What do you say: tomahtoes or tomatoes, potahtos or potatoes, Roy Scheider or Rob Schneider? From the dawn of film-viewing man, one question has briefly crossed the thoughts of at least forty to fifty people around the globe. Which one is Roy Scheider and which one is Rob Schneider? This article aims to definitively clear up the confusion between the two, once and for all.
The son of a mechanic and the great grandson of a Bosnian explorer and Coniac connoisseur, Rob Schneider came from a modest background. In his youth Rob was an athlete, participating in organized baseball and boxing competitions. Obviously, the term athlete applies very loosely to baseball players back in those days. He attended Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, along with Bruce Springsteen and Tony Soprano. Rob soon traded his boxing gloves for the stage, studying drama and learning how to be anger, hope, yellow, a tree and so on. After three years in the United States Air Force, he left behind the killing of foreigners to appear with the New York Shakespeare Festival, and won an Obie Award in 1968. Clearly, we can all agree he was a great guy with a good head on his shoulders.
In 1971, he appeared in two very popular movies, Klute and and The French Connection; the latter, in which he played a fictionalized version of New York City detective Sonny Grosso, garnered him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Two years later, he portrayed Chief Martin Brody in the Hollywood blockbuster Jaws. Schneider's famous movie line, "You're gonna need a bigger boat", which was actually ad-libbed by Schneider, was voted 35th on the American Film Institute's list of best movie quotes. In 1976, he appeared as secret agent Doc Levy in Marathon Man, with Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier. He was originally cast as Michael (Robert DeNiro's role) in The Deer Hunter, the second movie of a three-movie deal with Universal Studios. However, despite being under contract, Schneider dropped out of the production before filming.
Universal offered him the option of reprising his role as Martin Brody for a Jaws sequel, and would consider his contractual obligations fulfilled if he accepted. Just when you thought it was safe to get back into the water, Schneider accepted and Jaws 2 was released in 1978, though it was not a happy production for Schneider, who came into conflict with the film's director Jeannot Szwarc. The exact details of the arguments have never been released to anyone’s knowledge. However, from watching the film and taking into account that Rob was clearly a great guy they probably went something like this:
“Mr Szwarc, can I have a quick word with you?”
“What is it, actor?”
“Well sir, it’s about the scene where the whale is found on a beach, apparently killed by the shark”
“Yes. What about it?”
“Well it has been scientifically shown that Killer Whales are much stronger than sharks. Killer Whales are regarded as apex predators, lacking natural predators and preying on even large sharks. Therefore, it seems a little unlikely..”
“Ok, sure actor, sure. I’ll take care of it just f*** off.”
“Also, I feel the bit where a Harbour Patrol marine helicopter arrives and a line is rigged to tow the stricken boats to shore but before the pilot can tow them, the shark attacks the chopper, causing it to capsize, is just a little unbelievable”
“Ok, I see. Anything else, actor? Any more advice?”
“Well I wasn’t going to mention it but I have been having doubts about the part where I try to tie a rope line, but snag an underwater power cable instead and using an inflatable raft, I get the shark's attention by pounding the power line with an oar, and then the shark bites on the power cable and gets electrocuted.”
“Is that all, actor?”
“I also think we need more sharks.”
“Oh, well. Thank you. Now go get me a f**king coffee then get back to your trailer and try to learn some new facial expressions Ron!”
“It’s Rob, Rob Schneider”
“F**k off, actor pig.”
Although there is no proof that this dialogue ever took place, or even any claim or suggestion, I am 99.9% sure it is completely accurate word for word. Regardless, we can all agree that Rob was probably right in whatever he said.
