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Roy Scheider Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (5) | Trivia (42) | Personal Quotes (8)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 10 November 1932Orange, New Jersey, USA
Date of Death 10 February 2008Little Rock, Arkansas, USA  (multiple myeloma)
Birth NameRoy Richard Scheider
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Lean, angular-faced and authoritatively spoken lead / supporting actor Roy Scheider obviously never heard the old actor's axiom about "never appearing with kids or animals" lest they overshadow your performance. Breaking that rule did him no harm, though, as he achieved pop cult status by finding, fighting and blowing up a 25-foot-long Great White shark (nicknamed "Bruce") in the mega-hit Jaws (1975) and then electrocuting an even bigger Great White in the vastly inferior Jaws 2 (1978).

Athletic Scheider was born in November 1932 in Orange, New Jersey, to Anna (Crosson) and Roy Bernhard Scheider, a mechanic. He was of German and Irish descent. A keen sportsman from a young age, he competed in baseball and boxing (his awkwardly mended broken nose is a result of his foray into Golden Gloves competitions). While at college, his pursuits turned from sports to theater and he studied drama at Rutgers and Franklin and Marshall. After a stint in the military, Scheider appeared with the New York Shakespeare Festival and won an "Obie Award" for his appearance in the play "Stephen D."

His film career commenced with the campy Z-grade horror cheesefest The Curse of the Living Corpse (1964), and he then showed up in Star! (1968), Paper Lion (1968), Stiletto (1969) and Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970). In 1971 he really came to the attention of film audiences with his role in the Jane Fonda thriller Klute (1971) and then as Det. Buddy Russo (scoring his first Oscar nomination) alongside fiery Gene Hackman in the crime drama The French Connection (1971). His performance as a tough street cop in that film led him into another tough cop role as NYC Det. Buddy Manucci in the underappreciated The Seven-Ups (1973), which features one of the best car chase sequences ever put on film.

In the early 1970s the Peter Benchley novel "Jaws" was a phenomenal best-seller, and young director Steven Spielberg was chosen by Universal Pictures to direct the film adaptation, Jaws (1975), in which Scheider played police chief Brody and shared lead billing with Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss in the tale of a New England seaside community terrorized by a hungry Great White shark. "Jaws" was a blockbuster, and for many years held the record as the highest-grossing film of all time. Scheider then turned up as the shady CIA agent brother of Dustin Hoffman in the unnerving Marathon Man (1976) and in the misfired William Friedkin-directed remake of The Wages of Fear (1953) titled Sorcerer (1977), before again returning to Amity to battle another giant shark in Jaws 2 (1978). Seeking a change from tough cops and hungry sharks, he took the role of womanizing, drug-popping choreographer Joe Gideon, the lead character of the semi-autobiographical portrayal of director Bob Fosse in the sparkling All That Jazz (1979). It was another big hit for Scheider (and another Oscar nomination), with the film featuring a stunning opening sequence to the tune of the funky George Benson number "On Broadway", and breathtaking dance routines including the "Airotica" performance by the glamorous Sandahl Bergman.

Returning to another law enforcement role, Scheider played a rebellious helicopter pilot in the John Badham conspiracy / action film Blue Thunder (1983), a scientist in the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) simply titled 2010 (1984), a cheating husband who turns the tables on his blackmailers in 52 Pick-Up (1986), a cold-blooded hit man in Cohen and Tate (1988) and a CIA operative in the muddled and slow-moving The Russia House (1990). The versatile Scheider was then cast as the captain of a futuristic submarine in the relatively popular TV series SeaQuest 2032 (1993), which ran for three seasons.

