His portrayal of the pimp Frank Ligourin in Klute was the first time I ever laid eyes on Roy Scheider, and even at a young, impressionable age I got why Jane Fonda’s Bree Daniels found it tough to leave him–and the life–behind. In the matter of Roy, you couldn’t look away–not in Klute or Jaws, The French Connection, Marathon Man (as William Devane’s lover–sorry, very hot), All That Jazz or even Jonathan Demme’s neglected Last Embrace (rent it).
He amassed a nice canon of roles (including Broadway’s Betrayal with Blythe Danner and Raul Julia), but you had to wonder: instead of DeNiro, what if it had been Scheider in The Deerhunter (already committed to Jaws 2, he had to turn it down) or The Verdict instead of Paul Newman (negotiations fell through). Big as he was, he should have been bigger. R.I.P.