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Last Updated: Monday, 11 February 2008, 10:32 GMT
Obituary: Roy Scheider
Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw in Jaws
Scheider's defining role was in the shark-hunt thriller Jaws

Roy Scheider, who has died at the age of 75, was one of Hollywood's most iconic stars of the 1970s.

He received two Oscar nominations for films at either end of the decade.

There was a best supporting actor nod for his role a policeman in Gene Hackman's thriller The French Connection, and he was shortlisted for best actor for playing a womanising choreographer and director in All That Jazz.

But Scheider will be best-known for his role in Jaws, as a small-town policeman out of his depth when a killer shark menaces local beaches.

Scheider was born in Orange, New Jersey, in 1932. He received his distinctive broken nose in a boxing competition, after recuperating from bouts of rheumatic fever as a child.

Intent on a law career, Scheider became interested in acting.

After serving three years in the US Air Force, his roles in college productions caught the eye of a Broadway scout, starting nearly a decade of work in repertory theatre.

Defining role

One of his first major film roles was as the pimp husband of Jane Fonda's prostitute heroine in Klute - one of the few times the weather-beaten actor played a villain.

Roy Scheider in All that Jazz
Scheider received an Oscar nomination for All That Jazz
In 1975, he took on the role that would define his career, in Jaws.

Scheider played Martin Brody, the police chief of a New England resort town threatened by a prowling great white shark.

The film, the first to gross more than $100 million, redefined the Hollywood blockbuster.

Scheider's famous line when the shark reveals itself - "You're gonna need a bigger boat" - was ad-libbed by the actor.

It made number 35 in the American Film Institute's list of most memorable film quotes.


Scheider then played Dustin Hoffman's elder brother in the psychological thriller Marathon Man (1976). He passed on a part in the Oscar-winning Vietnam War drama The Deer Hunter, before reprising his role as Chief Brody in Jaws 2 in 1978.

"I've been fortunate to do what I consider three landmark films," he told the Associated Press in 1986.

Roy Scheider (centre) at an anti-war protest in New York in 2003
The actor became a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq
"The French Connection spawned a whole era of the relationship between two policemen, based on an enormous amount of truth about working on the job."

He described Jaws as "the first big, blockbuster outdoor-adventure film".

And he went on: "Certainly All That Jazz is not like any old MGM musical. Each one of these films is unique, and I consider myself fortunate to be associated with them."

Scheider's career became less high-profile in the 1980s, starring in films such as Blue Thunder (1984) and the sci-fi sequel 2010, though he won plaudits playing Doctor Benway in David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch.

He also starred in Steven Spielberg's sci-fi TV show Seaquest DSV in the 1990s.

Two-year illness

As his film career grew quieter, the actor became more politically active.

Too many good roles to mention - but three, in Klute, French Connection and, particularly, in All That Jazz come to mind
Mirek Kondracki, UK

Moving to the Hamptons in New York state, he raised money to build a school for local children, and was a vocal opponent of US military action in Iraq.

Scheider had been suffering from multiple myeloma - cancer of the plasma - for two years.

He had been receiving treatment at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences hospital in Little Rock.

In 1962 Scheider married Cynthia Bebout, with whom he had a daughter. They divorced in 1989.

That year he married Brenda King - she survives him with their children, Christian and Molly.

Roy Scheider in Jaws

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