Roy Scheider

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Roy Scheider
Scheider in 2007
Roy Richard Scheider

(1932-11-10)November 10, 1932
DiedFebruary 10, 2008(2008-02-10) (aged 75)
Other names
  • Roy R. Scheider
  • Roy Schneider
  • Actor
  • amateur boxer
Years active1952–2008
  • (m. 1962; div. 1986)
  • Brenda Siemer
    (m. 1989)
Children3, including Christian Scheider

Roy Richard Scheider (/ˈʃdər/; November 10, 1932 – February 10, 2008) was an American actor and amateur boxer. Described by AllMovie as "one of the most unique and distinguished of all Hollywood actors",[1] he gained fame for his leading and supporting roles in celebrated films from the 1970s through to the early to mid-1980s. He was nominated for two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and a BAFTA Award.[2]

His best-known roles include Chief Martin Brody in Jaws (1975) and its sequel Jaws 2 (1978); NYPD Detective "Cloudy" Russo in The French Connection (1971); NYPD Detective "Buddy" in The Seven-Ups (1973); Doc Levy in Marathon Man (1976); Jackie Scanlon / Juan Dominguez in Sorcerer (1977); choreographer and film director Joe Gideon in All That Jazz (1979); Officer Frank Murphy in Blue Thunder (1983); and Dr. Heywood R. Floyd in the 1984 film 2010: The Year We Make Contact, the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey. He was also known for playing Captain Nathan Bridger in the science-fiction television series seaQuest DSV (1993–1996).

Early life[edit]

Scheider was born in Orange, New Jersey,[3] 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.[4][5] 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 lb (63.5 kg). 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.

Amateur boxing[edit]

Between 1946 and 1949, Scheider boxed as an amateur in New Jersey.[6] 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.[7] 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 to post an 11–1 (six knockouts) record,[6] reversing his defeat by Greenberg in the process.[6]

Military service[edit]

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 captain in the Air Force Reserve Command until 1964.[8]

Acting career[edit]

Scheider's first film role was in the horror film The Curse of the Living Corpse (1964). 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). In 1968, Scheider appeared with the New York Shakespeare Festival, and also won an Obie Award for Distinguished Performance[9] in James Joyce's play Stephen D, appearing in it 68 times at the East 74th Street Theater.[10] He appeared in the films Stiletto (1969), Loving (1970), and Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970), and on television in Where the Heart Is and Cannon.

In 1971, he appeared in two highly popular films, Klute, directed by Alan Pakula, and The French Connection, directed by William Friedkin. 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.[3] Scheider became much in demand. He went to Europe to have key supporting roles in The French Conspiracy (1972) and The Outside Man (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.[3] Scheider's ad-libbed line,[11] "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.[12]

Scheider was initially set to appear in the lead role in Michael Cimino's never-filmed romantic thriller Perfect Strangers, but the film was canceled due to "political machinations" at Paramount.[7] Ironically,[why?] Scheider was later offered the role portrayed by Robert De Niro in Cimino's The Deer Hunter (1978), which was the second film of a three-picture deal with Universal Studios.[3] He reunited with French Connection director William Friedkin in Sorcerer (1977), the second adaptation of the 1950 French novel The Wages of Fear.[3] Although the film didn't do well at the box office, it has since acquired a large cult following.

Still under contract after dropping out two weeks before The Deer Hunter started 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.[3] Scheider starred in Last Embrace (1979), a thriller directed by Jonathan Demme. He received his second Academy Award nomination, this time as Best Actor in All That Jazz (1979), in which he played a fictionalized version of the film's director and co-writer Bob Fosse.[3] Some of the film's production was portrayed in the FX miniseries Fosse/Verdon, in which Scheider was played by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

