Roy Scheider biography
Date of Birth: November 10, 1932
Born and raised in Orange, New Jersey, Scheider has a classical background in acting that began in his college days at Rutgers and at Franklin and Marshall college. The weathered faced, and broken-nosed (which happened during his second bout in New Jersey's Diamond Gloves Competition) actor made his professional debut playing Mercutio in the 1961 New York Shakespseare Festival production of Romeo and Juliet. He followed this up by spending the next few years playing classic roles in repertory theater. In 1968, he won an Obie for the play Stephen D.
In 1964, Scheider made an unremarkable film debut in The Curse of the Living Corpse, and subsequently appeared in two more mediocre films before making an impact with his Oscar-nominated performance as officer Buddy Russo, Gene Hackman's partner in The French Connection (1971). Now retired producer/director Phil D'Antoni, who cast Roy in French Connection and then starred him in The Seven Ups, says, "He's absolutely the same person today he was ten years ago. He's filled with enthusiasm on anything he does, he's a total and complete open book, and he's the only guy I know as an actor who doesn't seem like one."
Wanting to avoid typecasting, he next appeared in the largely unsuccessful romantic comedy Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York (1975). Scheider got his big break the following year when Steven Spielberg gave him the leading role in his blockbuster hit Jaws (1976), the film that made both Spielberg and Scheider Hollywood stars.
1979 proved a very good year for Scheider who appeared in the thriller, The Last Embrace and most notably as a complicated, chain-smoking and self-destructive Broadway choreographer in All That Jazz. Scheider's performance earned him a second Oscar nomination and a Palm D'Or at Cannes.
The '70s proved to be the high-point of Scheider's film career for during the '80s, he appeared in films of such varying quality that it seemed as if he might disappear from the screen altogether. Making a come back in the 90's, Scheider has become a strong supporting actor in such films as Naked Lunch (1991) and The Myth of Fingerprints (1997). He became a television star in 1993 when he was given the lead in Steven Spielberg's sci-fi series SeaQuest (1993-95).
In 1962, Roy married actress/editor Cynthia Bebout. The marriage lasted 24 years and together they had one child, Maximillia. In 1989, Roy married again, this time to fellow actress from Sea Quest, Brenda King. With Brenda he fathered two more children (Christian and Molly), and he is now a grandfather.
"I'm driven, yes, in that I don't want to fail in my work. Fear of failure drives me. No, I never had a fear of success." The thought makes him laugh. "My career has gone up on levels, slowly. Never had one of those huge breakthroughs where you go from bottom to top not equipped to handle it." Roy Scheider
Roy Scheider Filmography