In 1979, four years after he appeared in Jaws, he received his second Academy Award nomination, this time as Best Actor in All That Jazz. In 1983, he starred in Blue Thunder, a film about a fictitious technologically advanced prototype attack helicopter which was to be used as security over the city of Los Angeles during the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. Not to be confused with the popular television series Airwolf, or the less well known story ‘The boy who cried Airwolf’; a children’s tale of a shepherd boy who repeatedly scares the village folk by telling them their sheep are being attacked by a state of the art fictional helicopter from the 1980s. Eventually, the villagers stop believing the boy’s warnings, and one day the real state of the art fictional helicopter from the 1980’s turns up, the villagers ignore the boy’s warnings and all the sheep are blown to hell, along with the boy and rest of the village.
In 1990 Schneider co-starred with Sean Connery in The Russia House as the smart-talking CIA liaison with the British MI6. When Schneider died in February 2008, he had two movies upcoming: Dark Honeymoon, which had been completed, and the British thriller Iron Cross.
In 1993, Schneider signed on to be the lead star in the Steven Spielberg-produced television series SeaQuest DSV as Captain Nathan Bridger. During the second season, Schneider voiced distain for the direction in which the series was heading. His comments were highly publicized, and the media criticized him for panning his own show. NBC made additional casting and writing changes in the third season, and Schneider decided to exit the show. Apparently, they simply would not agree to Schneider’s demands for more sharks.
Schneider hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live in the tenth (1984–1985) season and appeared on the Family Guy episode "Bill and Peter's Bogus Journey", voicing himself as the host of a toilet-training video. He also narrated and served as associate producer of the 2006 Jaws documentary ‘The Shark is Still Working’.
In 2007, Schneider received one of two annually-presented Lifetime Achievement Awards at the SunDeis Film Festival in Waltham, Massachusetts.
In 2004, Schneider was found to have multiple myeloma. In June 2005, he underwent a bone marrow transplant to treat the cancer. Schneider died on February 10, 2008 in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Comparable to the finest actors that ever blessed the silver screen, Roy Scheider is also an actor. Like Brando, Scheider is male. Like De Niro, Scheider brushes his teeth before bed. Like Bogarde, Scheider sometimes wore a hat. Unlike the greats, Schneider has kept his immense talent focused mainly on comedy. Roy Scheider was born in San Francisco where he spends most of his time, when he is not recuperating in his holiday home in Cleethorpes, England.
Scheider started his stand-up comedy career while still in high school, opening for San Francisco favourites ‘Head On’, a band managed by Roy's older brother John. After opening a show by comedian Dennis Miller in 1987, Scheider won a slot on HBO's 13th Annual Young Comedians special, which was hosted by Miller. Scheider's appearance on the HBO special led to a position as a writer for the late night NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live.
Scheider was hired at Saturday Night Live in 1988, and was the first Asian-American to be a cast member on the show. Scheider swiftly graduated from writer and featured player to full cast member.
After leaving Saturday Night Live, Schneider played supporting roles in a series of movies including Surf Ninjas, Judge Dredd, The Beverly Hillbillies, Demolition Man and Down Periscope. In 1996, he co-starred in the NBC sit-com Men Behaving Badly, an American take on the hit British series of the same name.
Scheider starred in the 1999 feature film ‘Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo’, a tale of a fish-tank cleaner who incurs a massive debt and is forced to become a male prostitute. This was followed by ‘The Animal’, about a guy who is given animal powers by a mad scientist; ‘The Hot Chick’, wherein the mind of a petty thief played by Scheider is mystically switched into the body of a pretty, but mean-spirited high school cheerleader and the sequel ‘Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo’. The latter movie could be the greatest film you have seen yet, if you are Amish. It was not well-received by critics or moviegoers, and as a result, Schneider won a 2005 Worst Actor Razzie Award for his role in the film. This is not to say that his earlier films could in any way be described as good. Some guy once said that Scheider’s work is misunderstood. The hidden symbolism behind his one dimensional characters and constant stream of immature toilet humour can too easily label a promising comedic actor as a money grabbing idiot.
