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Twenty years before actor Roy Scheider was chasing sharks in "Jaws," as Police Chief Martin Brody, he was giving orders in the Air Force.
Scheider, who died Sunday, served as an active-duty Air Force officer for three years in the mid-1950s and later was a reservist, according to accounts of Scheider's life.
The actor passed away 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.
According to the book "Roy Scheider: A Film Biography," Scheider joined ROTC in 1953 at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. The book says he joined, in part, to avoid being drafted. At Franklin and Marshall, He majored in history as a pre-law student there while acting in college productions.
After Scheider graduated in 1955, he spent three years in the service as a first lieutenant, working, according to some accounts, as an air traffic control officer.
When his active-service commitment ended, Scheider began acting full-time, while continuing to serve as a reserve officer.
"I received my [Air Force] Reserve captaincy in the dressing room of the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Conn. And everyone fell to the floor," Scheider recalled in the biography. It's not clear when Scheider's reserve duty ended.
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.
In 2005, one of Scheider's most famous lines in the movie — "You're gonna need a bigger boat" — was voted No. 35 on the American Film Institute's list of best quotes from U.S. movies.
Widely hailed as the film that launched the era of the Hollywood blockbuster, "Jaws" was the first movie to earn $100 million at the box office.
Source: Air Force Times