Richard Dreyfuss Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trade Mark (5)  | Trivia (62)  | Personal Quotes (25)  | Salary (2)

Overview (3)

Born in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameRichard Stephen Dreyfus
Height 5' 4¼" (1.64 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Richard Dreyfuss is an American leading man, who has played his fair share of irritating pests and brash, ambitious hustlers.

He was born Richard Stephen Dreyfus in Brooklyn, New York, to Geraldine (Robbins), an activist, and Norman Dreyfus, a restaurateur and attorney. His paternal grandparents were Austro-Hungarian Jewish immigrants, and his mother's family was Russian Jewish.

Richard 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. In his next project he starred the thriller Silent Fall (1994) with John Lithgow and Linda Hamilton, being the film debut of Liv Tyler, Steven Tyler's daughter (Aerosmith's lead vocals). Just later Dreyfuss made Another Stakeout (1993), sequel of Stakeout (1987) where was team again with Emilio Estevez accompanied of Rosie O'Donnell, 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). Closing the 20th century he was in Sidney Lumet's Night Falls on Manhattan (1996) with Andy Garcia, the crime comedy Mad Dog Time (1996) as the mob boss Vic, the screwball comedy Krippendorf's Tribe (1998) about an anthropologist who creates a false lost New Guinea tribe for not losing his job in the university, TV movie Lansky (1999) about the infamous mob boss to end, the too TV movie Fail Safe (2000) playing The President, and The Crew (2000), about four older mobsters retired in Miami, partnering with Hollywood legends Burt Reynolds, Dan Hedaya and Seymour Cassel.

His start in the 21st century was with the adaption of Luis Sepúlveda's novel The Old Man Who Read Love Stories (2001), playing an old man to must to hunt a female jaguar turned crazy. It was followed by the supporting apparition in the comedy Who Is Cletis Tout? (2001) and another TV movie about 1981 Ronald Reagan's shooting The Day Reagan Was Shot (2001). After the short-lived TV series The Education of Max Bickford (2001) about a teacher in a women's college where his daughter is student, Dreyfuss returned to cinema in Silver City (2004) and the box-office bomb Poseidon (2006) with Kurt Russell, Emmy Rossum and Josh Lucas. Playing former vice-president Dick Cheney in the Oliver Stone's biopic W. (2008) and Irv, the cunning tourist in Greece turned in assistant of a troubled tour guide in My Life in Ruins (2009), Dreyfuss participated in low-budget productions as Leaves of Grass (2009) and The Lightkeepers (2009), for making a cameo in the wild and crazy Piranha 3D (2010) about prehistoric men-eater piranhas that make a bloodbath in a spring break. Returning to first line playing evil Alexander Dunning in the actioner RED (2010), his further productions included Paranoia (2013) as Liam Hemsworth's father partnering Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman, road movie Cas & Dylan (2013) opposites Tatiana Maslany and the biopic TV mini-series Madoff (2016) about the infamous multi-billion-dollar and hustler Bernie Madoff. Tireless and always implied in new projects, Dreyfuss played George, the funny online date of Candice Bergen in Book Club (2018), the comedy and road movie The Last Laugh (2019) with Chevy Chase, and the set in wilderness thriller Daughter of the Wolf (2019) with Gina Carano and Brendan Fehr. Making his 73rd birthday in 2020, Dreyfuss is an example of talent, diversity and love for his work, touching not only all the genres in cinema but leaving an unforgettable footprint at any of them.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: A. Nonymous, updated by Chockys

Family (4)

Spouse Svetlana Erokhin (16 March 2006 - present)
Janelle Lacey (30 May 1999 - 2005)  (divorced)
Jeramie Rain (20 March 1983 - 14 September 1992)  (divorced)  (3 children)
Children Emily Dreyfuss
Ben Dreyfuss
Dreyfuss, Harry
Parents Geraldine Dreyfuss
Dreyfus, Norman
Relatives Lorin Dreyfuss (sibling)
Justin Dreyfuss (niece or nephew)
Natalie Dreyfuss (niece or nephew)

Trade Mark (5)

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

Trivia (62)