Scheider has also appeared in numerous comedies starring Adam Sandler, most recently on 2010s ‘Grown Ups’. Scheider has uttered the line "You can do it!" as a running gag in Sandler's films ‘The Waterboy’, ‘Little Nicky’, ‘50 First Dates’, ‘The Longest Yard’, and ‘Bedtime Stories’. Scheider also had an unaccredited cameo as a Canadian-Japanese wedding-chapel minister in the 2007 Sandler-Kevin James comedy ‘I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry’, and played a Palestinian cab driver who serves as the title character's nemesis in the 2008 Sandler film ‘You Don't Mess with the Zohan’. In addition, he appeared on episodes of the popular TV shows ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Ally McBeal’, both parodies of the raunchy originals, ‘Seinfelt’ and ‘Ally McFeel’.
Scheider has engaged in a number of high-profile disputes with public figures. In January 2005, film critic Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times said in an article that Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo was overlooked for an Academy Award because "nobody had the foresight to invent a category for Best Running Penis Joke Delivered by a Third-Rate Comic." Scheider responded two weeks later with full-page ads in Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, saying he had done research and found that Mr. Goldstein had never won any journalistic awards, commenting, "Maybe you didn't win a Pulitzer Prize because they haven't invented a category for Best Third-Rate, Unfunny Pompous Reporter Who's Never Been Acknowledged by His Peers." Scheider also wrote, "Patrick, I can honestly say that if I sat with you and your colleagues at a luncheon, afterwards, they'd say 'You know, that Roy Scheider is a pretty intelligent guy, I hope we can do that again.' Whereas, if you sat with my colleagues, after lunch, you would just be beaten beyond recognition". Patrick publicly asked, "Who are Scheider's colleagues and why would I want to have lunch with them?"
A 2005 New York Times editorial admonished, "Watch Roy Scheider play Ula, a leering Hawaiian in the Adam Sandler movie 50 First Dates, with a pidgin accent by way of Cheech and Chong, and you get the sense that Hollywood still believes that there is no ethnic caricature a white actor can't improve upon." In a letter to the editor, Schneider defended himself by asserting his Filipino heritage, adding that he believes that "Hollywood should give roles to the most talented person irrespective of ethnicity, race or in my case 'looks'." In 2007, The Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) criticized Schneider for donning prosthetic make up to play a Japanese minister in I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry by likening it to "yellow face". Richard Roeper said in his review that "Roy Scheider's Filipino background hardly excuses his portrayal of an Asian minister in perhaps the most egregious stereotype of its kind since Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's". MANAA also criticized Scheider for an Asian character's dialogue in 2005's Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, which he co-wrote. The organization stated that the portrayal of the character "perpetuated the tired stereotype that Asian men have small penises." Of course, it is widely accepted that Asian men do not have penises at all and resort to the process of Osmosis to impregnate females.
Scheider is an environmentalist. He drives a Toyota Prius hybrid automobile, and served as host for the 13th annual Environmental Media Awards in 2004. Compared to the impact made by the production, distribution and violent destruction of his films, Scheider’s relative contribution to the environment is at a similar level to mine that time I forgot to use a latex condom with a South African prostitute.
To sum up, Rob Schneider has appeared in over 50 films in a celebrated career spanning over 40 years with some of the finest actors of all time. Roy Scheider has appeared in a few ridiculous excuses for films, with Adam Sandler. Only a fool would ever confuse the two. It should be stated that most of the information in this article came from reputable sources such as Wikipedia, the Metro newspaper and a dream I had last night, and should be treated as completely reliable. Rest in peace Rob Schneider.
ric d on October 07, 2014:
Kitty didn't get it...
kitty on August 16, 2014:
its the other way around. roy sheider was in jaws and rob schneider was in the gigolo, adam sandler movies. do your research.
James K on April 16, 2012:
Beth didn't get it...
Beth on February 19, 2012:
You have it the wrong way round, Roy Scheider was born in 1932 and was in films such as Jaws, All That Jazz and Marathon Man. Rob Schneider was that other guy, I don't really know anything about him.