He made a thriller with Meryl Streep for Robert Benton, Still of the Night (1982), which was a box-office disappointment. The following year, however, his box office performance improved with Blue Thunder (1983),[3] a John Badham film about a prototype attack helicopter that provided security over the city of Los Angeles during the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. He 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.[13] 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 (1990). 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.[3] Scheider played a mob boss who meets a horrific fate in the Gary Oldman crime film Romeo Is Bleeding (1994)[3] 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 appeared among an ensemble cast in The Myth of Fingerprints (1997), for which he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. 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. Scheider hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live in the 10th (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 broadcasts. He 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 Detective Goren (played by Vincent D'Onofrio). He narrated and was associate producer of the 2006 Jaws documentary The Shark is Still Working.[14] In 2007, Scheider received one of two annual Lifetime Achievement Awards at the SunDeis Film Festival in Waltham, Massachusetts.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Scheider married Cynthia Bebout on November 8, 1962.[15] The couple had one daughter, Maximillia (1963–2006), before divorcing in 1986.[16] On February 11, 1989, he married actress Brenda Siemer, with whom he had a son, Christian Scheider, and adopted a daughter, Molly.[17] They remained married until his death.[3]


In 2004, Scheider was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. In June 2005, he received a bone marrow transplant to treat the cancer.[18] He died on February 10, 2008, in Little Rock, Arkansas, at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center.[19]



Year Title Role Notes
1964 The Curse of the Living Corpse Philip Sinclair
1968 Paper Lion Unknown uncredited
1969 Stiletto Bennett
1970 Loving Skip
1970 Puzzle of a Downfall Child Mark
1971 Klute Frank Ligourin
1971 The French Connection Detective Buddy 'Cloudy' Russo
1972 The French Conspiracy Michael Howard
1972 The Outside Man Lenny
1973 The Seven-Ups Buddy, Seven-Up
1975 Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York Sam Stoneman
1975 Jaws Chief Martin Brody
1976 Marathon Man Agent Henry 'Doc' Levy
1977 Sorcerer Scanlon / Dominguez
1978 Jaws 2 Chief Martin Brody
1979 Last Embrace Harry Hannan
1979 All That Jazz Joe Gideon
1982 Still of the Night Sam Rice
1983 Blue Thunder Officer Frank Murphy
1984 2010 Dr. Heywood Floyd
1985 Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters Narrator (voice)
1986 The Men's Club Cavanaugh
1986 52 Pick-Up Harry Mitchell
1987 Jaws: The Revenge Chief Martin Brody Archive Footage
1989 Cohen and Tate Cohen
1989 Listen to Me Charlie Nichols
1989 Night Game Mike Seaver
1990 The Fourth War Colonel Jack Knowles
1990 The Russia House Russell
1991 Naked Lunch Dr. Benway
1993 Romeo Is Bleeding Don Falcone
1997 The Myth of Fingerprints Hal
1997 Plato's Run Senarkian
1997 Executive Target President Carlson
1997 The Rage John Taggart
1997 The Peacekeeper President Bob Baker
1997 The Rainmaker Wilfred Keeley
1997 The Definite Maybe Eddie Jacobsen aka No Money Down
1998 Evasive Action Enzo Marcelli
1998 Better Living Tom
1998 The White Raven Tom Heath
2000 Chain of Command President Jack Cahill
2000 Falling Through Earl
2000 The Doorway Professor Lamont
2000 Daybreak Stan Marshall
2001 Time Lapse Agent La Nova
2002 The Good War Colonel Gartner aka Texas '46
2002 Angels Don't Sleep Here Mayor Harry Porter aka Blakflash 2
2003 Citizen Verdict Governor 'Bull' Tyler
2003 Dracula II: Ascension Cardinal Siqueros
2003 Red Serpent Hassan
2004 The Punisher Frank Castle Sr.
2005 Dracula III: Legacy Cardinal Siqueros
2005 Love Thy Neighbor Fred
2006 Last Chance Cumberland short film
2007 Chicago 10 Judge Julius Hoffman (voice) Documentary
2007 The Poet Rabbi aka Hearts Of War
2007 If I Didn't Care Linus Boyer aka Blue Blood
2007 The Shark Is Still Working Narrator (voice) Documentary
2008 Dark Honeymoon Sam direct-to-video
2009 Iron Cross Joseph Released posthumously; final acting role


