Scheider appeared in numerous memorable films of the 1970s, most notably “The French Connection” and “Jaws.” While he was relegated to B-movies and television during the last 15 years, it was always a treat to see him in any medium. For example, his performance as Frank Castle’s father in “The Punisher” was the best aspect of an otherwise dreadful movie.
Sadly, Scheider passed away from myeloma in 2008. Below are five of his greatest performances.
- Klute (1971): Scheider’s breakthrough performance was as Jane Fonda’s sleazy pimp who treats controlling and destroying women as simply business.
- The French Connection (1971): Gene Hackman won an Academy Award for his portrayal of an asshole cop who would burn anyone to make a bust. The only reason you cared about him was because of Scheider’s performance as his partner whose philosophy was, “If I didn’t like this guy, who would?”
- The Seven-Ups (1973): This movie features one of the great car chases ever captured on celluloid. Car chases are made great by two things: visuals and purpose. Scheider gives it the latter.
- Jaws (1975): If your town is ever threatened by some leviathan, pray that your police chief has the composure and courage of Scheider’s Martin Brody.
- All That Jazz (1979): Scheider’s favorite performance was of the self-destructive director/choreographer Joe Gideon. Throughout the picture, you may be disgusted with him, but you never stop rooting for him.