Dreyfuss at the Big Apple Convention,
June 8, 2008.
|Born||Richard Stephen Dreyfus
October 29, 1947
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Richard Stephen Dreyfuss (born October 29, 1947) is an American actor best known for starring in a number of film, television, and theater roles since the late 1960s, including the films American Graffiti, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goodbye Girl, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Always, What About Bob?, Poseidon, Mr. Holland's Opus, and James and the Giant Peach.
Dreyfuss won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1977 for The Goodbye Girl, and was nominated in 1995 for Mr. Holland's Opus. He has also won a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, and was nominated in 2002 for Screen Actors Guild Awards in the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series and Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries categories.
Early life 
Dreyfuss was born Richard Stephen Dreyfus in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Norman, an attorney and restaurateur, and Geraldine, a peace activist, and was raised in Bayside, Queens. Dreyfuss is Jewish. He has commented that he "grew up thinking that Alfred Dreyfus and [he] are of the same family." His father disliked New York City, and moved the family first to Europe, and later to Los Angeles, when Dreyfuss was nine. Dreyfuss attended Beverly Hills High School.
Dreyfuss began acting during his youth, at the Beverly Hills Jewish Center. He debuted in the TV production In Mama's House, when he was fifteen. He attended Valley State for a year, and was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, working in alternate service for two years, as a clerk in a Los Angeles hospital. During this time, he acted in a few small TV roles on shows, Peyton Place, Gidget, That Girl, Bewitched, and The Big Valley. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, he also performed on stage on Broadway, Off-Broadway, repertory, and improvisational theater.
Dreyfuss appeared alongside Henry Fonda, Gloria Grahame, Ron Thompson, Strother Martin, Jane Alexander, Lewis J. Stadlen, Richard X. Slattery and Pepper Martin in the play The Time of Your Life, which was revived on March 17, 1972 at the Huntington Hartford Theater in Los Angeles, and directed by Edwin Sherin.
Dreyfuss's first film part was a small, uncredited role in The Graduate. He had one line, "Shall I get the cops? I'll get the cops". He was also briefly seen as a stage hand in Valley of the Dolls (1967), in which he had a few lines. He appeared in the subsequent Dillinger, and landed a role in the 1973 hit American Graffiti, acting with other future stars such as Harrison Ford and Ron Howard. Dreyfuss played his first lead role in the Canadian film The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974), receiving positive reviews, including praise from Pauline Kael.
Dreyfuss went on to star in the box office blockbusters Jaws (1975) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), both directed by Steven Spielberg. He won the 1978 Academy Award for Best Actor at the 50th Academy Awards ceremony for his portrayal of a struggling actor in The Goodbye Girl (1977), becoming the youngest actor to do so (at the age of 30). This record stood for 25 years until it was broken in 2003 by Adrien Brody, who was one month shy of age 30 at the time of the 75th Academy Awards ceremony.
Around 1978, Dreyfuss began using cocaine frequently; his addiction came to a head four years later in 1982, when he was arrested for possession of the drug after he blacked out while driving, and his car struck a tree. He entered rehabilitation and eventually made a Hollywood comeback with the film Down And Out In Beverly Hills in 1986 and Stakeout the following year.
In 1989, Dreyfuss reunited with Spielberg on Always, a remake of A Guy Named Joe in which he co-starred with Holly Hunter. He had a starring role opposite Bill Murray in the 1991 hit comedy What About Bob?, as a psychiatrist who goes crazy while trying to cope with a particularly obsessive new patient. That same year, Dreyfuss produced and starred as Georges Picquart in Prisoner of Honor, an HBO movie about the historical Dreyfus Affair.
In 1994, he participated in the historic Papal Concert to Commemorate the Shoah at the Vatican in the presence of Pope John Paul II, Rav Elio Toaf, chief rabbi of Rome, and Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, President of the Italian Republic. He recited Kaddish as part of a performance of Leonard Bernstein's Third Symphony with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Gilbert Levine. The event was broadcast worldwide.
Dreyfuss was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his performance as Glenn Holland in Mr. Holland's Opus (1995). Since then, he has continued working in the movies, television and the stage. In 2001/2002, he played Max Bickford in the television drama The Education of Max Bickford. In April 2004, he appeared in the revival of Sly Fox on Broadway (opposite Eric Stoltz, René Auberjonois, Bronson Pinchot and Elizabeth Berkley).
