'Jaws' Star Roy Scheider Dies at 75
Scheider, who lived in
Taylor said Scheider had been receiving treatments at the hospital's Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy in recent years. On its website, the institute says that it has kept patients alive for six to seven years after diagnosis, about twice the national average.
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
His favorite role, he said, was playing choreographer Joe Gideon, a thinly disguised stand-in for Broadway choreographer
That role earned Scheider some of his best reviews.
And then-Times critic Charles Champlin wrote that Scheider "is a wonderment, a dancing dynamo whose portrayal of this life-splurging, death-obsessed man poses the Academy voters another mind-boggling decision."
It was not a decision that came down in his favor -- Scheider never won
Scheider played Det. Eddie Russo, the abrasive, street-smart partner of "Popeye" Doyle, played by
"Every time I started reading, the director sitting out there in the dark in the theater would interrupt and ask me how tall I was," Scheider recalled in a 2001 interview with the
Scheider was reportedly born Nov. 10, 1932, in Orange, N.J., although in some interviews he indicated he was born in 1935. He grew up in the
From the age of 8, he said, he worked weekends pumping gas at his father's service station, a job he loathed. "It's true that I had more pocket money than my friends, but I also had more responsibilities," he said in a 1975 interview with The Times. "I was driving cars around that place when I was 11. But what I really wanted to do was go swimming with the other kids."
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.
After a stint in the Air Force, Scheider began acting at
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).
For decades, Scheider had been active politically, participating in protests against the Vietnam and Iraq wars and for environmental issues on
In December 2004, while seeing a doctor for a routine examination, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Ten months later, speaking about the experience on "The Today Show," he said he considered himself lucky. "Every single day, it's a miracle," he said.
Scheider's first marriage, which ended in divorce, was to film editor Cynthia Scheider. He is survived by his second wife,
Times staff writer Scott Glover and Times researcher Robin Mayper contributed to this report.