no shortage of love, it's not just the people like me from all around the world who looked up to Ron, his close friends also looked up to him, He was that good at what he did and I am reliably informed he was a true gentleman to boot.

All I can say now is to pass on my deepest sympathies to Valerie and Ron's close friends and family, the world has lost a giant of the underwater world.

Like the title of this blog says, Ron Taylor, my hero.

Edit: As I say above about the best tributes coming from those who knew Ron, please take the to read the pieces here, here and here

Ron Taylor - March 8th 1934 - September 9th 2012


Anonymous said...

Standing in my English kitchen reading your eloquent words. Crying for the loss of this wonderful man I never met. Ron and Valerie were my childhood heroes and icons of my adulthood.

The Sharkman said...

A very sad day. Just like you, Ron was my life long inspiration. said...

Even for me were both heroes of my childhood.
Ron and Valerie have done so much for the research and protection of sharks but also for the development of diving and equipment.
Sorry for the delayed entry.