Roy Scheider, a one-time boxer whose broken nose and pugnacious acting style made him a star in "The French Connection" and who later uttered one of cinematic history's most memorable roles in "Jaws," has died.
Scheider died Sunday at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences hospital in Little Rock, hospital spokesman David Robinson said. He was 75.
The hospital did not release a cause of death, but Scheider had been treated for multiple myeloma at the hospital's Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy for the past two years.
Scheider earned two Academy Award nominations — a best-supporting nod for 1971's "The French Connection" in which he played the police partner of Oscar winner Gene Hackman, and a best-actor nomination for 1979's "All That Jazz," the semi-autobiographical Bob Fosse film.
But he was perhaps best known for his role as a small-town police chief in Steven Spielberg's 1975 film "Jaws," about a killer shark terrorizing beachgoers — as well as millions of moviegoers.
Born into a working class family in Orange, N.J., he was stricken with rheumatic fever at 6. He spent long periods in bed, becoming a voracious reader. Except for a slight heart murmur, he was pronounced cured at 17. He acquired the distinctive shape of his nose in an amateur boxing match.
After three years in the Air Force, Scheider sought a New York theater career in 1960. His debut came a year later as Mercutio in the New York Shakespeare Festival's production of "Romeo and Juliet." He also played minor roles in such films as "Paper Lion" and "Stiletto." Then he made a breakthrough in 1971 as Jane Fonda's pimp in "Klute."
He also appeared in the films "Marathon Man," as Dustin Hoffman's brother, "Klute," with Jane Fonda, and "Naked Lunch," David Cronenberg's adaptation of William S. Burroughs's novel. He starred in "Jaws 2," which turned out not to be as successful as the original.
TV roles included "SeaQuest DSV" and "Third Watch."
More recently, he played the slick CEO of an insurance company that denies coverage to a young man dying of leukemia in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Rainmaker," and appeared in the direct-to-video "Dracula II: Ascension" and "Dracula III: Legacy."
Roy Scheider, of 'Jaws' Fame, Dies at 75