Richard Dreyfuss

Richard Dreyfuss

Highest Rated: 100% The Shark Is Still Working (2006)

Lowest Rated: 7% Paranoia (2013)

Birthday: Oct 29, 1947

Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, USA

Richard Dreyfuss was an American actor who collaborated with some of the greatest filmmakers of the 1970s, including the film that for all intents and purposes invented the summer blockbuster, and was for awhile the youngest man to ever win an Oscar for Best Actor. Throughout the years Dreyfuss brought a very specific, often tightly wound energy to all of his projects, whether he's appearing in tear-jerking dramas or slapstick comedies. Born on October 29, 1947 in Brooklyn, NY, Dreyfuss was the second son born to Geraldine Dreyfuss, a peace activist, and Norman Dreyfuss, an attorney. His older brother, Lorin, was born in 1944. The family lived in the Bayside area of Queens, but Norman soon grew tired of New York, and the family moved, first to Europe for awhile, before settling in Los Angeles when Dreyfuss was nine years old. It was here that Dreyfuss first began acting, performing in plays at the Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills Art Center and Westside Jewish Community Center, under the tutelage of drama teacher Bill Miller. While still in high school at Beverly Hills High, Dreyfuss made his TV debut, on an episode of the sitcom "Karen" (1964-67). He briefly attended CSU Northridge, but dropped out after a year. In 1967, Dreyfuss appeared in very small roles in two high profile films, playing a stagehand in the drama "Valley of the Dolls" (1967), and a college student during a pivotal scene towards the end of "The Graduate" (1967). While working as a clerk at a Los Angeles hospital, part of his alternate service as a registered conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, Dreyfuss built up quite a resume of TV appearances, taking guest spots on such programs as "Peyton Place" (ABC, 1964-69), "That Girl" (ABC, 1966-1971), and "Bewitched" (ABC, 1964-1972). However, his big break came when an ambitious film school graduate named George Lucas cast Dreyfuss in the lead role of his second feature, "American Graffiti" (1973). In the film, a nostalgic look back at a group of high school friends over one pivotal night towards the end of summer 1962, Dreyfuss played Curt, a bright but conflicted young man who is debating whether or not he really wants to leave his hometown to go to college out on the East Coast, and spends the film trying to chase down an elusive blonde in a white T-Bird. In addition to Dreyfuss, the cast included a number of future stars, including Ron Howard and Harrison Ford. The film was a hit, and Dreyfuss followed it up with another lead role, playing the titular character in the comedy "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz" (1974). Though the film wasn't a box office smash, it got strong reviews from critics, especially Pauline Kael, who praised Dreyfuss for his energetic performance. For his next film, Dreyfuss hooked up with Steven Spielberg, a buddy of his "American Graffiti" director George Lucas, to play Matt Hooper, a brash, Ivy League-educated shark specialist who embarks on a fateful journey alongside a squeamish local sheriff (Roy Scheider) and a drunken eccentric fisherman (Robert Shaw) to try and kill a bloodthirsty great white shark. While the production of the film was notoriously troubled, when "Jaws" (1975) was unleashed onto moviegoers in the summer of 1975, the response was seismic. "Jaws" became the highest grossing film of all time, all but cemented the summer blockbuster into culture, and made Spielberg one of the most popular directors in film history. Naturally, Dreyfuss decided to reunite with Spielberg for his next project, a moody yet hopeful sci-fi film about a family man whose life changes after he encounters alien lifeforms. "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977), was