Roy Scheider


Actor
Roy Scheider

About

Also Known As
Roy Richard Scheider, Roy R Sheider
Birth Place
Orange, New Jersey
Born
November 10, 1932
Died
February 10, 2008

Biography

Oscar nominee Roy Scheider rose to fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s with a string of soulful, streetwise supporting performances in hits like "Klute" (1971) and "The French Connection" (1971). He quickly graduated to leading man status on the strength of his turn as Amity police chief and reluctant shark hunter, Martin Brody, in Steven Spielberg's blockbuster "Jaws" (1975). Though ...

Photos & Videos

Family & Companions

Cynthia Scheider
Wife
Film editor. Married on November 8, 1962; divorced in 1989.
Brenda King
Wife
Documentary filmmaker. Married c. 1989.

Bibliography

"Bob Fosse's Broadway"
Margery Beddow and Roy Scheider, Heinemann (1996)

Notes

"Roy Scheider may be as close as one can get to being a "tabula rasa" actor; he brings his role nothing of himself except his physical frame--some sinews, a profile. In "Jaws", as the tenderfoot from the big city who was openly afraid of everything to do with the water, he was an amusingly sane Everyman. And in Bob Fosse's fantasy autobiography "All That Jazz" he was taut and jumpy--strung out. Dressed in black and wearing an extra-pointy Vandyke on his pointy chin, he looked like Basil Rathbone as Robin Hood's enemy Sir Guy of Gisbourne, and he made you feel you were watching Fosse himself. It wasn't an impersonation; it was as if Fosse had taken over his body, from the inside. That's the only role in which Scheider had an exciting presence, and it wasn't his; we seemed to be looking right through him to Fosse ... " --Pauline Kael reviewing Robert Benton's "Still of the Night" in The New Yorker, December 13, 1982.

"There are, I think, three essential attributes every actor should have. ... One is intelligence, but not too much, just enough to make good choices. The audience wants to see the actor's emotion, not his intellect. Two is a certain physical grace, regardless of character, and three is an enormous child-like belief in the make-believe." --Roy Scheider quoted in the press notes for "52 Pick-Up".

Biography

Oscar nominee Roy Scheider rose to fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s with a string of soulful, streetwise supporting performances in hits like "Klute" (1971) and "The French Connection" (1971). He quickly graduated to leading man status on the strength of his turn as Amity police chief and reluctant shark hunter, Martin Brody, in Steven Spielberg's blockbuster "Jaws" (1975). Though he enjoyed a successful run in top-notch pictures like "Marathon Man" (1977), and showed impressive range as a pill-popping choreographer in Bob Fosse's autobiographical, "All That Jazz" (1979), Scheider's career waned in the late 1980s and into the 1990s. He turned to television in 1993, with Spielberg's sci-fi/adventure series "Seaquest DSV" (NBC, 1993-96), and appeared regularly in films and on television until his surprising death in 2008 from blood cancer.

Born Roy Richard Scheider in Orange, NJ on Nov. 10, 1932, he suffered from bouts of rheumatic fever as a boy, so turned to sports to rebuild his strength. Baseball and boxing proved to be his favorites; with the latter also contributing to his uniquely weathered look when his nose was broken during a Golden Gloves bout in his home state. Scheider intended to pursue a legal career after studies at Rutgers and then Franklin and Marshall College, but the schools' drama programs proved too alluring for him. After graduating, he served in the Air Force for three years, but returned to the stage, where a performance in "Richard III" attracted the attention of producer Joseph Papp. He then launched a decade-long career as a stage actor, which was broken by occasional appearances on daytime soap operas - including "The Edge of Night" (ABC/CBS, 1956-1984 - television dramas and even a low-budget horror film, 1964's "The Curse of the Living Corpse," for which he was billed as Roy R. Scheider. In 1968, he won an Obie Award for his performance in "Stephen D."

