Roy Richard Scheider (November 10, 1932, was an American actor and amateur boxer.
Scheider gained fame for his leading and supporting roles in several iconic films from the 1970s, playing NYPD Detective Buddy “Cloudy” Russo in The French Connection (1971); NYPD Detective Buddy Manucci in The Seven Ups (1973); Police Chief Martin C. Brody in Jaws (1975) and Jaws 2 (1978); Doc in Marathon Man (1976); choreographer and film director Joe Gideon (whose character was based on Bob Fosse) in All That Jazz (which was written and directed by Fosse) (1979); and Dr. Heywood R. Floyd in the 1984 film 2010, the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Scheider is also known for playing Captain Nathan Bridger in the science fiction television series seaQuest DSV (1993–1996). Described by AllMovie as “one of the most unique and distinguished of all Hollywood actors”, Scheider was nominated for two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA Award.
Scheider was born in Orange, New Jersey, the son of Anna and auto mechanic Roy Bernhard Scheider. Scheider’s mother was of Irish descent with an Irish Catholic background, while his father was a Protestant German American. As a child, Scheider was an athlete, participating in organized baseball and boxing competitions, for which he was classed as a welterweight, weighing in at 140 lbs. Scheider competed in the Diamond Gloves Boxing Tournament in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He attended Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, graduating in 1950, 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 University and Franklin and Marshall College, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.
Between 1946 and 1949, Scheider boxed as an amateur in New Jersey. Scheider said in a television interview in the 1980s that he took up boxing to lose weight. He said he had no desire to fight, but that his trainer, Georgie Ward, encouraged him to compete. In his second bout, at the 1946 Diamond Gloves Tournament (Golden Gloves), Scheider suffered a broken nose and lost by technical knockout in two rounds to Myron Greenberg. He went on, however, to post an 8–1 record with 6 knockouts, reversing the defeat to Greenberg in the process.
Scheider served three years in the United States Air Force as a First lieutenant in Air Operations from 1955 to 1958. He then became a reservist Captain in the Air Force Reserve Command until 1964.
Scheider appeared with the New York Shakespeare Festival, and won an Obie Award in 1968. On television, Scheider played running roles on two CBS soap operas, Love of Life and The Secret Storm, and also played character roles in episodes of Coronet Blue and N.Y.P.D.
Scheider’s first film role was in the 1964 horror film The Curse of the Living Corpse. (He was billed as “Roy R. Scheider”). In 1971, he appeared in two highly popular films, Klute and The French Connection; the latter, in which he played a fictionalized version of New York City detective Sonny Grosso, gained 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 1975 Hollywood blockbuster Jaws which also starred Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss. Scheider’s famous movie line, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”, 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 and Laurence Olivier. Scheider reunited with French Connection director William Friedkin in Sorcerer, a remake of the 1953 French film Le Salaire de la Peur (The Wages of Fear).
He was originally cast in The Deer Hunter, the second movie of a three-movie deal with Universal Studios. However, despite being under contract, Scheider dropped out two weeks before the start of filming. Universal 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.
In 1979, 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 and co-writer Bob Fosse.
In 1983, he starred in Blue Thunder, a John Badham film about a fictitious technologically advanced prototype attack helicopter which provided security over the city of Los Angeles 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 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 liaison with MI6. Scheider played a mob boss in the Gary Oldman crime film Romeo Is Bleeding (1994) and a chief executive of a corrupt insurance company cross-examined by Matt Damon’s character in 1997’s John Grisham’s The Rainmaker, directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
Scheider was 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 leave the show. His contract, however, required that he make several guest appearances that season.
In 2007, Scheider received one of two annually-presented Lifetime Achievement Awards at the SunDeis Film Festival in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Scheider’s first marriage was to Cynthia Bebout on November 8, 1962. The couple had one daughter, Maximillia (1963–2006), before divorcing in 1986. On February 11, 1989, he married actress Brenda King, with whom he had a son, Christian Scheider, and adopted a daughter, Molly. They remained married until his death.
In 2004, Scheider was found to have multiple myeloma, and he received a bone marrow transplant to treat the cancer in June 2005. He died on February 10, 2008, in Little Rock, Arkansas, at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Hospital. After Scheider’s death a biography entitled Roy Scheider: A Life was released as a tribute, compiling reviews, essays, and narration on his life and career.