another box office phenomenon, praised by critics and audiences alike, nominated for multiple Oscars, and went on to gross over $300 million worldwide. That same year, Dreyfuss starred in a much smaller film, "The Goodbye Girl," written by Neil Simon, in which he played Elliot Garfield, a neurotic aspiring actor trying to make it on Broadway who falls in love with an equally neurotic dancer (Marsha Mason). Though the film itself received mixed reviews, the consensus was that Dreyfuss was excellent as Elliot, and on Oscar night the following year, Dreyfuss became the youngest man in history to take home the award for Best Actor. At 30 years and 125 days old, he just barely beat out Marlon Brando, who was 30 years and 360 days old when he won the same prize for "On the Waterfront" (1954). With two huge blockbusters and an Academy Award under his belt, Dreyfuss should've been on top of the world. Sadly, it was around this time that he began using cocaine, a habit that quickly turned into a full-on addiction. In 1982, he hit rock bottom when he blacked out while driving, and his Mercedes-Benz 450 SL plowed into a tree. Dreyfuss wasn't hurt, but police did arrest him for cocaine possession. Soon after this incident, he entered rehab and got sober. The next step was getting his career back on track, which he did by appearing in a number of successful films, including Paul Mazursky's dark comedy "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" (1986), and Rob Reiner's coming of age tale "Stand by Me" (1986). In 1989, Dreyfuss worked with Spielberg for a third time, starring alongside Holly Hunter, John Goodman, and Audrey Hepburn in her final onscreen appearance, in the romantic comedy "Always" (1989). Though the film wasn't nearly as big a hit as "Jaws" or "Close Encounters" this did not deter Dreyfuss, who followed it up with a powerhouse comedic performance in "What About Bob?" (1991), in which he played Dr. Leo Marvin, a self-obsessed therapist with a hair-trigger temper whose attempts at becoming a household name are destroyed over the course of a weekend by a well-meaning but deeply annoying patient named Bob (Bill Murray). The film was a hit with critics and audiences, largely due to the excellent comedic chemistry between Dreyfuss and Murray. For his next big project, Dreyfuss went back to drama, playing a high school music teacher who aspires to become a world-renowned composer while dealing with a dysfunctional family. Based on a true story, "Mr. Holland's Opus" (1995) earned Dreyfuss a number of accolades, including an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. As film work began to dry up in the late nineties, Dreyfuss turned to TV, acting as producer and star of the drama series "The Education of Max Bickford" (CBS, 2001-02). Despite a strong start, the show soon dipped in the ratings, and was cancelled after its first season. Dreyfuss was next slated to play shyster producer Max Bialystock in a London production of "The Producers" but was eventually fired due to issues involving a herniated disc. He followed up this kerfuffle by appearing in the big budget disaster remake "Poseidon" (2006), and playing Vice President Dick Cheney in Oliver Stone's George W. Bush biopic, "W." (2008). After both of those films failed to make much of a mark, Dreyfuss returned to TV, where he enjoyed an arc on the drama "Weeds" (Showtime, 2005-2012), playing Warren Schiff, an old high school teacher of lead character Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), to whom she lost her virginity as a teen. He then went from playing a fictional old creep to playing a real life one, when he was cast as the notorious Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff in the miniseries "Madoff" (ABC, 2016), a performance which earned him rave reviews. Dreyfuss could next be seen in two Netflix original films: the comedy "The Last Laugh" (2019) and the action thriller "Polar" (2019).

