A Woman to Know: Eugenie Clark

I want to be remembered as a nice person who didn't hurt people — except my ex-husbands, maybe. —
Eugenie Clark

(image via National Geographic)

Eugenie Clark celebrated her 90th birthday underwater, doing what she loved most: swimming with sharks.

As a renowned scuba diver and marine biologist, Eugenie dedicated more than 50 years of her life to researching these "gangsters of the deep" — and clearing their reputations. In the wake of a "Jaws"-induced "shark panic" in the 1970s, Eugenie's work became all the more important.

She swam with sleeping sharks, mako sharks, hammerhead sharks and even 50-foot-long whale sharks. She liked to say nothing the ocean scared her, and nothing on land, either — nothing except for Obake, the long-haired ghost her Japanese mother would weave into her bedtime stories. Her colleagues nicknamed her "Shark Lady," and dozens of female marine biologists still credit her as their mentor and inspiration.

"I can't think of anything I regret," she once told a journalist. "I've had five husbands, four children. I've done it all, but mainly I've enjoyed studying fish and being underwater with them, looking at the fish and the fish looking at me."

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