Inexplicably, however, Scheider had seemingly, and slowly, dropped out of favor with mainstream film audiences, and while he continued to remain busy, predominantly in supporting roles (generally as US presidents or military officers), most of the vehicles he appeared in were B-grade political thrillers such as The Peacekeeper (1997), Executive Target (1997), Chain of Command (2000) and Red Serpent (2003).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: firehouse44@hotmail.com

Spouse (2)

Brenda Siemer Scheider (11 February 1989 - 10 February 2008) (his death) (2 children)
Cynthia Scheider (8 November 1962 - 1989) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (5)

Angular rugged face
Consistently suntan skin
Often played New York City-based characters, though was himself from nearby in Northern New Jersey
Often played the closest thing to a relatable everyman-type in iconoclastic 1970s movies
Often played authority figures such as police officers (i.e. Detective Buddy "Cloudy" Russo in The French Connection (1971) and Chief Martin Brody in Jaws (1975) and Jaws 2 (1978))

Trivia (42)

Attended and graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He later received an honorary doctorate from the college.
One daughter, Maximillia Scheider (born 1963), with ex-wife Cynthia Scheider.
Son, Christian Scheider (born 1990), and daughter, Molly Scheider (born 1995), with wife Brenda Siemer Scheider.
He was originally cast as Michael Vronsky in The Deer Hunter (1978), as the second movie of a three movie deal with Universal Studios. Because he did not believe that the character would travel around the world to find his friend, he quit the picture. Universal executives were furious, but they agreed to let him out of his Universal contract if he made Jaws 2 (1978), which he did. He later regarded pulling out of The Deer Hunter (1978) as the career decision he most regrets.
He was offered the lead role in The Omen (1976) and reportedly was very interested in taking the role, but had to turn in down due to previous commitments. Consequently, his desire to play that type of role (a self-sacrificing, noble hero) led to his accepting the role of Chief Martin Brody in Jaws (1975).
His name was inspiration for Japanese enterprise Toei create television series Uchû keiji Shaider (1984).
Underwent a bone marrow transplant to treat multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells. [June 2005]
Attended Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, home of future graduates Elisabeth Shue and Andrew Shue, Zach Braff, Lauryn Hill and Ahmed Best.
Has played the President of the United States three times: Executive Target (1997), The Peacekeeper (1997) and Chain of Command (2000).
He was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.
On March 4, 2007, Scheider was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the SunDeis Film Festival at Brandeis University, following a screening of his classic film All That Jazz (1979). It was the sixth time that Scheider had seen the film, and the first time for his young daughter, Molly, who accompanied him.
Was in talks to appear in The Verdict (1982).
His wife, Brenda Seimer, saved the old Art Deco Sag Harbor, New York movie marquee when the owner of the theater was renovating the building, and just tore it down and threw it out. She was threatened with arrest for stealing the sign. Scheider helped organize a community fundraising drive to re-create it, and the theater owner put it back in place.
Had two grandchildren, Sascha and Tanner.
When he was shown in the "In Memoriam" segment during the telecast of the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2009), his name was spelled incorrectly: Schieder instead of Scheider.
Roy completed all his scenes for Iron Cross (2009) before passing away, but a technical error forced the production to reshoot certain scenes without Roy.
Was cited as one of the most promising movie personalities of 1973 in John Willis' 1974 Film Annual "Screen World" book.
Served in the Air Force for three years and rose to the rank of first lieutenant.
His grandchildren called him "Chiefy" and "Grandpa Big Fish".
Was predeceased by his daughter, Maximillia, who died in 2006.
Was politically active and participated in protests against the Vietnam and Iraq wars and for environmental issues on Long Island. In March 2003, he was among a group of protesters who laid down on a Long Island highway in a symbolic reference to the casualties of war.
Has played two characters with pet dolphins: Heywood Floyd in 2010 (1984) and Captain Nathan Bridger on SeaQuest 2032 (1993).
Remembering Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss said "He was a wonderful guy," recalling his Jaws (1975) co-star as an actor who "does his job and does it as well as he can.".
Parents are Roy Bernhard and Anna Scheider (née Crosson). Has one younger brother: Glenn Scheider.
Was a regular participant in the annual Artists and Writers Charity Softball Game in East Hampton, New York.
His favorite character played was choreographer Joe Gideon in All That Jazz (1979).
Was one of the founders of the Hayground School in Bridgehampton, New York, dedicated to creating an innovative, culturally diverse learning environment for local children.
Was an avid reader.
His late SeaQuest 2032 (1993) co-star Jonathan Brandis considered him a mentor and one of his biggest acting influences.
An action figure was created based on his character, Captain Nathan Bridger, from SeaQuest 2032 (1993).
1958: Won - Roy Scheider knocked out Ted LaScalza in one round in an amateur boxing match.
1953 (July 20): Won - Roy Scheider knocked out Nick Welling in two rounds of an amateur boxing match in Cliffside Park, New Jersey.
1950 (March 17): Won - Roy Scheider knocked out Earl Garrett in the first round of an amateur boxing match in New Jersey. Scheider suffered a nose injury and drops out of the tournament (Golden Gloves).
1950 (February 14): Won - Roy Scheider knocked out Peter Read in 3-rounds in a New Jersey amateur boxing match.
1950 (February 17): Won - Roy Scheider knocked out Phil Duncan in one round in an amateur boxing match in New Jersey.
1950: Won - Roy Scheider knocked out Myron Greenberg in one round in a New Jersey amateur boxing match.
1948: Won - Roy Scheider knocked out Peter Read in two rounds of an amateur boxing match in New Jersey.
1948: Won - Roy Scheider knocked out Jerry Gould in 33 seconds of round one in an amateur boxing match in New Jersey (Golden Gloves: Novice Division).
1948: Won - Roy Scheider knocked out Alfonse D'Amore in 16 seconds of round one in an amateur boxing match in New Jersey (Golden Gloves: Novice Division).
1947: Lost - Roy Scheider was stopped in two rounds (TKO), when he suffered a nose injury by Myron Greenberg in an amateur boxing match in Orange, New Jersey. Scheider's nose was broken and he was unable to continue (Golden Gloves Tournament: Novice Division).
As a very young actor, he was an uncredited extra in the dance hall scene from "The United States Steel Hour" (1953), from the episode "A Wind from the South" (1955), starring Julie Harris.
His father has German ancestry and his mother had Irish ancestry.