By the late 1960s, Scheider was landing supporting roles in major features like "Stilleto" (1969) and "Puzzle of a Downfall Child" (1970), but it was his appearance as call girl Jane Fonda's pimp/husband in "Klute" (1971) that brought him to the attention of critics and audiences. That same year, he landed the choice part of Buddy Russo, partner to hot-wired detective Popeye Doyle in William Friedkin's hit action-drama "The French Connection" (1971). As Russo, Scheider lent a touch of humanity to the film's high octane action pieces, and he was rewarded with an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

The success of "Connection" and the Oscar nod assured Scheider of regular work in tough guy roles for the next few years, most notably in "The Seven-Ups" (1973), an underrated crime drama from "French Connection" producer Philip D'Antoni. Two years later, he was tapped to star in a film version of Peter Benchley's best-selling thriller "Jaws" by up-and-coming director Steven Spielberg. The film's white-knuckle scenes of pursuit at sea were its chief attraction, but Scheider's performance as a (literally) queasy everyman locked in combat with an unstoppable force of nature gave "Jaws" (1976) an extra level of humanity that helped to seal its status as an enduring favorite with moviegoers and the first real summer blockbuster that literally scared people out of the water that year - to say nothing of the fact that Scheider's utterance of one simple line - "You're gonna need a bigger boat" - was later voted one of the top movie lines (#35) in the history of cinema by the American Film Institute.

Despite the worldwide success of "Jaws," Scheider's star status was never set in stone; he enjoyed a second hit as Dustin Hoffman's CIA operative brother in "Marathon Man" (1976), but "Sorcerer" (1977) - a remake of the French suspense classic "The Wages of Fear" (1953) by "French Connection" director William Friedkin - was a substantial failure (and a personal one for Scheider, who was angered by Friedkin's decision to eliminate a subplot that showed his convict character in a more sympathetic light). He also made the unfortunate decision to abandon the lead role in "The Deer Hunter" (1978) over script conflicts left him in a bind to Universal Studios, who forced him to honor his three-picture contract by reprising Chief Brody for the vastly inferior "Jaws II" (1978). A rare shot at a romantic lead in Jonathan Demme's Hitchcock tribute "Last Embrace" (1979) also found few takers at the box office.

Scheider broke with his established screen image to give a bravura performance as Broadway producer and film director Joe Gideon, whose overextended life gets its own show-stopping curtain call in Bob Fosse's semi-autobiographical "All That Jazz" (1979). Scheider threw himself into the workhorse role, which included several musical numbers, earning himself a second Oscar nomination for his efforts. Unfortunately, Scheider was unable to capitalize on the picture's critical success, and "Jazz" would remain his last notable starring role.

For much of the 1980s, Scheider was the highlight of numerous uninspired Hollywood features. He enjoyed a big hit with John Badham's action thriller "Blue Thunder" (1983), but his world-weary turn as a police helicopter pilot was overshadowed by the film's primary special effect, a futuristic attack chopper. Peter Hyams' "2010: The Year We Make Contact" (1984) gave him a sizable lead in a high-profile picture - being that it was the long-awaited sequel to 1968's "2001: A Space Odyssey" - but the picture simply could not meet the high standards of the Stanley Kubrick original. There were a few highlights along the way - John Frankenheimer's "52 Pick-Up" (1986) was a gritty nod to classic noir that cast Scheider as an architect who finds himself at the center of a blackmail plot, and Paul Schrader tapped him to lend his gravelly voice to the American version of "Mishima" (1985), his biopic of the tragic Japanese novelist. But by the end of the eighties, Scheider was marking time in substandard independent features; one such film, 1989's "Night Game," earned the distinction for being the lowest-grossing movie of that year.

Despite the downward turn in his career, Scheider remained active in his private life; specifically in the Sag Harbor community of New York, where he resided, helping to fund a school there. The early 1990s saw Scheider settling into character roles, with the best of these being Doctor Benway, the perverse inventor of an addictive drug, in David Cronenberg's hallucinatory "Naked Lunch" (1991), and mobster Don Falcone in the eccentric "Romeo is Bleeding" (1993). That same year, Scheider returned to episodic television with "Seaquest DSV," an expensive science fiction series set aboard a futuristic submarine captained by Scheider's Nathan Bridger. The show never found a substantial audience, and frequent tinkering by producers resulted in several major cast changes and thematic shifts. Scheider himself was vocal in his criticism of the show's shortcomings, so abandoned the program before the launch of the third season.

Sadly, few projects that befit his talents would follow; Scheider seemed stuck in an endless loop of weak genre films which tapped his graying authoritative presence to play presidents, military men, cops, and the occasional villain. A few substantive roles popped up here and there; he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for his turn as the head of a dysfunctional family in "The Myth of Fingerprints" (1997), and did excellent work as doomed RKO chief George Schaefer in HBO's "RKO 281" (1999), which chronicled Orson Welles' struggle to make "Citizen Kane" (1941). He also enjoyed a juicy recurring role as a Russian mob boss on "Third Watch" (NBC, 1999-2005), but for the most part, Scheider's profile was depressingly low for most of the 1990s and into the next millennium.

