As Mike alluded to so succinctly on the front page, it is very difficult to imagine the reality that our favorite actor of all time, Roy Scheider, has passed away at the age of 75.
Like many stars do, Roy has a virtual legion of fans. Many who have followed his career thru the years and awaited every tidbit of info available; before the dawn of computers, whether it be Variety or Rona Barrett. To say Mike and I fit the bill is possibly the greatest of understatements. Even more so than the casual fan, or even manic fan, Mike and I brought Roy into the realm of our own world reality.
Back in the day (‘77-’80), as many of you know, Mike and I were inseparable. To say our life pursuit at the time was anything and everything Roy Scheider would be putting it mildly. So entrenched in our young lives was Mr.Scheider that we began to threaten one another with picking up the phone and giving Roy the Boy, as we affectionately called him, a phone call. I believe the threat went something like this…
Mike: “Hey Matt, can I have your Rona Barrett Hollywood Jaws issue.
Mike: “No???? Welllll, Dear Roy, Matt says you suck………“
Added to the gag was the occasional cassette tape threat, one of which Mike still owns. Understand this was not a once or twice event. No, it was damn near daily. It was a very subtle thing to be sure, but one that involved the man himself, from the perspective of the young.
I'll never forget the day Mike walked up to me and, smiling, said he had a surprise for me. It was none other than a autographed photo from Roy the boy, personalized to wish me a happy birthday.
Every new movie was met more enthusiastically than any Siskel/Ebert thumb's up. Even in films killed by bad directing or editing, critics would praise Roy's performance which would stand out as superb. And when one was a smash, like Blue Thunder or All that Jazz, it was than just a little awesome. It was like our own personal reward from Roy the Boy.
With all the message boards abuzz with news of his passing, Roy Scheider could not possibly imagine he meant so much to so many. Whatever he accomplished in his life, which was quite impressive, he can be sure he also brought unending joy and fellowship to two young kids from Tampa. That he himself played such an integral part in our lives and brought us so much happiness.
Still, today, I just can’t bring myself to believe it. Even though I know it's true.
In closing, I would like to say…
“Thank you, Roy, for everything. Your legacy will live forever, as sure as your loss will remain, always, unimaginable.”
Rest in peace.