Personal Quotes (8)

The important thing is to do good work, no matter what medium you do it in.
[1980] You read a lot about movies with budgets of $25 to $30 million. Hell, if a studio can piss away that kind of money, why not let 'em piss on me?
[on Bob Fosse] Fosse, I think, came to a high point in his life, with an Oscar, a Tony and an Emmy, and asked himself, "Do they think I'm really that good? They don't know I'm really a sham, a hoax, a phony, a lousy human being, not much of a friend to anybody and a flop... they don't know I'm covered with flop sweat." That's an expression Bob uses a lot -- flop sweat.
[on working with Jane Fonda in Klute (1971)] I liked her passion. And her professionalism. You know, Jane worked for years as a silly ingénue on the stage in New York and, I mean, she was laughable at first. But she stayed with it and, slowly, carefully, learned her craft.
[on shooting the troubled Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York (1975)] The hardest thing about that one was working with Jeannie Berlin. You don't do a picture with that one unless you've got a personal stake in it. She's very disturbed, and it was hard for the director.
[on how his career was affected by The French Connection (1971)] I got inundated with cop scripts after that. It was the same role over and over, and every cop movie was a cheap imitation. I'd get this script and every one had a chase sequence, every scene was either set in a garage or a vacant lot or a warehouse with everybody getting gunned down.
I've been fortunate to do what I consider three landmark films. The French Connection (1971) spawned a whole era of the relationship between two policemen, based on an enormous amount of truth about working on the job. Jaws (1975) was the first big, blockbuster outdoor-adventure film. And certainly All That Jazz (1979) is not like any old MGM musical. Each one of these films is unique, and I consider myself fortunate to be associated with them.
The Theater lies like the truth. That's Harold Clurman's phrase. The Theater lies because it expands the truth. And by expanding and dramatizing the truth, it makes it more than just the facts. That's what writers do. That's what actors do. That's what I do.

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