Richard Dreyfuss

Richard Dreyfuss

Infobox actor

imagesize =
caption = Dreyfuss at the Big Apple Convention in Manhattan, June 8, 2008.
birthname = Richard Stephen Dreyfuss
birthdate = birth date and age|1947|10|29
birthplace = Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
academyawards = Best Actor
1977 "The Goodbye Girl"
1995 "Mr. Holland's Opus"
baftaawards = Best Actor
1978 "The Goodbye Girl"
goldenglobeawards = Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical/Comedy
1978 "The Goodbye Girl"
spouse = Jeramie Rain (1983-1995)
Janelle Lacey (1999-?)
Svetlana Erokhin (2006-)

Richard Stephen Dreyfuss (born October 29, 1947) is an Academy Award-winning American actor, known for a number of film, television and theater roles, such as "Jaws" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".


Early life

Dreyfuss was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Norman, an attorney and restaurateur, and Geraldine, a peace activist. [ [ Film biography] ] Dreyfuss is Jewish [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.] and his surname is of Yiddish origin, believed to originate in the German city of Trier, which had a large Jewish population in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. The Latin name for the city was "Treveris", of which Dreyfuss is a variant. He commented that he "grew up thinking that Alfred Dreyfus and I are of the same family."Brozan, Nadine. [ "Chronicle"] . New York Times. 20 November 1991.] Dreyfuss spent his early childhood in Brooklyn and in Bayside, Queens, until he moved to Los Angeles with his family at the age of nine. In 1965, he graduated from Beverly Hills High School in Beverly Hills, California.Fact|date=August 2008


Dreyfuss's acting career began while as a youth at the Beverly Hills Jewish Center. He debuted in the TV production "In Mama's House" when he was fifteen. He attended the San Fernando Valley State College (later re-named California State University, Northridge) for a year. He was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War and worked 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 like "Peyton Place", "Gidget", "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's first film part was a small, uncredited role in "The Graduate" and had one line, "Shall I call the cops? I'll call the cops." He was also briefly seen as a stage hand in "Valley of the Dolls", in which he had a few lines. He made a strong impressionFact|date=August 2008 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".

He went on to star in the box office blockbusters "Jaws" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", both directed by Steven Spielberg. Dreyfuss was originally supposed to reprise his role as Hooper in "Jaws 2". It fell through when Peter Benchley was asked to include this in his screenplay.Fact|date=August 2008

At age 30, Dreyfuss became the youngest actor to win an Best Actor Award,Fact|date=August 2008 for his portrayal of a struggling actor in "The Goodbye Girl". This record has since been surpassed by Adrien Brody.

Around 1978, Dreyfuss began using cocaine frequently; his addiction came to a head four years later, when he was arrested for possession of the drug at the scene of a collision between his car and a tree. [ [ Biography] ] He entered rehab and eventually made a Hollywood comeback with the film "Down And Out In Beverly Hills".

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. While growing up in Beverly Hills, he lived within six blocks of Michael Burns, who became a preeminent expert on the Dreyfus affair and the author of "". Dreyfuss later worked with Burns as producer and took on the role of Georges Picquart in "Prisoner of Honor", a HBO movie about the historical incident released in 1991.

In 1994, Dreyfuss participated in the historic "Papal Concert to Commemorate the Shoah (Holocaust)" at the Vatican in the presence of Pope John Paul II, Rav Elio Toaf, chief rabbi of Rome, and Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, President of Italy. 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 on stage. In April 2004, he appeared in the revival of "Sly Fox" on Broadway (opposite Eric Stoltz, René Auberjonois, Bronson Pinchot and Elizabeth Berkley).

In 2001/2002, he played Max Bickford in the television drama "The Education of Max Bickford".

In November 2004, he was scheduled to appear in "The Producers" in London, but withdrew from the production a week before the 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. His assistant and himself for the production stated that Dreyfuss was accumulating injuries that required him to wear physical therapy supports during rehearsals. [ [,,1394899,00.html Adam, Karla; "My musical hell";; January 21, 2005] ] Nathan Lane was brought in to replace Dreyfuss in the London production.

