Richard Stephen Dreyfuss was born on October 29, 1947, in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up in a Jewish family, Dreyfuss faced several challenges, including moving frequently due to his father’s unstable career. Despite these upheavals, Dreyfuss found solace in acting at an early age. His family eventually settled in Los Angeles, where he attended Beverly Hills High School and later studied at San Fernando Valley State College (now California State University, Northridge).

Dreyfuss’s acting career began with small roles in television series such as “Bewitched,” “The Big Valley,” and “Gidget.” His breakthrough came with the role of Curt Henderson in George Lucas’s iconic film “American Graffiti” (1973), which was followed by an acclaimed performance in “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” (1974). However, it was Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” (1975) that catapulted Dreyfuss to international fame. His portrayal of oceanographer Matt Hooper showcased his ability to balance intense drama with a touch of humour, a trait that would become a hallmark of his performances.

Dreyfuss’s career reached its zenith in the late 1970s. His role as Elliott Garfield in “The Goodbye Girl” (1977) earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor, making him, at the time, the youngest actor to receive this honour. His collaboration with Spielberg continued with “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977), another critical and commercial success. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Dreyfuss continued to deliver memorable performances in films such as “Mr. Holland’s Opus” (1995), for which he received another Academy Award nomination, and “What About Bob?” (1991), showcasing his comedic prowess alongside Bill Murray.

Despite his professional success, Dreyfuss’s life has been marred by personal struggles and controversies. In the 1980s, he battled a well-publicised addiction to cocaine, which culminated in a severe car accident in 1982. This incident led him to seek rehabilitation, and he has since been open about his recovery journey.

In recent years, Dreyfuss has faced allegations of inappropriate behaviour. In 2017, writer Jessica Teich accused him of sexual harassment, claiming that he had made unwelcome advances towards her in the 1980s. Dreyfuss denied the allegations, acknowledging only flirtation and apologising for any discomfort he might have caused. This controversy brought renewed scrutiny to his past behaviour and highlighted the broader issues of misconduct in Hollywood.

Despite these controversies, Dreyfuss has continued to work in the film industry. He has taken on a variety of roles in both independent films and major productions, demonstrating his enduring versatility as an actor. Beyond his acting career, Dreyfuss has been active in political and social causes, including advocating for civic education through his organisation, The Dreyfuss Civics Initiative.

T**T of the Week

According to multiple US outlets, Dreyfuss, to the embarrassment of his son Ben and the many people who attended a Jaws screening event at The Cabot Theatre in Massachusetts, spewed sexist, racist, homophobic and transphobic comments while being interviewed as a guest at the screening.

According to some audience and staff members:

“He began the evening emerging in a dress, dancing to Taylor Swift, proclaiming it to be an LGBTQ moment. Initially, I thought he was simply having a laugh. However, a staff member later informed me that he had spent hours wandering around town to choose the dress,” she recounted.

Following that it was noted that Dreyfuss went off on a tangent during the interview, criticising his “Nuts” co-star Barbra Streisand. “He began making a slew of sexist remarks about her and women in general, saying they are stupid, shouldn’t hold any power, and suchlike,”.

Dreyfuss also accused women of being “passive,” which, according to him, was why the 1987 film “Nuts” was a failure.

“He then continued with homophobic and racist comments, disparaging the Me Too movement and the like.”

It was also reported that Dreyfuss asserted society “shouldn’t heed a 10-year-old who claims they want to be a boy instead of a girl.”

The atmosphere in the theatre quickly turned sour, with many in the audience booing the star and some even walking out. “Now, now, don’t become an angry mob,” Dreyfuss apparently told the crowd.

It is also claimed that an employee of The Cabot stated that the staff had been advised to brace themselves for Dreyfuss’s odd behaviour, as a similar incident had occurred the previous night at an event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. An attendee of that show was quoted by Deadline as saying: “I walked out tonight because of [Dreyfuss’s] narrow-minded, bigoted views on women and choice.”

Another repotedly said: “There is a time and place for such comments, probably at a Republican rally, but not at a ‘Jaws’ event.”

“He’s wealthy, entitled, and showed no regard for anyone but himself last night… It was never a discussion, just him being ignorant and inappropriate. I expected better.”

“Someone ought to ask Steven Spielberg what he thinks about Dreyfuss saying these things at a showing of his film,”.

“It seemed like he was conducting a warped social experiment to prove some points in his book—that we can’t disagree civilly and such.”

Meanwhile Dreyfuss’s son, Ben Dreyfuss, a left-wing activist tweeted a joke in response to his father’s antics. 

‘Re: My father, well, now you know why I refused to give him the password to his own Twitter account for a decade lol.’

‘This will be my only statement on the matter.’

If you have a ‘T**T of the Week’ let us know with your reasons why and a description of the person’s behaviour. Supporting quotes would also be desirable.

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