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Richard Dreyfuss

Richard Dreyfuss

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Also Known As: Richard Stephan Dreyfus Died:
Born: October 29, 1947 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: actor, producer, director, writer, hospital clerk

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

At one time, the youngest actor ever to win the coveted Best Actor Oscar, Richard Dreyfuss - at age 29 - was propelled to stardom with his complex performance in "The Goodbye Girl" (1977). Thanks to his uncanny ability to make annoyingly vain, pompous, whiny or supercilious characters seem both heroic and likable, he rose to the top of the Hollywood heap with memorable turns in "American Graffiti" (1973), "Jaws" (1975) and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977). Though he was the epitome of cockiness on screen, there was always something reassuring about his presence, though he did gain the dubious off-screen reputation for being exceedingly arrogant. On top of the world at the end of the 1970s, Dreyfuss was poised to become one of the major superstars of the next decade. Instead, Dreyfuss blew his movie-star career sky-high through a cocktail of cocaine, booze and pills; yet another example of too much, too fast, too soon. After a period of recovery, Dreyfuss rebounded, both chastened and wiser with "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" (1986), "Stakeout" (1987) and "What About Bob?" (1991), reclaiming his mantle as one of Hollywood's most gifted comedic and dramatic actors. ...

At one time, the youngest actor ever to win the coveted Best Actor Oscar, Richard Dreyfuss - at age 29 - was propelled to stardom with his complex performance in "The Goodbye Girl" (1977). Thanks to his uncanny ability to make annoyingly vain, pompous, whiny or supercilious characters seem both heroic and likable, he rose to the top of the Hollywood heap with memorable turns in "American Graffiti" (1973), "Jaws" (1975) and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977). Though he was the epitome of cockiness on screen, there was always something reassuring about his presence, though he did gain the dubious off-screen reputation for being exceedingly arrogant. On top of the world at the end of the 1970s, Dreyfuss was poised to become one of the major superstars of the next decade. Instead, Dreyfuss blew his movie-star career sky-high through a cocktail of cocaine, booze and pills; yet another example of too much, too fast, too soon. After a period of recovery, Dreyfuss rebounded, both chastened and wiser with "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" (1986), "Stakeout" (1987) and "What About Bob?" (1991), reclaiming his mantle as one of Hollywood's most gifted comedic and dramatic actors.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Zipper (2014)
2.
 Very Good Girls (2013)
3.
 Cas & Dylan (2013)
4.
 Casting By (2013)
5.
 Paranoia (2013)
6.
 Squatters (2013)
7.
8.
 Shakespeare High (2011)
9.
 Piranha 3D (2010)
10.
 Red (2010)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began acting at age 9 at the West Side Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles, CA
1964:
At 15 made professional stage debut with "In Mama's House" at the Gallery Theatre in Los Angeles
1964:
First television appearance, the NBC sitcom "Karen"
1966:
Directed by Rob Reiner in the stage production of "The Session" with Larry Bishop (son of Joey), Reiner, and David Arkin
1967:
First film part, uncredited role in "The Graduate"
1968:
Delivered memorable role as a cocky car thief in "The Young Runaways"
1969:
Made Broadway debut in "But, Seriously..."
:
Worked at New York Playboy Club with comedy troupe; was fired after his first performance for insulting customers
1971:
Appeared in Israel Horowitz's off-Broadway play "Line"
1972:
TV movie debut, "Two for the Money" (ABC)
1973:
Played Baby Face Nelson in John Milius' "Dillinger"
1973:
Garnered notice for his turn as the college-bound Curt in George Lucas' "American Graffiti"
1974:
Landed first lead role in the Canadian film "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz"
1975:
Breakthrough role, played marine biologist Matt Hooper in Steven Spielberg's "Jaws"
1977:
Second collaboration with Spielberg, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"
1977:
Won Best Actor Academy Award for his role as a struggling actor opposite Marsha Mason in Neil Simon's "The Goodbye Girl"
1978:
Produced and starred in feature film "The Big Fix"
1978:
Played Cassius in "Julius Caesar" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music
1979:
Starred as Iago in "Othello" with the New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park
1981:
Turned in remarkable performance as paralyzed sculptor who argues for his right to die in John Badham's "Whose Life Is It Anyway?"
1986:
Started as part of the fine ensemble of Paul Mazursky's "Down and Out in Beverly Hills"
1986:
Narrated director Rob Reiner's "Stand By Me"
1987:
Produced, wrote and hosted TV special "Funny You Don't Look 200!" (ABC)
1987:
Offered excellent turns in both Barry Levinson's "Tin Men" and Badham's "Stakeout"
1988:
Re-teamed with Mazursky as the very broad actor-cum-dictator of "Moon Over Parador"
1989:
Third film with director Spielberg, starring opposite Holly Hunter in "Always"
1991:
Executive produced Ken Russell's "Prisoner of Honor" (HBO); also co-starred as George Picquart
1991:
Re-teamed with Hunter for Lasse Hallstrom's "Once Around"
1991:
Portrayed Bill Murray's shrink in "What About Bob?"
1992:
Returned to Broadway in "Death and the Maiden" with Glenn Close and Gene Hackman
1993:
Appeared in feature film version of Neil Simon's play "Lost in Yonkers"
1994:
Stage directorial debut, "Hamlet" for the Birmingham Theatre Company at the Old Rep in England
1995:
Earned second Best Actor Academy Award nomination for "Mr. Holland's Opus"
1995:
Acted opposite Christine Lahti in the Los Angeles stage production of "Three Hotels"
1996:
Made cameo appearance as Senator Bob Rumson in Reiner's "The American President"
1996:
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (October)
1996:
Directed the short film "Present Tense, Past Perfect" (Showtime)
1997:
Played a civil rights attorney based on William Kunstler for Sidney Lumet's "Night Falls on Manhattan"
1997:
Co-produced and starred as Fagin in the TV adaptation of "Oliver Twist" (ABC)
1998:
Starred opposite Jenna Elfman in "Krippendorf's Tribe"
1998:
Re-teamed with Mason for the stage play "House," co-authored by Jon Robin Baitz and Terrence McNally
1999:
Co-starred with Mason in the London stage production of Simon's "The Prisoner of Second Avenue"
1999:
Portrayed infamous Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky in HBO's "Lansky"; scripted by David Mamet and directed by John McNaughton
2000:
Cast as an aging gangster in the comedy "The Crew"
2001:
Co-starred in "The Old Man Who Loved to Read Stories"
2001:
Starred in the CBS TV drama "The Education of Max Bickford"
2001:
Played U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig in Showtime drama "The Day Reagan Was Shot"
2004:
Returned to Broadway in "Sly Fox" opposite Elizabeth Berkley
2004:
Co-starred with Chris Cooper in John Sayles' political satire "Silver City"
2006:
Starred in director Wolfgang Petersen's remake of "The Poseidon Adventure"
2008:
Portrayed U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in Oliver Stone's biopic "W."
2009:
Cast in Joe Sutton¿s "Complicit" at London¿s Old Vic theater; directed by Kevin Spacey
2009:
Earned a Grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word for the album <i>The Lincoln-Douglas Debates</i>
2010:
Played a local drug lord in Tim Blake Nelson's "Leaves of Grass"
2010:
Acted opposite Elisabeth Shue in the action thriller "Piranha 3-D"
2010:
Portrayed Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel in the Colin Greer play "Imagining Heschel" at New York's Cherry Lane Theater
2012:
Co-starred with Lauren Ambrose and Geena Davis in A&E miniseries "Coma," based on 1978 film
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Beverly Hills High School: Beverly Hills , California - 1965
San Fernando Valley State College: Northridge , California - 1965 - 1967
San Fernando Valley State College: Northridge , California - 1965 - 1967

