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Richard Dreyfuss Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (5) | Trivia (45) | Personal Quotes (21) | Salary (2)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 29 October 1947Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameRichard Stephen Dreyfus
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

American leading man who has played his fair share of irritating pests and brash, ambitious hustlers, Richard Dreyfuss worked his way up through bit parts (The Graduate (1967), for one) and TV before gaining attention with his portrayal of Baby Face Nelson in John Milius' Dillinger (1973). He gained prominence as a college-bound young man in American Graffiti (1973) and as a nervy Jewish kid with high hopes in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974). By the latter part of the 1970s Dreyfuss was established as a major star, playing leads (and alter-egos) for Steven Spielberg in two of the top-grossing films of the that decade: Jaws (1975) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). He won a Best Actor Oscar in his first romantic lead as an out-of-work actor in The Goodbye Girl (1977). Dreyfuss also produced and starred in the entertaining private eye movie The Big Fix (1978). After a brief lull in the early 1980s, a well-publicized drug problem and a string of box-office disappointments (The Competition (1980), Whose Life Is It Anyway? (1981), The Buddy System (1984)), a clean and sober Dreyfuss re-established himself in the mid-'80s as one of Hollywood's more engaging leads. He co-starred with Bette Midler and Nick Nolte in Paul Mazursky's popular Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986). That same year he provided the narration and appeared in the opening and closing "bookends" of Rob Reiner's nostalgic Stand by Me (1986). He quickly followed that with Nuts (1987) opposite Barbra Streisand, Barry Levinson's Tin Men (1987) in a memorable teaming with Danny DeVito and Stakeout (1987) with Emilio Estevez. Dreyfuss continued working steadily through the end of the 1980s and into the 1990s, most notably in Mazursky's farce Moon Over Parador (1988), Spielberg's Always (1989), Postcards from the Edge (1990) and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990). He appeared as a member of an ensemble that included Holly Hunter, Gena Rowlands and Danny Aiello in the romantic comedy Once Around (1991) and as a pop psychiatrist, the author of several successful self-help books, who is driven to the edge by nutcase Bill Murray in the popular comedy What About Bob? (1991). Dreyfuss has also remained active in the theater ("Death and Maiden", 1992) and on TV. He returned to features in the adaptation of Neil Simon's play Lost in Yonkers (1993) and followed with a supporting turn as the querulous political opponent in The American President (1995). Dreyfuss received some of the best notices of his career as a determined, inspiring music teacher coping with a deaf son and the demands of his career in Mr. Holland's Opus (1995).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: A. Nonymous

Spouse (3)

Svetlana Erokhin (16 March 2006 - present)
Janelle Lacey (30 May 1999 - 2005) (divorced)
Jeramie Rain (20 March 1983 - 1995) (divorced) (3 children)

Trade Mark (5)

Often plays wisecracking, fast talking characters
Low-pitched, nasal voice
Frequently plays characters who see themselves as Intellectuals
Often works with Steven Spielberg.
Short stature

Trivia (45)

