Roy Scheider

Last updated
Roy Scheider
Roy Scheider 2007.jpg
Scheider in 2007
Born(1932-11-10)November 10, 1932
DiedFebruary 10, 2008(2008-02-10) (aged 75)
Other namesRoy R. Scheider
Roy Schneider
Education Rutgers University
Franklin and Marshall College
Occupation Actor, boxer
Years active1961–2008
Cynthia Bebout
(m. 1962;div. 1986)

Brenda Siemer
(m. 1989)
Children3, including Christian Scheider
Military career
AllegianceFlag of the United States (1912-1959).svg United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the US Air Force.svg United States Air Force
Years of service1955–1964
1958–1964 in Air Force Reserve Command [1]
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain

Roy Richard Scheider (November 10, 1932 – February 10, 2008) was an American actor and amateur boxer.


Scheider gained fame for his leading and supporting roles in several iconic films from the 1970s through to the early-mid 80s, playing NYPD Detective Buddy "Cloudy" Russo in The French Connection (1971); NYPD Detective Buddy Manucci in The Seven Ups (1973); Police Chief Martin 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 co-written and directed by Fosse) (1979); and Dr. Heywood R. Floyd in the 1984 film 2010 , the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey .

<i>The French Connection</i> (film) 1971 film by William Friedkin

The French Connection is a 1971 American action thriller film directed by William Friedkin. The screenplay, written by Ernest Tidyman, is based on Robin Moore's 1969 non-fiction book The French Connection: A True Account of Cops, Narcotics, and International Conspiracy. It tells the story of New York Police Department detectives Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle and Buddy "Cloudy" Russo, whose real-life counterparts were Narcotics Detectives Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso, in pursuit of wealthy French heroin smuggler Alain Charnier. The film stars Gene Hackman as Popeye, Roy Scheider as Cloudy, and Fernando Rey as Charnier. Tony Lo Bianco and Marcel Bozzuffi also star. The Three Degrees feature in a nightclub scene.

<i>Jaws</i> (film) 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg

Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's 1974 novel of the same name. In the film, a giant man-eating great white shark attacks beachgoers at a New England summer resort town, prompting police chief Martin Brody to hunt it with the help of a marine biologist and a professional shark hunter. Murray Hamilton plays the mayor, and Lorraine Gary portrays Brody's wife. The screenplay is credited to Benchley, who wrote the first drafts, and actor-writer Carl Gottlieb, who rewrote the script during principal photography.

<i>Jaws 2</i> 1978 American horror film directed by Jeannot Szwarc

Jaws 2 is a 1978 American thriller film directed by Jeannot Szwarc and co-written by Carl Gottlieb. It is the sequel to Steven Spielberg's Jaws, and the second installment in the Jaws franchise. The film stars Roy Scheider as Police Chief Martin Brody, with Lorraine Gary and Murray Hamilton reprising their respective roles as Martin's wife Ellen Brody and mayor Larry Vaughn. It also stars Joseph Mascolo, Jeffrey Kramer, Collin Wilcox, Ann Dusenberry, Mark Gruner, Susan French, Barry Coe, Donna Wilkes, and Gary Springer. The plot concerns Chief Brody suspecting another great white shark is terrorizing the fictional sea side resort of Amity Island following a series of incidents and disappearances.

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", [2] Scheider was nominated for two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA Award. [3]

Nathan Bridger fictional character from the television series SeaQuest DSV

Captain Nathan Hale Bridger is a character on the television series seaQuest DSV and was played by Roy Scheider. Within the canon of the series, Bridger was not only the commanding officer of both UEO submarines named seaQuest DSV, but was also the designer of the boats.

<i>seaQuest DSV</i> American science fiction television series

SeaQuest DSV is an American science fiction television series created by Rockne S. O'Bannon. It originally aired on NBC between 1993 and 1996. In its final season, it was renamed seaQuest 2032. Set in "the near future"—originally the year 2018 in the first season—seaQuest DSV originally mixed high drama with realistic scientific fiction. It originally starred film star Roy Scheider as Captain Nathan Bridger, designer and commander of the eponymous naval submarine seaQuest DSV 4600. Jonathan Brandis also starred as Lucas Wolenczak, a teenaged computer genius placed aboard seaQuest by his father and Stephanie Beacham as Kristin Westphalen, the chief medical officer and head of the seaQuest science department. In the third season, Michael Ironside replaced Scheider as lead of the series and starred as Captain Oliver Hudson. Also present was a dolphin character called Darwin who, due to technological advances, was able to communicate with the crew. Steven Spielberg expressed interest in the project and served as one of the show's executive producers during the first two seasons.

