Roy Scheider, star of Jaws, dies at 75

Society Materials 11 February 2008 10:44 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Actor Roy Scheider, best-known for his role as the police chief and reluctant shark hunter in "Jaws," has died in hospital in Little Rock in the US state of Arkansas. He was 75.

His wife, Brenda Seimer, told The New York Times that he died Sunday of a staph infection, a complication after he had suffered for several years from multiple myeloma, or cancerous tumours of the blood marrow.

Scheider began his acting career on the stage in Shakespeare plays before winning film roles, most famously in Steven Spielberg's Jaws, the 1975 film that launched the summer blockbuster. In it, Scheider plays Police Chief Martin Brody, who teams up with a marine biologist and a shark hunter to kill a great white shark that is terrorizing the coast of Brody's US hometown.

He reprised the role in Jaws 2 and uttered the famous line "You're gonna need a bigger boat" in the initial film after Brody first lays eyes on the shark. It was voted 35th on the list of the greatest US film lines by the American Film Institute.

Scheider garnered two Oscar nominations, the first for best supporting actor for 1971's The French Connection, in which he played a police detective on the hunt for a heroin shipment alongside Oscar winner Gene Hackman. His second Oscar nod was for best actor for 1979's All That Jazz, choreographer and director Bob Fosse's autobigraphical film.

Born November 10, 1932, in Orange, New Jersey, Scheider made more than 40 films with his first major role coming as a pimp alongside Jane Fonda in Klute, also in 1971.

Marathon Man followed in 1976 as did character roles through the 1990s, including in the thriller In the Still of the Night with Meryl Streep, the spy film Russia House with Sean Connery and Naked Lunch, based on the book by William S Burroughs.

He also appeared for three season on the television series SeaQuest DSV as the captain of a futuristic submarine.

Seimer, whom Scheider married in 1989, was his second wife. They had two children, and Scheider also had a third child from his first marriage to Cynthia Bebout, which ended in 1989 after 36 years.