Ranked #81 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Suffered a well-publicized drug problem in the early 1980s.
Younger brother of Lorin Dreyfuss.
Formerly, at age 30, the youngest man to win Oscar for Best Actor (The Goodbye Girl (1977)). He was beaten by Adrien Brody(29) at the 2003 ceremony.
Was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, he grew up in Beverly Hills, L.A., California from an early age.
Has a great dislike for rock music.
1967: Uncredited bit part - with a line - in The Graduate (1967). (After Elaine screams while visiting Ben in his apartment at Berkeley).
Auditioned for The Sound of Music (1965).
Treated for infection in right lung in a NYC hospital, April-May 2002.
Attributes much of his ability to end drug addiction to a life-altering vision experienced in hospital after a bad car crash. Under the influence of drugs while driving, Dreyfuss knew the crash was his fault. Though he was the only one injured, in his recovery state he was moved by the image of a beautiful little girl in a white dress. The girl served to remind him of the kind of innocent life he could have destroyed, and it compelled him to save his own life, he says, by confronting his drug demons.
Claims to be a descendant of Alfred Dreyfus, who was wrongfully imprisoned at the notorious Devil's Island penal colony in French Guiana.
Twice in his career he has left high profile musical productions due to his inabilty to cope with the physical demands of his roles. The first was in 1978 during pre-production of All That Jazz and most recently with the West End production of The Producers.
Had a serious drug problem in the late 70s and early 80s. One of the side effects was that his memory was damaged, so much so that he still has no memory of filming the movie, Whose Life Is It Anyway? (1981).
In 2004, he announced his retirement from film acting, and that he would concentrate on theater. He implied that he decided upon this course due to a lack of recent work in film and that his greater passion was always theater.
One of six actors to appear in films directed by both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg (the others are Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Christopher Lee, Richard Dreyfuss and Samuel L. Jackson). Richard Dreyfuss is the only one whose films weren't part of the "Star Wars" or "Indiana Jones" series.
18 October 2004 - Dropped out of his role as Max Bialystock in "The Producers" in a London production. He cited a continuing problem following back surgery and a recurring shoulder injury. He was replaced by Nathan Lane.
Is a Civil War re-enactor.
In Stakeout (1987), his and Emilio Estevez's characters were quoting famous movie lines. Estevez said "This was no boating accident!" referring to Dreyfuss's character in Jaws (1975).
During 2004-2005 he took a short break from acting to lecture at Oxford University.
During his struggling actor years, he was constantly subjected to the ridicule of Hollywood casting directors after auditioning. The actor had written up a little list of their names which he kept as a reminder that he would eventually find success.
Was once played by Darrell Hammond in a skit on Saturday Night Live (1975). Hammond played Dreyfuss auditioning to play C-3PO in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
Was originally cast in the role of Joe Gideon in All That Jazz (1979), but left the production during the rehearsal stage.
Was married to Svetlana Erokhin in Harrisonburg, Virginia while in town for a speaking engagement at James Madison Univeristy.
Passed on two sequels from films he made in the early/mid-seventies: American Graffiti (1973) and Jaws (1975)... the sequels being More American Graffiti (1979) and Jaws 2 (1978), both of which came out in the late seventies. In each sequel, his character is briefly mentioned as being away in a region with a cold climate... his "American Graffiti" character, "Curt", is in Canada and his "Jaws" character, "Hooper", is on an expedition in Alaska. In both sequels, most of the original cast has returned to reprise their roles. Also, each original film was directed by two groundbreaking filmmakers, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg (both making their mark in the industry); and both sequels were directed by another director.
Attended CSU Northridge along with Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) co-star, Teri Garr.
In The Buddy System (1984), he played a mentor to Wil Wheaton's character, in Wheaton's first film. Two years later, he played an adult version of Wheaton's character in Stand by Me (1986).
Made his feature film debut in Valley of the Dolls (1967).
Lives in San Diego, California.
Father, with Jeramie Rain, of son Ben Dreyfuss.
Because of memory loss problems, as a result of his drug addiction in the 70s and 80s, during the brief run of "Complicit" at the Old Vic in 2009, he controversially used an earpiece to enable the prompter to feed him his lines during performances. The play, co-starring Elizabeth McGovern and David Suchet, and directed by Kevin Spacey, was widely ridiculed in the British press as a result. Commenting on his many fluffed lines, the Daily Mail's theatre reviewer quipped, "We're going to need a bigger earpiece".
While filming Moon Over Parador (1988) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1987, he stayed at the world-famous Copacabana Palace Hotel.
His Oscar-winning performance in The Goodbye Girl (1977) was based on his good friend, Harlan Ellison.
Co-wrote a 1997 novel, "The Two Georges", with Hugo-award-winning science fiction writer, Harry Turtledove. The novel is an alternate history, based on the premise that the American Revolution wasn't successful, and America is still part of the British Empire.
Got his role in Close Encounters of the Third Kind after it was turned down by Al Pacino and Gene Hackman.
Became a father for the 1st time at age 36 when his now 1st ex-wife Jeramie Rain gave birth to their daughter Emily Dreyfuss in November 1983.
Became a father for the 2nd time at age 38 when his now 1st ex-wife Jeramie Rain gave birth to their son Ben Dreyfuss in June 1986.
Became a father for the 3rd time at age 42 when his now 1st ex-wife Jeramie Rain gave birth to their son Harry Dreyfuss in August 1990.
Appearing on Broadway with Eric Stoltz in Arthur Penn's production of Larry Gelbart's "Sly Fox". [March 2004]
Keynote speaker at the Dedication Day ceremonies at the Gettysburg National Cemetery November 20, 2009. [November 2009]
His paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Poland and Austria-Hungary, while his maternal grandparents were born in New York, both of them to Russian Jewish families.
As of 2014, has appeared in three films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: American Graffiti (1973), Jaws (1975) and The Goodbye Girl (1977).

