Roy Scheider

The actor Brad Renfro died on 15 January 2008, the cause later discovered to have been a drug overdose. He had struggled with drug addiction throughout much of a career that included the film ‘Ghost World’. The rising star Heath Ledger, famous for the film ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and in the process on completing work playing The Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’, died on 22 January 2008. The cause was an overdose of prescription medicines.

Another actor has just died, but this time one from a different generation. Roy Scheider was 75-years-old when he died on 10 February 2008 following a two year battle with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer. Although he was never a huge film star, Scheider had a very successful career and was widely respected as an actor of considerable range and gravitas.

Having started his film career by appearing in the low-budget horror ‘The Curse of the Living Corpse’, Scheider would eventually act in early 1970s classics like ‘Klute’ and ‘The French Connection’, receiving an Academy Award nomination for the latter. However, his most famous role is undoubtedly that of Police Chief Martin Brody in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster ‘Jaws’, in which he more than holds his own in the company of Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss. It is his performance that really glues everything together.

He would go on to star in ‘Marathon Man’ and ‘All That Jazz’, receiving a second Academy Award nomination, but after spending three years in the television show ‘SeaQuest DSV’ (1993-1996) the quality of the films he made began to slowly deteriorate.

On occasions this drop in quality also affected his performances. However, this should not take away from an actor who, at his peak, was a match for any of his contemporaries. If you do nothing else, watch ‘Jaws’ sometime and toast the memory of a very fine actor.

1 comment:

whitelabcoat said...

I figured you'd write something about this and you didn't let me down. Scheider was my favourite guy actor, with a depth and intelligence that always seemed to come through no matter what he played (plus, he was one of the coolest-looking guys on the planet).

Latterly, I kept hoping for some kind of career ressurection - that someone would 're-discover' him and put him in something cool, but there ya go. In any case, he left behind some wonderful performances in some great/good/not-so-good movies.

And he got a shout-out in "Buffy".

For my money, Roy Scheider was simply one of the finest, most compelling actors in Hollywood.

Thanks for the tribute.