Notes

Dreyfuss is a charter member of the Los Angeles Classic Theatre Works group.

His producing partnership with Judith Rutherford James, Dreyfuss/James Productions, has shared producing responsibilities on "Once Around" (1991, in which Dreyfus starred), Robert Redford's "Quiz Show" (1994), the TNT movie "Kissinger and Nixon" (1995) and "Krippindorf's Tribe" (1998, in which he also starred), among other projects.

"I have no memory of not wanting to be an actor." --Richard Dreyfuss ("Earl Blackwell's Entertainment Celebrity Register)

"I didn't anticipate the guilt and the fear of success. I didn't anticipate the down side of success at all . . . I started to resist the position I was in by drinking a lot, doing drugs, eating too much, being childish, denigrating my talent." --Dreyfuss in Esquire, October 10, 1978.

Arrested for illegal possession of cocaine and Percodan after surviving a 1982 car accident, Dreyfuss underwent a court-ordered rehabilitation in lieu of a trial.

"I got into films to be Spencer Tracy and Edward G. Robinson and Paul Muni. I knew I wasn't Errol Flynn. I also knew I didn't have to be." --Richard Dreyfuss to Empire, June 1996.

"I'm 50 and stale. What's the big surprise? I've been performing for 41 years and famous for 25 of them. I know my life has been pretty blessed, and part of my Jewish guilt can't accept that.

"But in the worst moments of my darkest hours, I've never devalued the work I've done. I've always been proud of the aggregate body. And now I've gotta figure out where I want it to lead." --Richard Dreyfuss in New York Post, February 23, 1998.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Jeramie Dreyfuss. TV writer-producer. Met at a party c. 1983; married on March 20, 1983; separated in 1992; divorced in 1995; born c. 1948; mother of his three children; suffered a flare up of systemic lupus erythematosus after birth of first child Emily; originally diagnosed at 29 after having had recurring attacks for years.
companion:
Laura Cayouette. Actor. Together from c. 1993 to 1996; born c. 1964; daughter of NSA deputy director William Crowell.
wife:
Janelle Lacey. Accountant. Announced engagement in May 1998; married on May 30, 1999.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Norman Dreyfus. Attorney, businessman. Later became a restaurateur.
mother:
Gerry Dreyfus. Also a peace activist; acted in two movies with son, "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" (1986, portraying his mother) and "Let It Ride" (1989); died on October 19, 2000 from complications of a stroke.
daughter:
Emily Dreyfuss. Born in November 1983; mother, Jeramie Dreyfuss.
son:
Benjamin Dreyfuss. Born in June 1986 with Peter's anomaly, an abnormality in which his cornea was fused with his iris leaving him permanently blind in one eye; mother, Jeramie Dreyfuss.
son:
Harry Spencer Dreyfuss. Born on August 9, 1990; mother, Jeramie Dreyfuss.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"The Two Georges"

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