Roy Scheider 1932 - 2008
Roy Scheider, the actor who famously exclaimed "We're gonna need a bigger boat" in Jaws (1975), died Sunday at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences hospital. He was 75 years old. The cause of death has not been disclosed, but Scheider had been undergoing treatment for multiple myleoma for the past two years at the University's Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy. Scheider made his feature debut in a horror film, Del Tenney's 1962 vengeance-from-beyond-the-grave romp The Curse of the Living Corpse. Between Oscar nods for his turns in 1971's The French Connection and 1979's All That Jazz, he appeared in Steven Spielberg's blockbuster shark flick Jaws (1975) and its immediate sequel, Jeannot Szwarc's Jaws 2 (1978). In 1991, Scheider played the mysterious Dr. Benway in David Cronenberg's 1993 adaptation of William Burrough's Naked Lunch. Toward the latter years of his career, he contributed his talents to low-budget horrors like The Doorway (2000) and both of the sequels to Dracula 2000 - Dracula II: Ascension (2003) and Dracula III: Legacy (2005).
My first experience with Roy Scheider was in the 1993 sci-fi television series SeaQuest DSV, in which he played the captain of a high-tech submarine in the future. It was my favorite television series at the time and I remember being very unhappy when Scheider left the series after the second season. Later I discovered his understated, textured performances in Jaws, The French Connection, 2010, Naked Lunch, and RKO 281. He was my first favorite modern-day actor and I knew that a movie would be at least a little good when his name appeared in the credits. Thank you, Mr. Scheider, for all the brilliance you brought to the movies and television.