Dreyfuss recorded the voiceover to the Apple, Inc., then Apple Computer, Inc., Think Different ad campaign in 1997. The short version of the ad: "Here’s to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
In November 2004, he was scheduled to appear in The Producers in London, but withdrew from the production a week before opening night. The media noted that Dreyfuss was still suffering from problems relating to an operation for a herniated disc in January, and that the part of Max Bialystock in the play is a physically demanding one. Both he and his assistant for the production stated that Dreyfuss was accumulating injuries that required him to wear physical therapy supports during rehearsals. Nathan Lane was brought in to replace Dreyfuss in the London production. It later emerged that he'd been fired. In 2006, he appeared as one of the survivors in the 2006 film Poseidon. Dreyfuss portrayed U.S Vice President Dick Cheney in Oliver Stone's 2008 George W. Bush bio-pic W.
In early 2009, he appeared in the play Complicit (directed by Kevin Spacey) in London's Old Vic theatre. His participation in the play was subject to much controversy, owing to his use of an earpiece on stage, reportedly because of his inability to learn his lines in time. He guest-voiced as himself in the "Three Kings" episode of Family Guy in 2009, and later appeared again in the episode "Peter-assment". Dreyfuss has guest starred in the sixth season of Weeds as Warren Schiff, Nancy's high school teacher to whom she had lost her virginity.
Also in 2009, he portrayed the Biblical figure Moses in the Thomas Nelson audiobook production Word of Promise: Complete Audio Bible.
Other work 
Dreyfuss has been outspoken on the issue of how the media influences the shaping of public opinion, policy, and legislation. In the 2000s, he both expressed his sentiments in favor of right to privacy, freedom of speech, democracy, and individual accountability.
Dreyfuss has organized and promoted campaigns to inform and instruct audiences in what he considers potential erosion of individual rights, a personal initiative he began in 2006, responding to what he believes were violations of individual rights under the presidential administration of George W. Bush. On February 16, 2006, Dreyfuss spoke at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. in hopes of prompting national discussion on impeachment charges against U.S. President George W. Bush. On November 17, 2006, Dreyfuss appeared on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher as a panel member to discuss teaching civics in schools. Dreyfuss formerly served on the Board of Trustees of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. In 2007, Dreyfuss appeared in the youth voting documentary film 18 in '08. Dreyfuss has publicly endorsed Jonathan Tasini's campaign for Charles Rangel's congressional seat in the 15th district of New York in 2010.
Dreyfuss is involved in a nationwide enterprise to encourage the teaching of American history in American primary schools. He is a Senior Associate Member of St. Antony's College, University of Oxford.
In 1995, Dreyfuss co-authored with science-fiction writer Harry Turtledove the novel The Two Georges, an alternate history/mystery piece set in the year 1996 of an alternate timeline where the American Revolution was peacefully avoided. The Gainsborough painting of George Washington and King George III, which symbolizes English-speaking North Americans' loyalty to the British Empire, is stolen by anti-Imperial terrorists, and officers of the Royal North American Mounted Police must find it before it is destroyed.
Personal life 
Dreyfuss married writer-producer Jeramie Rain in the early 1980s. With her, he had three children: Emily (1983), Benjamin (1986) and Harry (1990). His elder son, Benjamin, was born with Peters Anomaly, a rare genetic eye disorder which, after many operations, left him blind in his left eye. Dreyfuss and Rain have continued to raise money for ophthalmology centers throughout the United States. After his 1995 divorce from Rain, Dreyfuss then married Janelle Lacey in 1999 but they divorced in 2005.
Dreyfuss suffers from bipolar disorder. In 2006, he appeared in Stephen Fry's documentary, Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, in which Fry (who also has the disorder) interviewed him about his life and use of lithium since the 1970s.
On August 9, 2008, it was reported that Dreyfuss was suing his father and uncle over a 24-year-old loan he claimed was never repaid. He said he gave his relatives $870,000 in 1984 when they owned an interest in a Los Angeles office building. In court papers filed on August 8, 2008, he claimed the loan was still outstanding and that his uncle, Gilbert, had refused to turn over financial records. He was reported to be seeking repayment of the loan, plus interest and punitive damages.
Dreyfuss and Russian-born Svetlana Erokhin married in 2006 and have lived in San Diego since then, although they frequently visit New York City and London, where Dreyfuss once lived. They initially lived in Carlsbad, California. In February 2008, they bought a $1.5 million house in the rural community of Olivenhain in eastern Encinitas, California, and plan to renovate the 1970s structure with state-of-the-art green technologies.
On June 10, 2011, Dreyfuss was made a Master Mason by the Grand Master of Masons of the District of Columbia at the Washington DC Scottish Rite building, as well as a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason and is a member of the Valley of the District of Columbia, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Richard Dreyfuss|
- Richard Dreyfuss at the Internet Movie Database
- Richard Dreyfuss at the Internet Broadway Database
- Richard Dreyfuss at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- THR: Richard Dreyfuss finds 'Happiness'