Year Title Role Notes
1955 The United States Steel Hour Dancer Episode: A Wind from the South
1962 The Edge of Night Kenny
1964 Camera Three Face Episode: The Alchemist
1965–1966 Love of Life Jonas Falk Various Episodes
1966 Lamp at Midnight Francesco Barberini Television Movie
1967 The Secret Storm Bob Hill #1
1967 Coronet Blue Apartment Manager Episode: A Charade for Murder
1968 N.Y.P.D. Paul Jason Episode: Cry Brute
1969 This Town Will Never Be the Same Performer Television Movie
1971 Cannon Dan Bowen Episode: No Pockets in a Shroud
1972 Assignment: Munich Jake Webster Television Movie
1983 Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number Jacob Timerman Television Movie
1983 Tiger Town Billy Young Television Movie
1985 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: Roy Scheider
1990 Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture Paul Marish Television Movie
1993 Wild Justice Peter Stride Television Movie
1993–1995 seaQuest DSV Captain Nathan Bridger 47 episodes
1997 Money Play$ Johnny Tobin Television Movie
1999 Silver Wolf John Rockwell Television Movie
1999 The Seventh Scroll Grant Schiller Mini-Series
1999 RKO 281 George Schaefer HBO Movie
2001 Diamond Hunters Jacob Van der Byl Television movie
2002 King of Texas Henry Westover Television movie
2002 Third Watch Fyodor Chevchenko 6 episodes
2005 Carrier: Arsenal of the Sea Narrator (voice) TV documentary
2007 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Mark Ford Brady Episode: Endgame
2007–2009 Family Guy Himself (voice) 2 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1971 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor The French Connection Nominated [20]
1979 Best Actor All That Jazz Nominated
1979 Golden Globes Best Actor – Film Musical of Comedy Nominated
1980 British Academy Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
1980 National Society of Film Critics Best Actor Nominated
1997 Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Actor The Myth of Fingerprints Nominated


  1. ^ "Roy Scheider". AllMovie.
  2. ^ "Roy Scheider". TV Guide. Archived from the original on October 2, 2017. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kehr, David (February 10, 2008). "Roy Scheider, Actor in "Jaws", Dies at 75". New York Times. p. 6. Archived from the original on August 7, 2017. Retrieved February 10, 2008.
  4. ^ "Obituaries: Roy Scheider". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. February 11, 2008. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  5. ^ Kachmar 2002, p. 5.
  6. ^ a b c d "Roy Scheider". Archived from the original on January 5, 2019. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Kachmar 2002, p. 118.
  8. ^ "Scheider, Roy, Jr., Capt". Archived from the original on June 3, 2020. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  9. ^ "1968 Obie Awards Winners". Archived from the original on January 12, 2023. Retrieved January 12, 2023.
  10. ^ Kachmar, Diane C. (2015). Roy Scheider: A Film Biography. McFarland. p. 20. ISBN 9781476609034.
  11. ^ "Obituary: Roy Scheider". BBC. February 11, 2008. Archived from the original on February 14, 2008. Retrieved February 11, 2008.
  12. ^ Canby, Vincent (October 7, 1976). "Marathon Man (1976) 'Marathon Man' Thriller of a Film". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 29, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  13. ^ Canby, Vincent (December 7, 1984). "2010 (1984) '2010', PURSUES THE MYSTERY OF '2001'". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  14. ^ Labrecque, Jeff (August 8, 2012). "'Jaws' Blu-ray extra: 'The Shark is Still Working'". Entertainment Weekly. Meredith Corporation. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  15. ^ Scott, Vernon (October 20, 1986). "Scheider: at his wife's mercy;NEWLN:UPI Arts & Entertainment -- Scott's World". United Press International. Hollywood. Archived from the original on May 12, 2018. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  16. ^ "Roy Scheider : le héros des 'Dents de la mer' emporté par un cancer". Pure People. Webedia. February 11, 2008. Archived from the original on May 13, 2018. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  17. ^ Bergan, Ronald (February 12, 2008). "Roy Scheider". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Archived from the original on May 13, 2018. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  18. ^ Derakhshani, Tirdad (June 21, 2005). "Roy Scheider battling multiple myeloma". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  19. ^ Landsberg, Mitchell (February 11, 2008). "Roy Scheider; star of 'Jaws' and 'All That Jazz'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  20. ^ "Roy Scheider". IMDb. Archived from the original on December 8, 2022. Retrieved February 13, 2020.


External links[edit]