Age: 63 (deceased)
Played by: Craig Kingsbury
Ben Gardner was a local fisherman on Amity Island, and became a well known figure following the infamous 'Amity Incident' in 1973.
In the film depiction of the incident released in 1975, he was the first person on the dock to greet Oceanographer Matthew Hooper.
The Amity Incident
As a seasoned fisherman of game fish in the region, Gardner had hoped to collect the reward for catching the rogue shark that had plagued the Island of Amity in the summer of 1973. The ensuing frenzy to win the bounty offered by a Mrs. Kintner, created a disorganized 'shark posse' armada with Gardner leading the pack. Sometime late in the afternoon or evening of the first day out in search of his quarry, a large great white shark attacks Gardner's boat, 'Flicka'. Bite marks on the gunwale and hull found by visiting oceanographer, Matt Hooper during a subsequent investigation, indicated the attack was both brutal and relentless.
APD POLICE REPORT:
Dr. Mathew Hooper stated in a subsequent APD police report that he initially saw a sharks tooth stuck in the wrecked hull of the boat. And when attempting to remove the tooth, Ben's presumed severed head suddenly appeared causing him to fumble and drop it into the murky water below. The head was however not mentioned by Hooper to the Mayor during a well publicized dispute.
This attack unfortunately did little to convince the Mayor to close the beaches, or prevent further resulting attacks that summer. The head was later discovered as the boat was towed in, and it was determined to in fact be the remains of Mr. Benjamin Gardner.
Ben's First Mate
Gardner's first mate onboard when the boat was attacked, was initially listed as missing, but was later found by deputy Hendricks curled under a table at a local Island bar, soaked in boat fuel, and whiskey. Too frightened to recall the attack, Ben's first mate was of little help to the investigation, and was later sent to Smith's Grove Sanatarium in Illinois.
The boat was green when Ben was with his friends hunting the shark, but when Martin and Matt saw the boat wrecked, it was dark blue.
The boat was then later painted plain white and placed on display at Universal Studios in Hollywood. It disappeared in 2005. Some believe it was due to fearful requests from night shift workers at USH who were certain they'd seen the aparition of Ben Gardner trawling the lake.