Peter Benchley (1940-2006) was an American author best known for writing the novel Jaws and cowriting the screenplay for its highly successful film adaptation. The success of the book led to many publishers commissioning books about mutant rats, rabid dogs, and the like threatening communities. The subsequent film directed by Steven Spielberg is generally acknowledged as the first summer blockbuster. Benchley also wrote The Deep and The Island, which were also adapted into films, and several other novels. A champion of conservation, he was a compelling author for shark fans and foes alike.