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Overview for Richard Dreyfuss
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: Cast ... actor producer director writer hospital clerk
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BIOGRAPHY

n a traffic accident, leading to an all-out war of harassment against each other. Dreyfuss continued to work steadily, giving strong performances in "Moon Over Parador" (1988), "Always" (1989) and in his good friend and fellow drug addict Carrie Fisher's autobiographical dramedy, "Postcards From the Edge" (1990).

Once the 1990s were ushered in, Dreyfuss was once again firing on all cylinders, but this time without the aid of cocaine. After playing the leader of a wandering actors troupe in "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" (1990), he was both charming and obnoxious as a big shot salesman who sweeps an aimless Boston woman (Holly Hunter) off her feet, only to run afoul with her family in the underappreciated romantic comedy, "Once Around" (1991). In "What About Bob?" (1991), Dreyfuss was in top form as an arrogant psychotherapist whose dismissive treatment of a highly neurotic, but ingratiating patient (Bill Murray) eventually drives him over the edge. Following an unnecessary and unwanted sequel, "Another Stakeout" (1993), Dreyfuss starred in the film version of Neil Simon's "Lost in Yonkers" (1993), then played a child psychologist brought out of retirement to coax an uncommunicative autistic child (Ben Faulkner) into revealing his parents' murders in "Silent Fall" (1994). He gave another amazing performance in "Mr. Holland's Opus" (1995), playing to perfection a musician who puts aside his own ambitions in order to dedicate his life to teaching music to high school students and try to connect to his deaf son. Such was his touching performance, Dreyfuss earned his second Academy Award nomination for Best Leading Actor.

Throughout his career, Dreyfuss was an outspoken advocate for media reform and freedom of speech, while actively speaking out against the erosion of individual rights. In an ironic turn, he convincingly played a cunning Republican senator who tries to smear an unabashedly liberal president (Michael Douglas) in "The American President" (1995). Meanwhile, throughout the majority of his career, Dreyfuss was a presence on the stage, performing in numerous plays over the years - most notably opposite Christine Lahti in Jon Robin Baitz's "Three Hotels" (1995). After receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1996, he was cast by director Sydney Lumet in his moody courtroom drama, "Night Falls on Manhattan" (1997), playing a contentious lawyer who defends a drug dealer (Shiek Mahmud-Bey) after a shootout with the police leaves several officers dead. He next co-starred in a Disney production of "Oliver Twist" (ABC, 1997), then took a few steps back with the mind-numbingly dumb comedy "Krippendorf's Tribe" (1998). Returning to the small screen, he gave a sterling performance in "Lansky" (HBO, 1999), playing the famed Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky, who rose from being a petty gambler to one of the most powerful mobsters in history. He then portrayed a mobster for laughs in "The Crew" (2000), playing one of four aging gangsters looking to save their retirement complex by pretending to take a job executing a Miami mob boss.

Without a substantial hit under his belt for several years, feature roles slowly became less available to Dreyfuss, making television a more viable outlet. He turned in a fine performance as the U.S. president in Stephen Frears live broadcast remake of the tense Cold War drama, "Failsafe" (CBS, 2000), then was convincing as former Secretary of State Alexander Haig in "The Day Reagan Was Shot" (Showtime, 2001). Meanwhile, he landed his first regular series role in the short-lived drama, "The Education of Max Bickford" (CBS, 2001-02), playing a troubled college history professor battling inter-office politics while dealing with an equally difficult family life. In "Coast to Coast" (Showtime, 2004), he played a husband trying to mend his marriage by taking a road trip with wife (Judy Davis), which he followed with a return to the big screen, appearing in "Silver City" (2004), John Sayles' sharp satire about small town politics. In 2006, he joined the ensemble cast of "Poseidon," a flawed remake of the 1972 original, in which he played a suicidal gay man who struggles to escape a capsized ocean liner with a ragtag group of passengers who must rely on and trust one another despite their differences. In a bit of inspired casting, director Oliver Stone tapped Dreyfuss and all his intensity to play Vice President Dick Cheney in "W" (2008), a look at the charmed life and troubled presidency of George W. Bush (Josh Brolin).ything resembling what would be revealed later as Wyoming's Devil's Tower - specifically sculpting the tower with a plate of mashed potat s - amused audiences who connected with the everyman touched by something he could not understand and frustrated with a family who had no sympathy for his otherworldly predicament.

Confirmed now as a major talent, Dreyfuss went on to win an Academy Award for his first romantic role, playing an out-of-work actor who is forced to share an apartment with an ex-Broadway dancer (Marsha Mason) and her daughter (Quinn Cummings) in "The Goodbye Girl" (1977). Benefiting from arguably the best screenplay Neil Simon ever wrote, Dreyfuss ran the gamut in his performance, displaying both hilarious charm as an actor forced to play a flamboyant Richard III and poignant vulnerability as a - surprisingly - romantic lead. His hilarious staccato delivery of the line "and. I. don't. like. the. panties. drying. on. the. rod" became a classic in the annals of famous movie lines. At age 29, Dreyfuss became the youngest performer to win an Oscar for Best Leading Actor. There was no denying that 1977 was, indeed, a good year for the quirky actor.

After his Oscar win, Dreyfuss was flying high over Hollywood - in more ways than one. By 1978, Dreyfuss had been fully indulging in cocaine, though his habit failed to affect his polished performances in "The Big Fix" (1978), a comedy thriller in which he played an aging 1960s radical-turned-private detective, and "The Competition" (1980), a romantic drama that saw him as a piano prodigy falling in love with his rival (Amy Irving). Both films, however, failed to perform at the box office unlike his last few mega-hits. He made several more inauspicious appearances, including in "Whose Life Is It Anyway?" (1981), a film that later caused him to remark, "Whatever it was that I accomplished in that film, I'm not very proud of myself. It's really the only film that I've ever done that I feel uncomfortable taking credit for." Then tragedy struck in 1982, when Dreyfuss crashed his Mercedes into a tree, leading to a trip to the hospital, and his arrest for possession of cocaine and prescription drugs. Ordered by the court to enter rehabilitation, Dreyfuss successfully completed the program and had both felony charges against him dropped. He then met his second wife, Jeramie, whom he married in March 1983.

Despite his personal recovery, Dreyfuss suddenly found his career in trouble. After all but vanishing from the screen for five years, he returned clean and sober to co-star in Paul Mazursky's popular "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" (1986), playing a philandering businessman who saves a homeless man (Nick Nolte) from downing in his pool. He provided the opening and closing narration for the timeless Rob Reiner-helmed classic "Stand by Me" (1986), then played a struggling lawyer who tries to prove that a high-class call girl (Barbra Streisand) is fit to stand trial for murder in "Nuts" (1987). Dreyfuss was at his comedic best as a wisecracking Seattle detective tasked with his partner (Emilio Estevez) to keep watch on the girlfriend (Madeline Stowe) of an escaped thug (Aidan Quinn) in the surprise box office hit, "Stakeout" (1987). In Barry Levinson's "Tin Men" (1987), later said to have been Dreyfuss' personal favorite, the actor played a disgruntled aluminum siding salesman butting heads with a colleague (Danny DeVito) after getting involved i

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