I heard last night that Roy Scheider, a two-time Oscar nominee best known for his role as a police chief in the blockbuster movie “Jaws,” died Sunday. He was 75.
Scheider was best known for his role in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 film, “Jaws.”
Widely hailed as the film that launched the era of the Hollywood blockbuster, it was also the first movie to earn $100 million at the box office.
In 2005, one of Scheider’s most famous lines in the movie – “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” – was voted No. 35 on the American Film Institute’s list of best quotes from U.S. movies.
He was nominated for a best-supporting actor Oscar in 1971’s “The French Connection” in which he played the police partner of Oscar winner Gene Hackman and for best-actor for 1979’s “All That Jazz,” the autobiographical Bob Fosse film.
“All That Jazz” made an indelible impact on me. As a teenager growing up in Northern Mississippi, you’d have to understand that Broadway plays–Broadway music; would be “not right” to be interested in.
But THAT movie, that guy Fosse and that actor Scheider changed all that jazz.
Here was a story about Joe Gideon, a Broadway choreographer and director, who was working on a play that was sex-laden, AND at the same time he was directing a film about a stand-up comedian. (Fosse directed “Lenny”, the Broadway play and movie about the life of Lenny Bruce.)
Joe was an alcoholic, a womanizer, a drug addict–not exactly a role model. BUT, he was cool. Not “Oklahoma-wind-sweeping-down-the-range-Broadway” cool; but sex, drugs and rock and roll cool. Roy Scheider played him perfectly.
In the movie, Joe Gideon is one cigarette, one drink, and one night of sex away from a major heart attack. He fantasizes about the extravaganza that will be his death. So much so, that the finale of the movie is a Broadway show fantasy of Joe’s choreographed death. Dancers, music, a complete horn section and actor Ben Vareen singing a duet with Roy Scheider of the Everly Brothers’ “Bye, Bye Love”. (Ben Vereen appeared in Fosse’s “Pippin“)
Okay, I shouldn’t tell you this; but you probably already know I sang as a kid in front of the mirror.
My best friend, Jim Folse and I used to do this song. I was the Ben Vereen part. Go Figure.
If you have ten minutes, this is the finale. It starts slow, but it builds. Considering the death of Roy Scheider, some may find the end in poor taste. I offer it as a tribute from a fan. Yeah, “Jaws” was good–big shark, blah, blah, blah; but this is why I’ll remember Roy Scheider.