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Bittersweet Birthday



Tomorrow is my birthday.  I'm looking forward to it, 31 sounds a lot easier than 30 was.  It's occurring during a time of transition and change for me, so my focus hadn't really been on it at all up until about a week ago.  For as much as I am happy to celebrate another birthday, it's very bittersweet....


Last night, my girlfriend Zoey delivered some terrible news.  When I tell you, you're going to think I'm exaggerating my feelings, but I assure you, they are legitimate.

Roy Scheider AKA Martin Brody, has passed.

I fell in love with this man instantly, the first time I saw Jaws as an adult.  I appreciated his "everyman" demeanor and his ability to connect with the audience.  He played the role of hero, without ever conforming to hero stereotypes.  The scene in Jaws where he sits at the dinner table and his son mimics his actions is, in my honest opinion, one of the most touching scenes ever shown in a motion picture.  Roy followed up with Jaws 2, that while not being a great movie, was still worth it, to see him.  He nailed the role of Heywood Floyd in the 2001 sequel 2010, a vastly underrated film that couldn't possibly live up to it's predecessor.  I later on saw him in The French Connection, Blue Thunder, Marathon Man and most recently in The Punisher.  I remember getting giddy seeing him on screen with my current man-crush Thomas Jane.  I'm proud to say that Roy Scheider is probably my favorite actor, though I haven't felt the need to view all of his work to come to that conclusion.  At the age of 75, his passing was certainly not a shock to me, but a great sorrow swept over me.  It's especially saddening when you learn the details of his illness.

Roy died of multiple myeloma.  It is a form of cancer.  It is the same type of cancer that took my mother's life.  Roy's passing served as a reminder to my mother's passing, not that I lack reminders of that event.  In a weird sort of way, I felt like this cancer was my great white shark, stalking me, killing those around me.  And here I am, Mr. Easygoing, just trying to do my job, trying to be the Martin Brody for my own little Amity Island.  Except there isn't a Hollywood ending to ridding us of this predator.  I'd love to be able to look cancer dead on, and with my best Scheider voice say "smile you sonofabitch", and blow it to smithereens.  But I'll settle for just a simple cure.

So please, next time you have an opportunity to donate a little bit of cash to some cancer research, please do.  Let's beat this thing man.  Tell your elected officials to stop wasting money on a war machine and devote more to protecting us from a real enemy.  Let's put real threats at the forefront of our "wars".  That's what Martin Brody would do.

Check out Jaws, 2010, The French Connection and All That Jazz the next chance ya get, I think you'll come away with a newfound appreciation for Roy. 


November 10, 1932 - Februrary 10, 2008


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