AllMovie database of information about movie stars, movies and television shows

AllMovie is an online guide service website with information about films, television programs, and screen actors. As of 2013, and the AllMovie consumer brand are owned by RhythmOne.

Early life

Scheider was born in Orange, New Jersey, [4] the son of Anna (née Crosson) 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. [5] [6] 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.

Orange, New Jersey City in Essex County, New Jersey, U.S.

The City of Orange is a township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 30,134, reflecting a decline of 2,734 (-8.3%) from the 32,868 counted in 2000, which had in turn increased by 2,943 (+9.8%) from the 29,925 counted in the 1990 Census.

Irish people Ethnic group, native to the island of Ireland, with shared history and culture

The Irish are a nation and ethnic group native to the island of Ireland, who share a common Irish ancestry, identity and culture. Ireland has been inhabited for about 12,500 years according to archaeological studies. For most of Ireland's recorded history, the Irish have been primarily a Gaelic people. From the 9th century, small numbers of Vikings settled in Ireland, becoming the Norse-Gaels. Anglo-Normans conquered parts of Ireland in the 12th century, while England's 16th/17th-century (re)conquest and colonisation of Ireland brought many English and Lowland Scots people to parts of the island, especially the north. Today, Ireland is made up of the Republic of Ireland and the smaller Northern Ireland. The people of Northern Ireland hold various national identities including British, Irish, Northern Irish or some combination thereof.

Baseball Sport

Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objectives of the offensive team are to hit the ball into the field of play, and to run the bases—having its runners advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate. The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game is the winner.

Amateur boxing

Between 1946 and 1949, Scheider boxed as an amateur in New Jersey. [7] 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. [8] 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 (6 knockouts) record, [7] reversing the defeat to Greenberg in the process. [7]

Golden Gloves Annual competitions for amateur boxing

The Golden Gloves is the name given to annual competitions for amateur boxing in the United States, where a small pair of golden boxing gloves are awarded. The Golden Gloves is a term used to refer to the National Golden Gloves competition, but can also represent several other amateur tournaments, including regional golden gloves tournaments and other notable tournaments such as the Intercity Golden Gloves, the Chicago Golden Gloves, and the New York Golden Gloves.

Military service

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. [1]

United States Air Force Air and space warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the fourth in order of precedence. The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.

Air traffic controller specialist responsible for the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic

Air traffic controllers often abbreviated ATC are personnel responsible for the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic in the global air traffic control system. Usually stationed in air traffic control centers and control towers on the ground, they monitor the position, speed, and altitude of aircraft in their assigned airspace visually and by radar, and give directions to the pilots by radio. The position of air traffic controller is one that requires highly specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities. Controllers apply separation rules to keep aircraft at a safe distance from each other in their area of responsibility and move all aircraft safely and efficiently through their assigned sector of airspace, as well as on the ground. Because controllers have an incredibly large responsibility while on duty and make countless real-time decisions on a daily basis, the ATC profession is consistently regarded around the world as one of the most mentally challenging careers, and can be notoriously stressful depending on many variables. Many controllers, however, would cite high salaries, and a very large, unique, and privileged degree of autonomy as major advantages of their jobs.

Captain (United States O-3) company-grade rank in U.S. Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force

In the United States Army (USA), U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), and U.S. Air Force (USAF), captain is a company grade officer rank, with the pay grade of O-3. It ranks above first lieutenant and below major. It is equivalent to the rank of lieutenant in the Navy/Coast Guard officer rank system. The insignia for the rank consists of two silver bars, with slight stylized differences between the Army/Air Force version and the Marine Corps version.

Acting career

Early career

Scheider's first film role was in the horror film The Curse of the Living Corpse (1964).

