Monday, February 11, 2008

R.I.P. Roy Scheider

Oddly, I wasn’t greeted with the news of Roy Scheider’s passing at the age of 75 on my Bombast web page (though I will link to it here) because frequent TDOY commenter Pam sent me the sad tidings via e-mail, which was sent around 1:00 am or so. (Nice to see Pam’s keeping an eye on events as they happen on the night shift.)

Practically every obit is going to mention his role as Chief Martin Brody in the 1975 Steven Spielberg blockbuster Jaws...and I suppose it’s only fitting, since it’s probably his best-known showcase. (His Oscar nominations, however, were for Best Supporting Actor in The French Connection [1971] and Best Actor in All That Jazz [1979].) The Bombast article also mentions that his line from the film—“You’re gonna need a bigger boat”—is one of the most oft-quoted movie lines in history, but personally I always find myself spouting “They’re in the YAHd, not too FAH from the CAH” whenever I’m showing off my atrocious New England accent. (I also like the quotes from Scheider in the obit that riff on the fact that the Brody character was actually a bit of a stumblebum, adding much needed comic relief.)

At Rancho Yesteryear, Jaws is known as “the fish movie,” so my Mom was a bit more saddened than I upon learning of Scheider’s death. (Fortunately, I have hidden her DVDs of Jaws and Jaws 2 (1978), otherwise we’d be subjected to an all-day marathon.) Still, I will miss Scheider terribly—he had an admirable acting style that often allowed him to underplay his parts and win me over (even in his turn as evil scumbag insurance company CEO Wilfred Keeley in The Rainmaker [1997]). Among my favorite Scheider performances: as Frank Ligourin in Klute (1971), Harry Hannan in Jonathan Demme’s Hitchcock homage Last Embrace (1979) and studio head George Schaefer in RKO 281 (1999). (Roy will, however, have to do a few hundred years in purgatory for SeaQuest DSV.)

R.I.P., Roy. I just got a line that Last Embrace is available on a Region 2 Netherlands DVD, and I’m going to track down a copy…so you won’t be missed.

No comments: