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Richard Dreyfuss and Hurricane Sandy

The Brooklyn-born Jewish actor turns 65

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Richard Dreyfuss as Dr. Leo Marvin(Still from 'What About Bob?')

As I’m sure EVERYBODY KNOWS, Richard Dreyfuss turns 65 today. The Brooklyn-born Jewish actor–raised in Bayside and son of an attorney and a peace activist–has starred in such timeless films as Steven Spielberg’s Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind as well as Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl, for which he won the Academy Award for best actor.

Little known fact about Richie D, his first speaking lines were in an uncredited role in The Graduate when he said “Shall I get the cops? I’ll get the cops.” Since then, Dreyfuss has played everyone from Yoni Netanyahu in Victory at Entebbe to other Jewish figures on stage and screen like Meyer Lansky and Abraham Joshua Heschel. He was the consummate teacher in the clunker of a film that was Mr. Holland’s Opus and the embodiment of lost youth as the narrator in Stand By Me. He’s also good as evil politician incarnate between Oliver Stone’s W. and The American President.

If you take a look at his filmography, Dreyfuss has appeared in some of the biggest films of the past 30 years. My personal favorite happens to be his turn as Dr. Leo Marvin in What About Bob? The role of the uptight big city psychiatrist who slowly and hilariously descends into insanity may be one of the best Jewish characters ever put on screen (he names his son after Sigmund Freud!), even if there’s no discernible trace of religion in the script. (Dreyfuss, as it turns out, suffers from bipolar disorder.) Bill Murray as the title role of Bob and Dreyfuss’ charismatic foil is perfect as well.

Here’s a clip from What About Bob?, which, if you’re stuck indoors today, may resonate well.

Happy birthday!

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Sara Ivry says:

Hate to school ya, son, but Bayside is Queens.

    Batya Medad says:

    And the family lived in Bell Park Gardens, Bayside, NY, the post-WWII section of Bayside, south of the LIE.

jcarpenter says:

I liked RD as the reluctant college student in American Graffiti

Drefuss was great in two of his earliest and memorable roles in “Diliinger” as Pretty Boy Floyd and as Duddy Kravitz and of course later in ’75 as the marine biologist in “Jaws.”

Dennis Gorden says:

I think he had a small part in an episode of Doby Gillis.

MeyerIchl says:

Little opportunity with this piece to attack my coreligionists with whom I disagree. It’s more fun over at Dershowitz Supports Obama.

MeyerIchl says:

Little opportunity with this piece to attack my coreligionists with whom I disagree. It’s more fun over at Dershowitz Supports Obama.

Suzy Lenkowsky says:

Thank you for Richard Dreyfuss’ voice in The Graduate. Rick Dreyfuss was two years ahead of me at Beverly Hills High School and I saw him in many Beverly High productions. When I saw The Graduate I sat up and nudged my friend and said i went to high school with that voice ! In all these years this is the first confirmation I’ve had.

Suzy Lenkowsky says:

Thank you for Richard Dreyfuss’ voice in The Graduate. Rick Dreyfuss was two years ahead of me at Beverly Hills High School and I saw him in many Beverly High productions. When I saw The Graduate I sat up and nudged my friend and said i went to high school with that voice ! In all these years this is the first confirmation I’ve had.

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Richard Dreyfuss and Hurricane Sandy

The Brooklyn-born Jewish actor turns 65

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