The man who beat Jaws, executed a perfect loop in a helicopter, channeled Bob Fosse, and met the Star Child left the building yesterday afternoon. Roy Scheider died at the age of 75 from complications due to a staph infection (he’d been battling multiple myeloma for some time).
As a kid, Scheider was a ubiquitous presence on my television screen, more than not due to what I’ll call his lesser work (Jaws 2*, Blue Thunder, SeaQuest DSV), but c’mon: Jaws. The French Connection. Klute. Sorcerer. All that Jazz. That’s some damn fine 70’s iconography at work. (And I’ll be honest: I loved 2010 when I was a lad. I think I watched it every time it was on HBO.)
So we’ll say goodnight to Roy Scheider, and tip our hats to a fine actor via this appropo scene from All That Jazz, in which Scheider’s Joe Gideon faces the consequences of his hard living via a Fosse extravaganza.
*Weird trivia: Roy Scheider was the first choice to play Michael Vronsky in The Deer Hunter. Universal had Scheider under contract to make a sequel to Jaws, so Roy had to drop out, which left the role to Robert De Niro. I gotta say, I would have liked to have seen him in that role.