Mostly Credited As: Richard Dreyfuss
Birth Name: Richard Stephen Dreyfuss
Date Of Birth: October 29, 1947 (Age 66)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Height: 5' 5" (1.65 m)
Richard Dreyfuss is an American film actor known for his portrayals of ordinary men driven to emotional extremes.
He spent his early childhood in Brooklyn and Queens, New York. When Dreyfuss moved with his family to California, he began acting in plays in a Jewish Community Center in Beverly Hills, California. While studying drama at San Fernando Valley State College, Northridge, California, Dreyfuss won a recurring role on the short-lived television series Karen (1964).
During the star of his career through the 70s, Dreyfuss acted mostly onstage in repertory theater and Broadway shows, and he landed occasional small roles on television. Bit parts in Valley of the Dolls (1967) and The Graduate (1967) led to his first major screen appearance, as gangster Baby Face Nelson in Dillinger (1973), for which he received critical praise.
Dreyfuss's breakthrough role was playing high-school graduate Curt Henderson in George Lucas's American Graffiti (1973).
The intelligent, angst-ridden character was the first in a long line of average fellows in stressful situations that Dreyfuss would portray in the coming decade.
Dreyfuss starred in two of the most popular films of the decade: first as scruffy young marine biologist Matt Hooper in Jaws (1975), and then as a family man whose behaviour becomes increasingly unstable after encountering a UFO in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), both for director Steven Spielberg. Dreyfuss then delivered an Academy Award-winning performance in the Neil Simon comedy The Goodbye Girl (1977). At age 29, Dreyfuss became the youngest-ever recipient of a Best Actor Oscar.