Highest rated movies

The Shark Is Still Working
Fail Safe
Jaws American Graffiti Close Encounters of the Third Kind
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
Dillinger The American President




No Score Yet No Score Yet Murder at Yellowstone City Edgar (Character) - 2022
No Score Yet 29% Every Last One of Them Murphy (Character) - 2021
20% 24% Crime Story Ben Myers (Character),
Executive Producer
- 2021
80% 67% Audrey Self - 2020
65% 62% Astronaut Angus (Character),
Executive Producer
- 2019
22% 45% Daughter of the Wolf Father (Character) - 2019
53% 35% The Last Laugh Buddy Green (Character) - 2019
46% 35% Asher Avi (Character) - 2018
20% 47% Bayou Caviar Yuri (Character) - 2018
54% 51% Book Club Einstein (Character) $68.5M 2018
20% 27% Zipper George Hiller (Character) - 2015
No Score Yet 51% Squatters Unknown (Character) - 2014
No Score Yet No Score Yet Caserta Palace Dream Vanvitelli (Character) - 2014
31% 62% Cas & Dylan Dr. Cas Pepper (Character) - 2013
19% 33% Very Good Girls Danny (Character) - 2013
7% 35% Paranoia Frank Cassidy (Character) $7.3M 2013
72% 72% Red Alexander Dunning (Character) $90.4M 2010
74% 43% Piranha Matt Boyd (Character) $25.0M 2010
80% 85% I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale Unknown (Character) - 2009
61% 49% Leaves of Grass Pug Rothbaum (Character) $68.0K 2009
20% 46% The Lightkeepers Seth (Character) - 2009
10% 44% My Life in Ruins Irv (Character) $8.7M 2009
58% 42% W. Dick Cheney (Character) $25.5M 2008
No Score Yet No Score Yet Signs of the Time Narrator - 2008
33% 43% Poseidon Richard Nelson (Character) $60.7M 2006
100% 92% The Shark Is Still Working Unknown (Character) - 2006
No Score Yet 91% Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive Unknown (Character) - 2006
No Score Yet 21% Coast to Coast Barnaby Pierce (Character) - 2004
48% 32% Silver City Chuck Raven (Character) $1.0M 2004
No Score Yet No Score Yet Teddy Roosevelt - An American Lion Unknown (Character) - 2003
70% 60% Johnstown Flood Unknown (Character) - 2003
60% 70% The Day Reagan Was Shot Alexander Haig (Character) - 2001
23% 51% Who Is Cletis Tout? Micah (Character) - 2001
No Score Yet 43% Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys Unknown (Character) - 2001
No Score Yet 62% The Old Man Who Read Love Stories Antonio Bolivar (Character) - 2001
100% 79% Fail Safe President (Character) - 2000
20% 34% The Crew Bobby Bartellemeo (Character) $13.0M 2000
40% 20% Lansky Meyer Lansky (Character) - 1999
16% 24% Krippendorf's Tribe James Krippendorf (Character) $7.6M 1998
No Score Yet 57% Oliver Twist Fagin (Character) - 1997
No Score Yet 83% Frank Capra's American Dream Unknown (Character) - 1997
91% 65% James and the Giant Peach Centipede (Voice) $28.9M 1996
17% 47% Mad Dog Time Vic (Character) $102.9K 1996
69% 65% Night Falls on Manhattan Sam Vigoda (Character) $9.9M 1996
No Score Yet No Score Yet Anything for Love Director - 1996
No Score Yet 88% The Universal Story Narrator - 1996
75% 84% Mr. Holland's Opus Glenn Holland (Character) $82.6M 1995
91% 77% The American President Senator Bob Rumson (Character) $59.0M 1995
No Score Yet 11% The Last Word Larry (Character) - 1995
26% 38% Silent Fall Dr. Jake Rainer (Character) $2.7M 1994
96% 87% Quiz Show Executive Producer $24.8M 1994
16% 28% Another Stakeout Chris Lecce (Character) $20.1M 1993
71% 77% Lost in Yonkers Uncle Louie (Character) $9.1M 1993
70% 73% Once Around Sam Sharpe (Character) $14.3M 1991
No Score Yet 80% Prisoner of Honor Col. Picquart (Character) - 1991
84% 79% What About Bob? Dr. Leo Marvin (Character) $63.5M 1991
61% 87% Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead The Player (Character) $55.0K 1990
84% 66% Postcards From the Edge Doctor Frankenthal (Character) $36.9M 1990
27% 76% Let It Ride Jay Trotter (Character) $5.0M 1989
65% 60% Always Pete Sandich (Character) - 1989
42% 46% Moon Over Parador Jack Noah/President Alphonse Simms (Character) $10.1M 1988
36% 71% Nuts Aaron Levinsky (Character) $29.5M 1987
89% 56% Stakeout Chris Lecce (Character) $65.4M 1987
78% 64% Tin Men Bill 'BB' Babowsky (Character) $25.3M 1987
79% 53% Down and Out in Beverly Hills David "Dave" Whiteman (Character) $60.2M 1986
No Score Yet 52% The Buddy System Joe (Character) - 1984
70% 79% Whose Life Is It Anyway? Ken Harrison (Character) - 1981
75% 63% The Competition Paul Dietrich (Character) - 1980
87% 51% The Big Fix Moses Wine (Character),
- 1978
79% 84% The Goodbye Girl Elliot Garfield (Character) - 1977
94% 85% Close Encounters of the Third Kind Roy Neary (Character) $3.1M 1977
No Score Yet 56% Victory at Entebbe Colonel Yonatan `'Yonni'` Netanyahu (Character) - 1976
64% 55% Inserts Boy Wonder (Character) - 1975
98% 90% Jaws Matt Hooper (Character) $260.9M 1975
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Second Coming of Suzanne Clavius (Character) - 1974
93% 72% The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz Duddy Kravitz (Character) - 1974
96% 84% American Graffiti Curt Henderson (Character) - 1973
93% 74% Dillinger Baby Face Nelson (Character) - 1973
No Score Yet No Score Yet Two for the Money Morris Gap (Character) - 1972
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Shadow of a Gunman Tommy Owen (Character) - 1972
No Score Yet 58% Hello Down There Harold Webster (Character) - 1969
34% 59% Valley of the Dolls Assistant stage manager (uncredited) (Character) - 1967


