Born: 29 October 1947
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Best known as: The star of Jaws and Close Encounters
In the late 1970s Richard Dreyfuss was a top box office star, thanks to starring roles in the Steven Spielberg
(1975) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind
(1977). Dreyfuss grew up in New York and California and was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. He began his acting career in repertory theater and improvisational comedy, followed by Broadway and off-Broadway plays and guest appearances on television. In 1973 he was the center of the George Lucas
coming-of-age hit American Graffiti
, and he earned critical praise the next year for The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
. By the end of the '70s he was a box office draw, known more for his onscreen energy than for his good looks. He won a best actor Oscar for his performance in the romantic comedy The Goodbye Girl
(1977), but then his career took a downturn. Mediocre movies and a drug addiction kept Dreyfuss out of the limelight during the first half of the 1980s, but he bounced back with Down and Out in Beverly Hills
(1986) and Tin Men
(1987). A sturdy character actor and sometime leading man, his films include What About Bob?
(1991, with Bill Murray
), Mr. Holland's Opus
(1995, with Alicia Witt
), the TV movie Tin Man
(starring Zooey Deschanel
) and the 2008 Oliver Stone
film about former president George W. Bush
(Dreyfuss played Vice President Dick Cheney
). On television, Dreyfuss appeared in 2010 as a guest star in Damages
, and in 2011 as a guest star in Parenthood
Dreyfuss was nominated for a best actor Oscar for Mr. Holland’s Opus.
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