Monday, February 11, 2008

In Memory Of Roy Scheider 1932 - 2008

I got a phone call early this morning to inform me of the passing of a great actor who had an illustrious career in film and television. Roy Scheider was born in New Jersey in 1932 to a German mechanic father and an Irish Catholic mother. After suffering rheumatic fever as a child he used amateur boxing to regain his strength. He attended college in Pennsylvania and served in the United States Air Force as an air traffic controller before becoming one of the most respected actors of his generation.

Among his movies were, Jaws (and it's first sequel), The French Connection, 2010, Cohen & Tate and The Punisher. The latter in which he excellently played Frank Castle's crusty gun-loving father who's brutally gunned down along with the rest of his family (below).

In most of the obituaries you'll read about Scheider today and in the coming days the authors will of course emphasise that he is best known as Chief Brody in Jaws, and I've no doubt he is, but Jaws is let's face it, is rather silly.

For me Roy Scheider will live on as two far more fascinating characters than Chief Brody. One is Officer Frank Murphy, a troubled Vietnam war veteran, prone to flashbacks and now a helicopter pilot with the LAPD and in the midst of a family crisis, to whom the government entrust a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art gunship known as Blue Thunder. The other is of course his greatest television role as Captain Nathan R. Bridger (right), Commander of the SeaQuest DSV 4600 in the much beloved '90's science fiction series SeaQuest DSV.

Scheider was nominated for an Academy Award, A BAFTA and a Golden Globe for the 1979 movie All That Jazz, nominated for a Best Supporting Actor for The French Connection in 1980 and for a Saturn Award in 1984 for Blue Thunder but sadly did not win any. Nevertheless, Scheider has provided us with many hours of quality entertainment for which he will be remembered forever.

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