Personal Quotes (21)

In 1976: "People who commit adultery must die. Everyone knows that. Any movie tells you that!"
I really think that living is the process of going from complete certainty to complete ignorance.
Happiness has a bum rap. People say it shouldn't be your goal in life. Oh, yes it should.
Actually, when I was a kid I was really more aware of the star and the handprints in Grauman's Chinese more than I was aware of anything else, including the Oscar. I wanted to have a star. I wanted to be able to see, you know, old gum on my star.
"I don't think film acting is necessarily a triumph of technique. Film stardom is a friendship that happens between an audience and a performer. Its like you meet someone and you click with that person for whatever reason".
[on Bette Midler] I loved working with Bette. I rarely get to have a good leading lady and Bette and Marsha Mason are the best. I'd work with them again anytime.
The motion picture business is run by corporate thieves.
I enjoyed the journey to the top but then found myself disappointed.
Behind all art is ego and I am an artist and I am unique.
[on Steven Spielberg] Steven Spielberg is the only person I've come across who fits my criteria of genius. And I don't throw that word around. Genius is imagination and attention to detail. The ability to achieve to the minutest detail what you perceive in your imagination. I don't think there's another person on earth who's as great a plot structuralist or better storyteller.
[on James Stewart] You personify for me part of this nation. You symbolize an America that is gentle, ironic, self-deprecating, tough, and emotional.
(2009, on The Day Reagan Was Shot (2001)) I thought I was miscast. He's a character I could empathize with. He's totally human. A physically bigger person should have played him, but it was fun, and it was especially fun because it was true, and it was a really well-written script in that way. But playing him... You know, every actor wants to play the villain. The trick is not to wink at the audience and say, "I'm not him".
(2009, on What About Bob? (1991)) Funny movie. Terribly unpleasant experience. We didn't get along, me and Bill Murray. But I've got to give it to him: I don't like him, but he makes me laugh, even now. I'm also jealous that he's a better golfer than I am.
(2009) Jaws (1975), first time I saw it, I forgot I was in it. True. Totally forgot, and got as scared as everybody else, and it's a great movie. I learned a shitload about my whole life, and I watched Steven [Steven Spielberg] go from being a boy to being a man. He was under so much pressure you couldn't believe. And his shark never worked, so they had to re-conceive as they went, and it was because of that mind-fuck that he made a great film.
I always knew that I could be a star for this whole audience that didn't relate to John Wayne or Al Pacino. An urban, progressive, intellectually-oriented audience, not too macho, people who read, people who listen to Paul Simon and Randy Newman. People like me.
[on 'The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz'] It was the first time I'd ever seen myself in a feature film as a lead, and all I could remember was the bad moments that I didn't succeed at. I didn't really see the film and the performance as a whole until about ten years later.
It's really a mitzvah for the actor to know when you make people laugh, you are giving them a gift. You are, as Shakespeare said, giving surcease from sorrow. And that's an easy thing to fall in love with.
Acting is the only art form that is based entirely on pretense. The clothes you're wearing are not yours, the words you're saying are not yours, you pretend that you don't see the stagehand and you pretend you don't see the audience - and the audience pretends you're not actors, that you're real life. And that house of pretense creates art and truth. And it is an amazing feeling to make people laugh or make people cry.
I always knew I was going to be an actor and that was that - no doubts, no uncertainties, no changing my mind. And that was when I was like, nine, ten. And it never changed.
I'd like to reinvent radio the way Orson Welles did. I'd like to do Hamlet or I'd like to do a master-class in Hamlet, or I'd like to do something with history.
I much prefer the stage. Much. But I also prefer being paid. I like being paid as a screen actor but working on the stage.

Salary (2)

American Graffiti (1973) $480/week
What About Bob? (1991) $5,000,000

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