84% 95% Shots Fired Arlen Cox (Character) 2017
No Score Yet No Score Yet Rachael Ray Guest 2017
No Score Yet 53% The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Guest 2017
No Score Yet 44% The Late Show With Stephen Colbert Guest 2016
68% 62% Madoff Bernie Madoff (Character) 2016
No Score Yet 8% The View Guest 2016
No Score Yet No Score Yet Tavis Smiley Guest 2016
No Score Yet 10% Jimmy Kimmel Live! Guest 2016
No Score Yet 64% Your Family or Mine Louis Weston (Character) 2015
No Score Yet No Score Yet My Generation Guest 2013
No Score Yet No Score Yet Coma Unknown (Character) 2012
88% 95% Parenthood Unknown (Guest Star) 2011
70% 77% Weeds Warren Schiff (Guest Star) 2010
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Early Show Guest 2010
No Score Yet 64% Family Guy Richard Dreyfuss / Narrator (Guest Voice) 2009-2010
No Score Yet 62% Tin Man Unknown (Character) 2007
79% No Score Yet The Education of Max Bickford Max Bickford (Character) 2001-2002
No Score Yet 100% The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Guest 2002
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Education of Max Bickford Unknown (Character) 2001
No Score Yet 44% Saturday Night Live Host 1978
No Score Yet No Score Yet The New Dick Van Dyke Show Unknown (Guest Star) 1973
No Score Yet 100% Gunsmoke Gearshon Gorofsky (Guest Star) 1973
No Score Yet No Score Yet Mod Squad Caleb Dunne (Guest Star) 1970 1973
No Score Yet No Score Yet Room 222 Unknown (Guest Star) 1970
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Ghost and Mrs. Muir Unknown (Guest Star) 1969
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Felony Squad Herbie Aroon (Guest Star) 1969
No Score Yet No Score Yet Judd for the Defense Unknown (Guest Star) 1968
No Score Yet No Score Yet That Girl Unknown (Guest Star) 1967
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Big Valley Unknown (Guest Star) 1967
No Score Yet No Score Yet Please Don't Eat the Daisies Unknown (Guest Star) 1966
No Score Yet 20% Bewitched Rodney (Guest Star) 1966
No Score Yet No Score Yet Gidget Norman (Guest Star) 1966
No Score Yet No Score Yet Ben Casey Unknown (Guest Star) 1965