In 2004, Scheider was diagnosed with myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells, and underwent a bone transplant to treat the cancer the following year. In 2006, he served as narrator and associate producer of "The Shark is Still Working," an obsessive (and unreleased) documentary about "Jaws" that covered every possible detail of the film's history and enduring legacy. The following year, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the SunDeis Film Festival.

In February of 2008, film fans were saddened to hear that Scheider had succumbed to a staph infection while receiving treatment at the UAMS Medical Center in Little Rock, AR. He left behind his second wife, actress Brenda King, and two children, as well as a daughter, Maximillia, from his first marriage to editor Cynthia Scheider. Not unexpectedly, fans of "Jaws" were saddened to see the second major player from the beloved classic pass away - the first, being Robert Shaw in 1978 - with Internet bloggers voicing inevitable headline variations on heaven "now needing a bigger boat."

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Iron Cross (2010)
Dark Honeymoon (2008)
The Poet (2008)
Chicago 10 (2007)
If I Didn't Care (2006)
Citizen Verdict (2005)
Governor Bull Tyler
Dracula III: Legacy (2005)
The Punisher (2004)
Dracula II: Ascension (2003)
Cardinal Siqueros
King of Texas (2002)
Angels Don't Sleep Here (2001)
Time Lapse (2001)
Agent Lanova
Daybreak (2001)
Stan Marshall
Chain of Command (2000)
The Doorway (2000)
RKO 281 (1999)
Better Living (1998)
Silverwolf (1998)
Evasive Action (1998)
The Rage (1998)
Executive Target (1998)
President Carlson
White Raven (1998)
Tom Heath
The Definite Maybe (1998)
John Grisham's The Rainmaker (1997)
The Myth of Fingerprints (1997)
Hal
The Peacekeeper (1997)
The President
Plato's Run (1997)
Romeo Is Bleeding (1993)
Naked Lunch (1991)
Dr Benway
The Fourth War (1990)
The Russia House (1990)
Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture (1990)
Listen To Me (1989)
Night Games (1989)
Seaver
Cohen & Tate (1988)
The Men's Club (1986)
Cavanaugh
52 Pick-Up (1986)
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)
2010 (1984)
In Our Hands (1983)
Himself
Jacobo Timerman: Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number (1983)
Blue Thunder (1983)
Still of the Night (1982)
Last Embrace (1979)
All That Jazz (1979)
Jaws 2 (1978)
Sorcerer (1977)
Jackie Scanlon--
Marathon Man (1976)
Jaws (1975)
Chief Martin Brody
Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York (1975)
Sam
The Seven Ups (1973)
The Outside Man (1973)
Lenny
L' Attentat (1972)
Assignment: Munich (1972)
Klute (1971)
Frank Ligourin
The French Connection (1971)
Buddy ["Cloudy"] Russo
Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970)
Mark
Loving (1970)
Skip
Stiletto (1969)
Bennett
The Curse of the Living Corpse (1964)
Philip Sinclair

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

In Our Hands (1983)
Other

Cast (Special)

A Decade Under the Influence (2003)
The Feds: U.S. Postal Inspectors -- Part One (2002)
Narrator
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills (2001)
Making the Connection: Untold Stories of The French Connection (2001)
Interviewee
Nazi Prison Escape (2001)
Narration
Lincoln's Secret Weapon (2000)
Narrator
Hitler's Lost Sub (2000)
Narrator
City of Steel: Carrier (1999)
Narrator
Bob Fosse: The E! True Hollywood Story (1999)
Interviewee
The World's Deadliest Sea Creatures (1998)
Narrator
Coma (1997)
Narrator
Spy in the Sky (1996)
Narrator
The American Film Institute Salute to Steven Spielberg (1995)
Performer
Joe Montana: The Fire Inside (1995)
Narrator
Masters of Illusion: The Wizards of Special Effects (1994)
This Is Your Life (1993)
The Last African Flying Boat (1993)
Narrator
The 13th Annual ACE Awards (1992)
Performer
When It Was a Game II (1992)
Voice
When It Was a Game (1991)
Voice
Bob Fosse: Steam Heat (1990)
Harold Clurman: A Life of Theatre (1989)
Inside the Sexes (1988)
Narration
The Blessings of Liberty (1987)
Follies in Concert (1986)
Narrator
Tiger Town (1986)
To Be Young, Gifted and Black (1972)