Ranked #81 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Around 1978, he 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 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL struck a tree. He entered rehabilitation and eventually made a Hollywood comeback with the films Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986) and Stakeout (1987) the following year.
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, California from an early age.
Has a great dislike for rock music.
Auditioned for the role as one of the Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music (1965), but cannot dance.
Treated for infection in right lung in a New York City 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. Eventually he starred the TV movie Prisoner of Honor (1991) about it.
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. He made his West End debut at The Old Vic in 2009.
Had a serious drug problem in the late 1970s and early 1980s. 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 five actors to appear in films directed by both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg (the others are Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Christopher Lee, and Samuel L. Jackson). Richard Dreyfuss is the only one whose films were not part of the "Star Wars" or "Indiana Jones" series.
October 18, 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-1970s: 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 1970s. 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 California State University, Northridge along with Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) co-star, Teri Garr.
In The Buddy System (1984), he played a truant officer who was 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).
Has one son with Jeramie Rain: Ben Dreyfuss.
Because of memory loss problems, as a result of his drug addiction in the 1970s and 1980s, 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.
He o-wrote a 1995 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 was not successful, and America is still part of the British Empire.
Got his role as Roy Neary in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) which was turned down by Al Pacino and Gene Hackman.
Became a father for the first time at age 36 when his now first ex-wife Jeramie Rain gave birth to their daughter Emily Dreyfuss in November 1983.
Became a father for the second time at age 38 when his now first ex-wife Jeramie Rain gave birth to their son Ben Dreyfuss in June 1986.
Became a father for the third time at age 42 when his now first ex-wife Jeramie Rain gave birth to their son Harry Dreyfuss in August 1990.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on October 10, 1996.
Keynote speaker at the Dedication Day ceremonies at the Gettysburg National Cemetery on November 20, 2009.
His paternal grandparents were Jewish emigrants from Poland and Austria-Hungary, while his maternal grandparents were born in New York, both of them to Russian Jewish families.
As of 2019, he has appeared in four films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: The Graduate (1967), American Graffiti (1973), Jaws (1975) and The Goodbye Girl (1977).
He was awarded the 1996 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Distinguished Lead Performance for "Three Hotels" at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
Jane Fonda's role in The China Syndrome (1979) was originally written with Dreyfuss in mind. After he backed out of the project, due to salary concerns, the role was rewritten as female and was eventually played by Jane Fonda.
He was awarded the 1996 Drama Logue for Outstanding Performance for "Three Hotels" at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
He was awarded the 1984 Drama Logue Award for Outstanding Performance for the play, "The Hands of Its Enemy", at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
His novel The Two Georges (1995), a steampunk detective thriller co written with Harry Turtledove, was allegedly optioned for a mini series by the UK's Granada Television in the late 1990s, but nothing ever came of this.
Best friends with Carrie Fisher.
Just recently formed a .org, called the Dreyfuss civics initiative. The organizations goal is to put civics classes back in the classroom, which is been absent from the curriculum of almost all schools in the United States since 1970. [2017]
Originally was mooted to appear in John Carpenter's version of Firestarter (1984) as the role of Andy McGee (Charlie's father), but both Carpenter and Dreyfuss were later replaced with Mark L. Lester and David Keith in the final version of the film.
Two of his biggest films, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and The Goodbye Girl (1977), premiered within weeks of each other in November 1977.
He turned down James Woods' guest role in Kojak: Death Is Not a Passing Grade (1974).
He was considered for the role of Louis Strack Jr. in Darkman (1990).
In early 2009, he appeared in the play Complicit by Joe Sutton at London's Old Vic theatre. The production was directed by the theatre's artistic director, Kevin Spacey. Dreyfuss's performance was subject to some controversy, owing to his use of an earpiece onstage, reportedly because of his inability to learn his lines in time.
He was originally cast as Joe Gideon in All That Jazz (1979), but left the production during the rehearsal stage, citing a lack of confidence in the production. He later admitted that he made a mistake in passing up the chance to work with Bob Fosse. He was replaced by his Jaws (1975) costar Roy Scheider .
He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Blvd.
He was an advisor to The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation.
He was offered the role of Dreighton, the American Vice-Consul in The Wind and the Lion (1975).
He discussed his diagnosis of bipolar disorder in the documentary Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive (2006), in which Stephen Fry (who also has the disorder) interviewed Dreyfuss about his experience with the disorder.
On June 10, 2011, he was made a Master Mason "at sight" by the Grand Master of Masons of the District of Columbia at the Washington DC Scottish Rite building, as well as a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason. That evening he spoke at a banquet celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, about the Dreyfuss Initiative, a Research Society promoting civics and enlightenment values to be headquartered in Charleston, West Virginia.
He has appeared in four films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: The Graduate (1967), American Graffiti (1973), Jaws (1975) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).
Dreyfuss didn't only become the youngest to win an Oscar for Best Actor in The Goodbye Girl, he was also the shortest, standing at 5 foot 4.5 inches tall. Adrien Brody has since broken the age record, but Dreyfuss's height record remains intact as of 2021.

Personal Quotes (25)

[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 (1974)] 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.
When I saw Jaws (1975) for the first time, I forgot I was in it. It scared the crap out of me. That night, I heard something I'd never heard before. They [the audience] went crazy, and then they silently watched the scroll and then they clapped again.
I wouldn't recommend to a young actor anymore to become an actor because I think the film industry has changed so terribly. The tools in the director's tool kit used to be story, dialogue, character... after that came cinematography and editing. Now it's special effects, editing and we [actors] are way down at the bottom part.
Film acting is about the hollowest experience you can have as an actor. When you do a film, it's out of order and sequence and everyone around you is working -- even directors now are behind the little video thing -- so you're alone. You're working for yourself.
[from his own homepage, The Dreyfuss Civics Initiative] "To teach our kids how to run our country, before they are called upon to run our country...if we don't, someone else will run our country."

Salary (2)

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

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