The moment we meet Roger Simmons in THE TOWERING INFERNO – crown jewel of producer Irwin Allen’s disaster flick hat trick – he doesn’t waste time exhibiting smug arrogance. Actor Richard Chamberlain infuses the character with self-aggrandizing, smarmy charm. Roger Simmons oozes true assholeishness. Long before the titular inferno begins wrecking havoc, you’ll find yourself hoping for a scene where the inferno punches Roger Simmons in the dick.
Considering Simmons was given the job as the building’s electrical subcontractor mainly because he’s married to the daughter of the contractor and then decided to cut corners on the electrical system that started the spark that causes the inferno in the first place, he’s not an easy like. Add to that he actually leaves his wife behind in an attempt to make it down the stairs. He gets half a flight down only to find the rest of the stairwell has collapsed. Simmons is forced to return to the others, his confidence shattered by defeat.
Upon returning to the Promenade Room, Simmons finds his wife made it safely to an adjacent building rooftop via the jerry-rigged breeches buoy. Desperate to avoid becoming human barbeque, Simmons gets it in his mind to jump the line. Even with his charm running on fumes, he manages to round up some lackeys. He convinces the men if they muscle their way to the front of the line, they can all ride the buoy to safety.
Once there, the lackeys learn their leader is leaving them to tussle with the others as a distraction while he goes for a solo ride to safety. The lackeys go apeshit and their bum rush for the buoy seals the fate of all clinging to the contraption.
True to his a-hole role, Simmons manages to kick a few from their precarious perch, sending them plummetting 87 stories. Alas, the fracas is too much for the buoy cables and they snap. With one unlucky soul stubbornly holding on while Simmons tries prying him loose, the buoy is sent swinging into the side of the flaming tower. Simmons and the last lackey receive a quick fricassée before falling to their unpleasant death, taking the last remaining hope of escape for the rest left behind in the Promenade Room.
Smooth move, Simmons. You selfish a-hole.