<i>The Curse of the Living Corpse</i> 1964 film by Del Tenney

The Curse of the Living Corpse is a 1964 American horror film produced, written and directyed by Del Tenney. The film is about a series of murders haunt the family of a man who died leaving extensive instructions in his will to avoid him being buried alive.

On television, he played running roles on two CBS soap operas, Love of Life and The Secret Storm , and also played character roles in episodes of Camera Three , N.Y.P.D. and Coronet Blue . He was in the TV movie Lamp at Midnight (1966).

Scheider appeared with the New York Shakespeare Festival, and won an Obie Award in 1968. He had a regular role on the TV series Hidden Faces (1968–69) and was in the films Stiletto (1969), Loving (1970) and Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970), as well as the TV series Where the Heart Is and Cannon .


In 1971 he appeared in two highly popular films, Klute (1971), directed by Alan Pakula, and The French Connection (1971), directed by William Friedkin. In 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. [4]

Scheider was now in much demand. He was second billed in the TV movie Assignment: Munich (1972) and went to Europe to have key support roles in The Assassination (1972) and The Outside Man (1972). He was in the TV movie To Be Young, Gifted, and Black (1972).


Scheider's first starring role came in The Seven-Ups (1973), a quasi-follow-up to The French Connection, in which Scheider's character is once again based on Grosso.

He was second billed in Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York (1975).

Scheider portrayed Chief Martin Brody in the Hollywood blockbuster Jaws (1975) which also starred Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss. [4] Scheider's ad-libbed line, [9] "You're gonna need a bigger boat" was voted 35th on the American Film Institute's list of best movie quotes.

He appeared as secret agent Doc Levy in Marathon Man (1976), with Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier. [10]

Scheider reunited with French Connection director William Friedkin in Sorcerer (1977), a remake of the 1953 French film Le Salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear) . [4]

He was originally cast in The Deer Hunter , the second movie of a three-movie deal with Universal Studios. [4] 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. It was a huge hit. [4]

Scheider starred in Last Embrace (1979), a Hitchcockian thriller for Jonathan Demme.

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. [4] Some of the film's production was portrayed in the FX miniseries Fosse/Verdon , where Scheider was played by actor/composer Lin-Manuel Miranda.

He did a thriller with Meryl Streep for Robert Benton, Still of the Night (1982) which was a box office disappointment. However Blue Thunder (1983), [4] 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, was a huge hit.

Scheider made two TV movies, Jacobo Timerman: Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number (1983) and Tiger Town (1984).

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. [11] He provided narration for Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985).

Scheider was in The Men's Club (1986), 52 Pick-Up (1986) for John Frankenheimer, Cohen and Tate (1988), Listen to Me (1989), Night Game (1989), The Fourth War (1990) again for Frankenheimer, Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture (1990), and The Russia House (1991).

Later career

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 . [4] 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) [4] 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.

Among his 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 the thriller Iron Cross . In Iron Cross, Scheider 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 was ultimately released in 2011.

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. He also repeatedly guest-starred on the NBC television series Third Watch as Fyodor Chevchenko.

Scheider hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live in the tenth (1984–1985) season and appeared on the Family Guy episode "Bill & 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 provided voiceover 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 the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Endgame" as serial killer Mark Ford Brady, who is identified at the episode's end as being the biological father of series star Vincent D'Onofrio's, character, Detective Goren.

Scheider narrated and was associate producer of the 2006 Jaws documentary The Shark is Still Working . [12]

In 2007 Scheider received one of two annually-presented Lifetime Achievement Awards at the SunDeis Film Festival in Waltham, Massachusetts.

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.

Personal life

Scheider's first marriage was to Cynthia Bebout on November 8, 1962. [13] The couple had one daughter, Maximillia (19632006), before divorcing in 1986. [14] On February 11, 1989, he married actress Brenda Siemer, with whom he had a son, Christian Scheider, and adopted a daughter, Molly. [15] They remained married until his death. [4]


In 2004 Scheider was found to have multiple myeloma, and he received a bone marrow transplant to treat the cancer in June 2005. [16] He died on February 10, 2008, in Little Rock, Arkansas, at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Hospital. [17]




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