Oscar nominee was best known for 'Jaws'
Roy Scheider, a two-time Oscar nominee who was best known for his role as the police chief in “Jaws,” died Feb. 10 of undisclosed causes at the U. of Arkansas for Medical Sciences hospital in Little Rock, Ark. He was 75.
He had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2004 and subsequently underwent a bone marrow transplant.
The square-jawed actor worked as a New York actor onstage and in films, TV and soaps, but enjoyed his first breakthrough in 1971, when he played a pimp in “Klute” and a cop in “The French Connection,” for which he earned his first Oscar nom.
The actor excelled in playing such streetwise hotheads, but his biggest success was as the down-to-earth common man Martin Brody in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 horror film “Jaws.” It became one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, and the actor’s deadpan urgency when delivering the line “We’re gonna need a bigger boat” helped it land the No. 35 spot in AFI’s list of the 100 most memorable movie quotes of all time.
He reprised the role in “Jaws 2” but declined to appear in other sequels.
In later years, he played authority figures — usually honest, but sometimes corrupt.
Born in Orange, N.J., he competed in baseball and boxing before turning to theater in college, where he studied drama at Rutgers U. and Franklin & Marshall College. After a stint in the military, he went onstage in New York, appearing with the New York Shakespeare Festival and winning an Obie for the play “Stephen D.”
After appearing on soap “The Edge of Night,” he launched his film career with 1964’s “The Curse of the Living Corpse.” His material started to improve with “Star!,” “Paper Lion,” “Stiletto” and “Puzzle of a Downfall Child,” while he continued to guest on soaps such as “Love of Life” and “Secret Storm.”
His career took a major leap forward when he co-starred with Jane Fonda in “Klute” and then alongside Gene Hackman in “The French Connection.” His supporting role was elevated to lead in “The Seven-Ups,” a spinoff from “Connection.”
He had a key role in John Schlesinger’s “Marathon Man” and the lead in William Friedkin’s “Sorcerer.”
Scheider’s career hit another high point with Bob Fosse’s 1979 movie musical “All That Jazz,” in which he was Oscar-nommed for his role as the womanizing choreographer Joe Gideon, based on Fosse himself.
From then on he was a durable thesp often called upon to play U.S. presidents or military officers, appearing in films including “Blue Thunder,” “2010,” “52 Pick-Up” and “The Russia House.”
Scheider was the star of NBC submarine adventure series “SeaQuest DSV” and appeared on TV shows including “Third Watch” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”
He also appeared in “The Peacekeeper,” “Red Serpent,” “The Punisher” and “The Rainmaker.” In his last role, he played a policeman in the film “Iron Cross,” set for release this year.
Scheider is survived by his wife, Brenda; two daughters; and a son.