Cast (Short)

2010 The Odyssey Continues (1984)
Himself

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Silver Wolf (1999)
Money Plays (1996)
Wild Justice (1993)

Life Events

1961

Professional stage debut as Mercutio in the New York Shakespeare Festival's "Romeo and Juliet"

1961

Appeared in more than 80 plays

1964

Screen debut (billed as Roy R. Sheider) in "The Curse of the Living Corpse"

1971

Breakthrough supporting role, "Klute"

1972

Played Gene Hackman's partner in "The French Connection"; garnered a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination

1975

Starred as the town police chief in Steven Spielberg's "Jaws"

1976

Cast as Dustin Hoffman's brother in "Marathon Man"

1977

Re-teamed with "French Connection" director William Friedkin on "Sorcerer" a remake of "The Wages of Fear"

1978

Reprised role of Chief Brody in "Jaws 2"

1979

Earned a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for playing Joe Gideon, the hard-living, exacting choreographer-director (an alter ego for Bob Fosse) in "All That Jazz"

1980

Returned to the stage after many years in Harold Pinter's "Betrayal"; starred opposite Blythe Danner and Raul Julia

1982

Starred opposite Meryl Streep in the thriller "Still of the Night"

1983

Portrayed real-life Agentine newspaper publisher in the NBC drama "Jacobo Timerman: Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number"

1984

Headlined the sequel "2010"

1985

Narrated "Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters"

1990

Co-starred in "The Russia House"

1990

Starred in the HBO original drama "Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture"

1993

TV series debut in a lead role, playing Captain Nathan Bridger on the Spielberg-produced series, "seaQuest DSV" (NBC), left after the second season due to conflicts with the shows direction; had a recurring role in the third season

1997

Played the patriarch of a dysfunctional family in "The Myth of Fingerprints"

1999

Appeared in the HBO original drama "RKO 281"

2002

Cast Marcia Gay Harden in the TV-movie "King of Texas"

2004

Starred with Thomas Jane and John Travolta in "The Punisher"

2005

Cast as Governor Bull Tyler in "Citizen Verdict"

2007

Guest-starred in an episode "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC) as a death row inmate

2007

Narrated (also associate producer) of the Jaws documentary "The Shark is Still Working"

Photo Collections

The Seven-Ups - Movie Poster
The Seven-Ups - Movie Poster
2010 - Color Scene Stills
Here are several color scene stills from 2010 (1984), the ambitious sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

