Dreyfuss at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival
|Born||Richard Stephen Dreyfus
October 29, 1947
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
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, Mr. Holland's Opus, and The Goodbye Girl.
Dreyfuss won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1978 for The Goodbye Girl (1977), 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.
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 Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills Arts Center and Westside Jewish Community Center under drama teacher Bill Miller. He debuted in the TV production In Mama's House, when he was fifteen. He attended San Fernando Valley State College, now California State University, Northridge, 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 role was a small, uncredited appearance 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 years, 125 days old), besting Marlon Brando, who had won his first Oscar in 1955 at the age of 30 years 360 days old. This record stood for 25 years until it was broken in 2003 by Adrien Brody, who was three weeks 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 films Down And Out In Beverly Hills in 1986 and Stakeout the following year. Dreyfuss also starred in the Rob Reiner movie, Stand by Me, a 1986 American coming-of-age drama/comedy film adapted from Stephen King's novella The Body. Dreyfuss plays the elder Gordie Lachance, who narrates the film. In 1988, he reunited with director Paul Mazursky to star in the political farce Moon Over Parador.
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 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).
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. Dreyfuss was eventually fired from the production, though he would return in 2008.
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.
On February 18th, 2015, it was announced that Dreyfuss would portray Bernie Madoff in an upcoming miniseries.  He will be playing opposite Blythe Danner as Ruth Madoff, and filming began in June 2015 for an expected release in December 2015.
Dreyfuss has been outspoken on the issue of how the media influences the shaping of public opinion, policy, and legislation. In the 2000s, he 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 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 civics and American history in American primary schools. His goal is to bring civics back to the American people, to empower future generations with the critical-thinking skills they need to fulfill the vast potential of American citizenship. in 2006, Dreyfuss began The Dreyfuss Initiative, a nationwide non profit advocacy group intended to advocate for the teaching of civics in U.S classrooms. 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.
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. Dreyfuss has stated that he is an agnostic.
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 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.
Awards and nominations
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- Film Reference.com biography
- "Overview for Richard Dreyfuss". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
- Jacobs, Andrea. "Richard Dreyfuss at middle age: A rebellious Jew finds his own wisdom". The Jewish Advocate. March 1995.
- Academy Award Winning Actor Richard Dreyfuss Speaks at BHCC. PR Newswire.
- Brozan, Nadine. "Chronicle". The New York Times. 20 November 1991.
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- Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 2000
- Personal interview
- J.C. Maçek III (2012-08-02). "'American Pop'... Matters: Ron Thompson, the Illustrated Man Unsung". PopMatters.
- "WorldCat". Worldcat.org. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
- "Hollywood Beat". The Afro American. 1972-04-08. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
- MTV.com Biography
- "Touching: Steve Jobs Voicing One Of Apple's Iconic 'Think Different' Campaign Commercials". Geekologie. October 7, 2011
- Adam, Karla. "My musical hell". The Guardian. January 21, 2005
- "Dreyfuss in London stage return". BBC News November 3, 2008
- "Richard Dreyfuss is Dick Cheney". comingsoon.net. The Hollywood Reporter. May 22, 2008
- Thompson, Warwick. "Richard Dreyfuss, Sporting Earpiece, Triumphs in New Play ". Bloomberg News. January 29, 2009
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- Joyce Eng. "Richard Dreyfuss to Appear on Weeds". TVGuide.com.
- Hollywood Walk of Fame; Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
- Zucker, Bill. "The 'BILL ZUCKER SHOW' takes to the Oscars Red Carpet!!" on YouTube. March 19, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
- "Richard Dreyfuss To Play Bernie Madoff In ABC Miniseries".
- Strohm, Emily (26 Jun 2015). "First Look: See Blythe Danner and Richard Dreyfuss as Ruth and Bernie Madoff". Time Inc. People Magazine.
- Petski, Denise (26 Jun 2015). "‘Madoff’ Miniseries: Blythe Danner & Richard Dreyfuss As Ruth & Bernie Madoff – First Look". Penske Business Media. Deadline.com.
- Zweyner, Astrid (27 April 2006). "Oscar-winner Dreyfuss campaigns against .shaped news.". Reuters.
- The Education of Richard Dreyfuss – Boston Globe
- Summary and video footage of speech
- Morris, Michele AARP Richard Dreyfuss's New 'Opus'
- National Constitution Center – Near Independence Hall in Historic Philadelphia
- 18 in '08 Trailer on YouTube
- Ballasy, Nicholas (26 Jan 2011). "Actor Richard Dreyfuss: ‘I Ceased Being a Democrat a While Ago’". Media Research Center. CNS News.
- Dreyfuss, Richard. "Our Mission". The Dreyfuss Initiative. Richard Dreyfuss.
- King, Susan (20 Aug 2013). "Richard Dreyfuss: A lesson in civics, and civility". LATimes.com. Los Angeles Times.
- "Special Report: Actor Richard Dreyfuss says America needs civics lesson". WorldNow and KUSI. KUSI News. 27 Aug 2014.
- Associated, Press (21 Aug 2014). "Richard Dreyfuss: Politics Should Be Noble Calling". CBS News. The Associated Press.
- Kahn, Joseph P. (February 7, 2007). "The education of Richard Dreyfuss". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- Schindehette, Susan. "Risen from the Ashes, Richard Dreyfuss Faces His Family's Pain with Strength, Not Self-Pity", People March 4, 1991
- eOnline Profile
- Owen, Jonathan (September 17, 2006). "Stephen Fry: My battle with mental illness". The Independent.
- Mannes, Tanya. "Earth-friendly house in works". Sign on San Diego. March 9, 2009
- Tension Between Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw in "JAWS"
- Shaw vs Dreyfuss-Jaws The Inside Story on YouTube
- Lambie, Ryan (5 September 2012). "The production nightmares that made Jaws a classic". Dennis Publishing. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
- Rabin, Nathan (8 October 2009). "Richard Dreyfuss". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
- Meyers, Kate (19 March 1993). "A Bill Murray filmography". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
- Photo Flash: Ride of Fame Honors Richard Dreyfuss Broadway World. November 5, 2010.
|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
- Richard Dreyfuss at AllMovie
- THR: Richard Dreyfuss finds 'Happiness'
- The Dreyfuss Initiative