- The Curse of the Living Corpse (1964) …. Philip Sinclair
- Paper Lion (1968) …. (uncredited)
- Stiletto (1969) …. Bennett
- Loving (1970) …. Skip
- Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970) …. Mark
- Klute (1971) …. Frank Ligourin
- The French Connection (1971) …. Buddy Russo (Academy Award nominee, best supporting actor)
- The French Conspiracy (1972) …. Michael Howard
- The Outside Man (1972) …. Lenny
- The Seven-Ups (1973) …. Buddy – Seven-Up
- Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York (1975) …. Sam Stoneman
- Jaws (1975) …. Police Chief Martin Brody
- Marathon Man (1976) …. Doc
- Sorcerer (1977) …. Jackie Scanlon – “Juan Dominguez”
- Jaws 2 (1978) …. Police Chief Martin Brody
- Last Embrace (1979) …. Harry Hannan
- All That Jazz (1979) …. Joe Gideon (Academy Award nominee, best actor)
- Still of the Night (1982) …. Sam Rice
- Blue Thunder (1983) …. Officer Frank Murphy
- 2010 (1984) …. Dr. Heywood Floyd
- Terror in the Aisles (1984) …. (archive footage; documentary)
- Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) …. Narrator (voice)
- The Men’s Club (1986) …. Cavanaugh
- 52 Pick-Up (1986) …. Harry Mitchell
- Jaws: The Revenge (1987) …. Police Chief Martin Brody (uncredited; archive footage, photographic cameo)
- Cohen and Tate (1989) …. Cohen
- Listen to Me (1989) …. Charlie Nichols
- Night Game (1989) …. Mike Seaver
- The Fourth War (1990) …. Col. Jack Knowles
- The Russia House (1990) …. Russell
- Naked Lunch (1991) …. Dr. Benway
- Romeo Is Bleeding (1993) …. Don Falcone
- Plato’s Run (1997) …. Senarkian (Video)
- The Rage (1997) …. John Taggart
- Executive Target (1997) …. President Carlson
- The Peacekeeper (1997) …. President Robert Baker
- The Myth of Fingerprints (1997) …. Hal
- The Rainmaker (1997) …. Wilfred Keeley
- The Definite Maybe (1997) …. Eddie Jacobsen
- Better Living (1998) …. Tom
- The White Raven (1998) …. Tom Heath
- Evasive Action (1998) …. Enzo Marcelli
- Chain of Command (2000) …. President Jack Cahill
- Falling Through (2000) …. Earl
- The Doorway (2000) …. Professor Lamont
- Daybreak (2000) …. Stan Marshall
- Time Lapse (2001) …. Agent La Nova (Video)
- Texas 46 (2002) …. Colonel Gartner
- Angels Don’t Sleep Here (2002) …. Mayor Harry S. Porter
- Citizen Verdict (2003) …. Governor Bull Tyler
- Dracula II: Ascension (2003) …. Cardinal Siqueros (Video)
- Red Serpent (2003) …. Hassan
- The Punisher (2004) …. Frank Castle Sr.
- Dracula III: Legacy (2005) …. Cardinal Siqueros (Video)
- Love Thy Neighbor (2005) …. Fred
- Last Chance (2006) …. Cumberland (short)
- The Poet (2007) …. Rabbi
- If I Didn’t Care (2007) …. Linus Boyer
- Chicago 10 (2007) …. Judge Julius Hoffman (Voice)
- Iron Cross (2011) …. Joseph (final film role)
- The Shark Is Still Working (2012) …. Narrator (Documentary)
- Cannon episode ‘No Pockets in a Shroud’ (1971) …. Dan Bowen (TV series; 1 episode)
- Assignment: Munich (1972) …. Jake Webster (TV movie)
- Jacobo Timerman: Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number (1983) …. Jacobo Timerman (TV movie)
- Tiger Town (1983) …. Billy Young (TV movie)
- Saturday Night Live (1985) …. Host
- Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture (1990) …. Paul Marish (TV movie)
- Wild Justice (1993) …. Peter Stride (TV movie)
- seaQuest DSV (1993–1996) …. Captain Nathan Bridger (TV series; 47 episodes)
- Money Play$ (1997) …. Johnny Tobin (TV movie)
- Silver Wolf (1998) …. John Rockwell (TV movie)
- The Seventh Scroll (1999) …. Grant Schiller (TV mini-series)
- RKO 281 (1999) …. George Schaefer
- Diamond Hunters (2001) …. Jacob Van der Byl (TV movie)
- King of Texas (2002) …. Henry Westover (TV movie)
- Third Watch (2002) …. Fyodor Chevchenko (TV series; 6 episodes)
- Carrier: Arsenal of the Sea (2005) …. Narrator (TV documentary)
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2007) …. Mark Ford Brady (TV series; 1 episode)
- Family Guy (2007, 2009) …. Himself (TV series; 2 episodes)