Videos

Movie Clip

All That Jazz (1979) — (Movie Clip) A Better Dancer Another pass at director Bob Fosse’s “It’s Showtime” montage with dexedrine leads to a rehearsal where the Fosse figure Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider) shreds dancer Victoria (Deborah Geffner), whom he hired in exchange for sex, who then earns some redemption, in All That Jazz, 1979.
Loving (1970) - Get The Pliers Please Director Irvin Kershner and cinematographer Gordon Willis find George Segal as frazzled commercial artist Brooks arriving late in Manhattan where he’s intercepted by pal Skip (100% un-credited Roy Scheider) with an update, leaving time to visit his quirky agent Edward (Keenan Wynn) and equally odd assistant Charles (James Manis), in Loving, 1970.
Loving (1970) - Artists Are Sort Of Effeminate Scrambling with ad-agency pal Skip (Roy Scheider) to catch Midwestern trucking firm mogul Lepridon (Sterling Hayden) at the Manhattan building site for his new headquarters, commercial artist Brooks (George Segal) comes up with a new angle to land a big contract, Irvin Kershner directing from the novel by J.M. Ryan, in Loving, 1970.
Jaws 2 (1978) - -- The Bites Are Big After we’ve seen two shark attack scenes, Chief Brody (Roy Scheider), who’s the only one suspicious so far, brings Dr. Elkins (Collin Wilcox Paxton) to see the killer whale that the kids, including his son Mike (Mark Gruner), found on Amity Island, in the sequel Jaws 2, 1978.
Jaws 2 (1978) - -- Get Out Of The Water! While his wife (Lorraine Gary) who works for developer Peterson (Joseph Mascolo), and the mayor (Murray Hamilton) are showing the beach to prospective buyers, Brody (Roy Scheider), haunted by the last movie and suspecting a shark, overreacts to a shadow in the water, in the sequel Jaws 2, 1978.
Jaws (1975) - I'll Catch This Bird Civic panic in "Amity" (in fact, Martha's Vineyard), as Mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) chairs, Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) comments, and crusty shark-hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) takes over, in Steven Spielberg's Jaws, 1975.
2010 (1984) - My God, It's Full Of Stars This is how they did it, the transition in which the tangible plot elements of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey are consolidated, with images from that film and with Kubrick’s approval, director Peter Hyams and original author Arthur C. Clarke frame the sequel 2010, 1984.
2010 (1984) - There Is No Need To Awaken The Others Following the first outer-space shots, American Floyd (Roy Scheider) is awakened early from travel-sleep by his Soviet-Russian colleagues, Elya Baskin, Oleg Rudnik and Helen Mirren as stern officer Kirbuk, due to activity on Jupiter’s moon, in the 2001: A Space Odyssey sequel, 2010, 1984.
2010 (1984) - We Have Often Spoken About HAL Star Roy Scheider is not seen here, as he’s busy assembling an American crew to visit the spaceship lost in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, instead we meet Bob Balaban as Dr. Chandra, who designed the HAL 9000 computer, conversing with its “sister” SAL, in the sequel 2010, 1984.
Seven-Ups, The (1973) - We Used To Swim Here Producer-Director Philip D’Antoni, who also produced The French Connection, 1971, brings leading man Roy Scheider (co-star of of that film) as cop Buddy to meet childhood pal Vito (Tony LoBianco, who was also the informant in the previous film), early in The Seven-Ups, 1973.
Seven-Ups, The (1973) - You'll Find It's Quite Unique Producer-director Philip D’Antoni goes all-in for Manhattan, from Grand Central terminal to Park Ave, finding Roy Scheider on what we’ll learn is a police operation, the courier played by ex-detective Sonny Grosso, on-whom Scheider’s character is based, opening the French Connection sort-of follow-up, The Seven-Ups, 1973.
Seven-Ups, The (1973) - We Never Make Mistakes Possibly cops and definitely thugs Moon and Bo (Richard Lynch, Bill Hickman) realize something’s wrong in their ransom pay-off, wind up shooting a colleague of real cops Buddy and Barilli (Roy Scheider, Victor Arnold), beginning the celebrated nine-minute car chase in the Bronx, in The Seven-Ups, 1973.

Trailer

Promo

Family

Maximilia Scheider
Daughter
Born c. 1963; mother, Cynthia Scheider.
Christian Verrier Scheider
Son
Born on January 20, 1990; mother, Brenda King.
Molly Scheider
Daughter
Born c. 1995; mother, Brenda King.

Companions

Cynthia Scheider
Wife
Film editor. Married on November 8, 1962; divorced in 1989.
Brenda King
Wife
Documentary filmmaker. Married c. 1989.

Bibliography

"Bob Fosse's Broadway"
Margery Beddow and Roy Scheider, Heinemann (1996)

Notes

"Roy Scheider may be as close as one can get to being a "tabula rasa" actor; he brings his role nothing of himself except his physical frame--some sinews, a profile. In "Jaws", as the tenderfoot from the big city who was openly afraid of everything to do with the water, he was an amusingly sane Everyman. And in Bob Fosse's fantasy autobiography "All That Jazz" he was taut and jumpy--strung out. Dressed in black and wearing an extra-pointy Vandyke on his pointy chin, he looked like Basil Rathbone as Robin Hood's enemy Sir Guy of Gisbourne, and he made you feel you were watching Fosse himself. It wasn't an impersonation; it was as if Fosse had taken over his body, from the inside. That's the only role in which Scheider had an exciting presence, and it wasn't his; we seemed to be looking right through him to Fosse ... " --Pauline Kael reviewing Robert Benton's "Still of the Night" in The New Yorker, December 13, 1982.

"There are, I think, three essential attributes every actor should have. ... One is intelligence, but not too much, just enough to make good choices. The audience wants to see the actor's emotion, not his intellect. Two is a certain physical grace, regardless of character, and three is an enormous child-like belief in the make-believe." --Roy Scheider quoted in the press notes for "52 Pick-Up".