He hadn't been in anything "famous" in recent years, but he'd kept on working, and was always one of my favorite actors. Never flashy, just a hard-working guy who did his job, and was good at it.
"He was a wonderful guy. He was what I call a 'knockaround actor.' A 'knockaround actor' to me is a compliment that means a professional that lives the life of a professional actor and doesn't yell and scream at the fates and does his job and does it as well as he can."
Not a bad epitaph for anyone, no matter what the line of work.
Some great tributes to Scheider (with a special hat tip to Sheila):
The scene that Ted Pigeon describes in the last tribute is one of the best in Jaws, and in addition to shining a spotlight on the greatness of Scheider, gave movie fans an early glimpse of what makes Steven Spielberg special. Sometimes Spielberg goes overboard with the schmaltz (the final scene of Saving Private Ryan comes to mind), but when it works, it really works. And it's the little moments like this one in Jaws that elevate the film from what could easily have been a trashy exploitation flick (like Jaws 2, for instance) into the masterpiece that it is.