Sunday, February 10, 2008

In Memoriam: Roy Scheider

Today while driving, I saw a ridiculously dressed older man wearing too-short shorts, a silk jacket and a trucker cap festooned with commemorative pins. The first words out of my mouth upon seeing this fashion plate were, "That some bad hat Harry". The true Jaws fan will recall that line delivered dryly by Roy Scheider's character Chief Martin Brody to a droopy-boobed octogenarian wearing speedos and a bathing cap who keeps getting in Brody's line of sight while looking out for The Shark. It was one classic line out of so many from a phenomenal actor in a film that changed cinema forever.

An hour later I was saddened to learn that Mr. Scheider died this afternoon at the age of 75.

Roy Scheider
was a twice-Oscar nominated (The French Connection and All That Jazz) actor who was in some of the best movies of the 70's and a couple of cool ones in the 80's. Klute, Jaws, The French Connection, Marathon Man, Blue Thunder and All that Jazz are all his. He was dry, intense, funny and played characters always on the verge.

With that said, he will always be Chief Brody. He will always be the quietly freaked out dad/cop who was just trying to save a few tourists at his own expense. A character that really resonated with a 10-year-old kid scared to the bejeezus watching a movie about a killer shark.

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