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Dreyfuss, Richard


DREYFUSS, RICHARD (1948– ), American actor. Dreyfuss was born in Brooklyn, New York, where his father was an attorney, but the family moved to Los Angeles, where he was educated. He joined the West Side Jewish Center and at the early age of nine showed his penchant for acting, taking part in all the plays produced there. Even as a high school student he was engaged to play professional parts, and from 1963 to 1973 acted on Broadway, in repertory and comedy. He first gained his reputation as a film actor in George Lucas' American Graffiti, playing the part of Curt Henderson, and from then went from strength to strength. In 1974 he went to Canada, and The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, a film with a Jewish theme in which he starred, won first prize at the Berlin Film Festival. In 1974 he starred in Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of Peter Benchley's best-selling novel Jaws, which became the biggest box-office hit to that date. A year later he played the part of Yonatan Netanyahu in the tv film Victory at Entebbe, about the Israeli commando action that freed hostages held in a plane hijacked to Uganda. In 1977 he starred in another highly successful Spielberg film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In 1977 he was awarded the Academy and Golden Globe awards for best actor for his performance in The Goodbye Girl. At the time, at age 29, he was the youngest performer ever to have won a Best Actor Oscar. Dreyfuss went on to act in such films as The Big Fix (1978), Whose Life Is It Anyway? (1981), Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Tin Men (1987), Stakeout (1987), Nuts (1987), Moon over Parador (1988), Lost in Yonkers (1983), Always (1989), Postcards from the Edge (1990), Rosen-crantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1990), What about Bob? (1991), Silent Fall (1994), Mr. Holland's Opus (Oscar nomination for Best Actor, 1995), Mad Dog Time (1996), Krippendorf's Tribe (1998), The Crew (2000), The Old Man Who Read Love Stories (2001), and Silver City (2004).

Dreyfuss has also performed in many stage and television productions. He starred in the 2001 tv drama series The Education of Max Bickford as well as such tv movies as Prisoner of Honor (1991), Oliver Twist (1997), Lansky (1999), Fail Safe (2000), The Day Reagan Was Shot (2001), Coast to Coast (2004), and Copshop (2004). On Broadway he has appeared in But Seriously (1969), Total Abandon (1983), Death and the Maiden (1992), and Sly Fox (2004). In 2000 Dreyfuss was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Hollywood Film Festival. With Harry Turtledove, Dreyfuss co-authored the novel The Two Georges (1996).


J. Phillips, You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again (1991).

[Jonathan Licht /

Rohan Saxena and

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

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