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Roy Richard Scheider (November 10, 1932 – February 10, 2008) was an American actor. He was best known for his role as police chief Martin Brody in Jaws, as choreographer and film director Joe Gideon in All That Jazz, and as detective Buddy Russo in The French Connection. Scheider's final performance is to be released posthumously in the 2010 thriller Iron Cross.

Early life

Scheider was born in Orange, New Jerseymarker, the son of Anna Scheider (née Crosson) and auto mechanic Roy Bernhard Scheider. Scheider's mother was of Irish Catholic background and his father was German American and Protestant. As a child, Scheider was an athlete, participating in organized baseball and boxing competitions. He attended Columbia High Schoolmarker in Maplewood, New Jerseymarker, and was inducted into the school's hall of fame in 1985. He traded his boxing gloves for the stage, studying drama at both Rutgers Universitymarker and Franklin and Marshall Collegemarker, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. After three years in the United States Air Force, he appeared with the New York Shakespeare Festival, and won an Obie Award in 1968. Scheider played running roles on two CBS soap operas, "Love of Life" and "The Secret Storm."

Film career

Scheider's first film role was in the 1963 horror film Curse of the Living Corpse. (He was billed as "Roy R. Sheider"). In 1971, he appeared in two highly popular movies, Klute and The French Connection; the latter, in which he played a fictionalized version of New York City detective Sonny Grosso, garnered him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His first starring role came in 1973 in The Seven-Ups, a quasi-follow-up to The French Connection, in which Scheider's character is once again based on Grosso. Two years later, he portrayed Chief Martin Brody in the Hollywood blockbuster Jaws which also starred Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss. Scheider's famous movie line, "You're gonna need a bigger boat", which was actually ad-libbed by Scheider, was voted 35th on the American Film Institute's list of best movie quotes. In 1976, he appeared as secret agent Doc Levy in Marathon Man, with Dustin Hoffman (as his younger brother) and Laurence Olivier. Scheider reunited with French Connection director William Friedkin in the box-office flop Sorcerer, a remake of the 1953 French film Le Salaire de la peur .

He was originally cast as Michael (Robert DeNiro's role) in The Deer Hunter, the second movie of a three-movie deal with Universal Studios. However, despite being under contract, Scheider dropped out of the production before filming. Universal therefore offered him the option of reprising his role as Martin Brody for a Jaws sequel, and would consider his contractual obligations fulfilled if he accepted. Scheider accepted and Jaws 2 was released in 1978, though it was not a happy production for Scheider, who came into conflict with the film's director Jeannot Szwarc. In 1979, four years after he appeared in Jaws, he received his second Academy Award nomination, this time as Best Actor in All That Jazz, in which he played a fictionalized version of the film's director Bob Fosse.

In 1983, he starred in Blue Thunder, a John Badham film about a fictitious technologically advanced prototype attack helicopter which was to be used as security over the city of Los Angelesmarker during the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. This was followed by a role as Dr. Heywood Floyd in Peter Hyams' 2010, a 1984 sequel to Stanley Kubrick's 1968 science fiction classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which William Sylvester originated the role of Floyd. One of his later parts was that of Dr. Benway in the long-in-production 1991 film adaptation of William S. Burroughs' novel Naked Lunch. In 1990 he co-starred with Sean Connery in The Russia House as the smart-talking CIA liason with the British MI6marker.

Among his most later films, he appeared as the crusty father of hero Frank Castle in The Punisher (2004), and in 2007, starred in The Poet and If I Didn't Care. When Scheider died in February 2008, he had two movies upcoming: Dark Honeymoon, which had been completed, and British thriller Iron Cross. In Iron Cross, the late actor plays the leading role of Joseph, a holocaust survivor with a propensity for justice, which was inspired by Director Joshua Newton’s late father Bruno Newton. Iron Cross is in post-production and slated for 2010 release.

Other work

In 1993, Scheider signed on to be the lead star in the Steven Spielberg-produced television series SeaQuest DSV as Captain Nathan Bridger. During the second season, Scheider voiced disdain for the direction in which the series was heading. His comments were highly publicized, and the media criticized him for panning his own show. NBC made additional casting and writing changes in the third season, and Scheider decided to exit the show. His contract, however, required that he make several guest appearances that season. He also repeatedly guest-starred on the NBC television series Third Watch as fictional character Fyodor Chevchenko.

Scheider hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live in the tenth (1984–1985) season (musical guest: Billy Ocean) and appeared on the Family Guy episode "Bill and Peter's Bogus Journey," voicing himself as the host of a toilet-training video (portions of which were censored on FOX and syndicated broadcast). Scheider also did voicework on the Family Guy episode Three Kings (which was recorded in September 2007 but aired in May 2009, a year and three months after his death in February 2008) which also featured his Jaws co-star Richard Dreyfuss. Scheider guest-starred in sixth-season episode Endgame of Law & Order: Criminal Intent TV series as serial-killer, death-row-inmate Mark Ford Brady, a crucial role in that the character Brady is later revealed to be the father of one of the series' central characters.

Scheider narrated and served as associate producer of the 2006 Jaws documentary The Shark is Still Working.

In 2007, Scheider received one of two annually-presented Lifetime Achievement Awards at the SunDeis Film Festival in Waltham, Massachusettsmarker. (Academy Award winner Patricia Neal was the recipient of the other).

Personal life

Scheider's first marriage was to Cynthia Bebout on November 8, 1962. The couple had one daughter, Maximillia, before divorcing in 1989. On February 11, 1989, he married actress Brenda King, with whom he had a son, Christian, and a daughter, Molly aka Kiki. They remained married until his death.

Death

In 2004, Scheider was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. In June 2005, he underwent a bone marrow transplant to treat the cancer. Scheider died on February 10, 2008 in Little Rock, Arkansas, at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Hospital.

Filmography



References

External links




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