Dreyfuss teamed with Harry Turtledove in 1995 to write "The Two Georges", a conspiracy thriller set in an alternate reality in which the American colonies remained under British rule (published by Hodder and Stoughton, ISBN 0-340-62826-X). Dreyfuss recorded the voiceover to the famous Apple, Inc., then Apple Computer, Inc., Think Different ad campaign in 1999. The text of the ad begins, "Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels..."

In 2006, he appeared as one of the survivors in the 2006 film "Poseidon". Dreyfuss is currently a Senior Associate Member of St. Antony's College, University of Oxford. Dreyfuss is set to portray U.S Vice President Dick Cheney in "Oliver Stone"'s 2008 George W. Bush bio-pic "W". [ [ "Richard Dreyfuss is Dick Cheney"'; The Hollywood Reporter"; May 22, 2008] ]

Dreyfuss has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Blvd. [ [ Hollywood Walk of Fame; Hollywood Chamber of Commerce] ]

Personal life

From 1983 until 1995, Dreyfuss was married to Jeramie Rain, with whom he had three children: Emily Robin (born 1983), Benjamin Darrow (born 1986) and Harry Spencer (born 1991). In 1999, he married Janelle Lacey. After divorcing Lacey, he married Russian-born Svetlana Erokhin on March 16, 2006, in Harrisonburg, Virginia, while there to speak at James Madison University. Dreyfuss and Erokhin now live in San Diego.

Dreyfuss's mother died on October 19, 2000 due to complications from a stroke. [ [ eOnline Profile] ]

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 with manic-depression. [ [ "Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive"] .]

On August 9, 2008, it was reported that Dreyfuss is suing his father and uncle over a 24-year-old loan he claims was never repaid. He says he gave his relatives USD$870,000 in 1984 when they owned an interest in a Los Angeles office building. In court papers filed on August 8, 2008, he claims the loan is still outstanding and that his uncle, Gilbert, has refused to turn over financial records. He is reported to be seeking repayment of the loan, plus interest and punitive damages. [ [ "Jaws star sues family over loan";; August 9, 2008] ]

Political activity

He has been outspoken on the issue of media informing policy, legislation, and public opinion in recent years, both speaking and writing to express his sentiments in favor of privacy, freedom of speech, democracy, and individual accountability. [Zweyner, Astrid. [ "Oscar-winner Dreyfuss campaigns against "shaped news" "] . 27 April 2006.]

Dreyfuss has organized and promoted campaigns to inform and instruct audiences in potential erosion of individual rights, a personal initiative he began in 2006 in light of political events in the U.S. [ [ The Education of Richard Dreyfuss] - "Boston Globe"] On February 16, 2006, Dreyfuss spoke at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. in hopes of prompting a national discussion on impeachment charges against U.S. President George W. Bush. [ [ Summary and video footage of speech] ] On November 17, 2006, Dreyfuss appeared on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" as a panel member to discuss teaching civics in schools. [ [ Morris, Michele AARP Richard Dreyfuss's New 'Opus'] ] Dreyfuss currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. [ [ National Constitution Center - Near Independence Hall in Historic Philadelphia ] ] In 2007, Dreyfuss appeared in the youth voting documentary film 18 in '08. [ [ YouTube - 18 in '08 Trailer ] ]



External links

*imdb name|id=0000377|name=Richard Dreyfuss
*ibdb name|id=38537|name=Richard Dreyfuss
* [ Performance] "Working in the Theatre" seminar video at American Theatre, April 1992
* [ Richard Dreyfuss at the Oxonian Society - video]
*tvtome person|id=1395|name=Richard Dreyfuss
* [ Footage of appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher on Youtube]
* [ Richard Dreyfuss on "Being an American" from the documentary "18 in '08"]

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