Roy Scheider – “You’re gonna need a bigger boat….”

In one of my jobs I work for a company the plays movies in parks and other outdoor settings. For we get to show films at a lot of birthday parties and last year we were playing in a rather unusual place. We were on Lake Tuscaloosa showing this movie to all of these boats that were on the lake parked and watching the film. It was like a drive-in for boats. The cool thing was that the movie was perfect for this event. It was Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws.

I was not luck to see Jaws when it first came out in 1975 but did see it many years later on a re-release. The film scared the hell out of me  enough that we skipped the beach that year.

Jaws is regarded as the father of the summer blockbuster movie . In the movie the police chief of Amity Island, a Summer resort town, tries to protect beachgoers from a great white shark by closing the beach, only to be overruled by the town council, which wants the beach to remain open to draw a profit from tourists. After several attacks, the police chief enlists the help of a marine biologist and a professional shark hunter. Roy Scheider stars as police chief Martin Brody, Richard Dreyfuss as marine biologist Matt Hooper, the late Robert Shaw as shark hunter Quint.

Roy Scheider, best known for that rolein Steven Spielberg’s 1975 shark-attack smash hit has taken his Final taxi at age 75.

A stage actor when he began his career, Scheider was nominated twice for Academy Awards for his movie roles. The first was for best supporting actor as Gene Hackman’s police partner, Buddy Russo, in “The French Connection” (1971). He was later nominated for best actor for his depiction of a womanizing, drug- taking Broadway choreographer inspired by Bob Fosse in “All That Jazz” (1979).

The American Film Institute, on its list of the 100 greatest movies from 1907 to 2007, placed “Jaws” at 51 and “The French Connection” at 93.

Those two films and “All That Jazz” were among seven Scheider movies that are considered classics.’ The others are “Klute” (1971), “The Seven-Ups” (1973), “Marathon Man” (1976) and “Blue Thunder” (1983).

Roy Richard Scheider was born Nov. 10, 1932, in Orange, New Jersey, and battled rheumatic fever when he was 6 and again at 10 and 15. Restricted in his activities, he became a regular movie-goer.

“I dreamed, and the movies took me to the South Seas, to all the places I wanted to go,” he said

His health improved in his late teens, and when he was about 17 he began boxing at the local YMCA. Under the tutelage of a retired welterweight, Scheider entered the Golden Gloves competition in Elizabeth, N.J. He won one fight and lost the next. In the process, he got his nose broken, creating the slightly off-kilter profile that lent him authenticity in his later tough-guy roles.
He graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania with a degree in history, intending to become a lawyer. After serving three years in the U.S. Air Force, he pursued his acting career, debuting in “Romeo and Juliet.”

His film debut was in Del Tenney’s “Curse of the Living Corpse” (1964). He won attention for his role in “Klute” in 1971, followed months later by “The French Connection.” Among other notable films, he appeared in “Marathon Man” (1976), “Sorcerer” (1977), “Jaws 2” (1978), “Still of the Night” (1982), “2010” (1984) and “The Russia House” (1990).

In a career spanning four decades, Scheider appeared in more than 60 films, as well as in numerous roles on stage and television. But his most acclaimed roles came in a span of eight years in the 1970s, beginning with “The French Connection” in 1971.

He probably will be best remembered for his role as Martin Brody, the water-shy police chief in “Jaws” (1975) who uttered the immortal line: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” after seeing the size of the shark. He once lamented that the role “will be on my tombstone.”

Among other notable films, he appeared in “Jaws 2” (1978), “Still of the Night” (1982), “2010” (1984) “The Russia House” (1990) Naked Lunch ( 1991) and The Punisher (2004).

In 1993, Scheider signed on to be the lead star in the Steven Spielberg-produced television series SeaQuest DSV. He played as Nathan Bridger, captain of the eponymous high-tech submarine seaQuest DSV 4600. He has also repeatedly guest-starred on the NBC television series Third Watch.

3 Responses

  1. Jaws was one of the first movies I ever saw “by myself” in the theater without my parents. It was terrifying.

    I STILL am scared of sharks! Da dum…da…dum….da dum da dum dam dum….

    I actually saw a man come off a boat who lost his leg to a shark. These things stay with you!

    My family goes deep sea fishing, we have since…uh…1975. Every single year. Off the Texas coast.

    Funny story: Years and years I was too afraid to swim out in the middle of the ocean, in part because of this movie, in part because of the man without the leg!

    In the late 1990’s one hot steamy August afternoon I was SO hot and the water was SO purple and cool and we had caught no fish, it seemed like the water was empty. I said, what the hell. I’ll swim for a while.

    After about 10 minutes my dad said, “I want you to come back into the boat” He was so calm and cool. Our friend Steve came in just after me. Only then did my dad tell and then point to the sharks that showed up.

    I will NEVER ever, do that again.


  2. My wife and I saw Jaws the summer it came out, in 1975. It was the next-to-last movie we were to see as a couple, I forget the other. All I remember is that a few years later we divorced in a brutal frenzy, making Brucie the shark look like something in a can, particularly on TV. Thank you, Steven Spielberg.

  3. Please do not forget that Roy still has one more film to go; IRON CROSS!!!

    More info.

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