Richard Dreyfuss is an acclaimed American actor known for roles in popular films like Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Mr. Holland’s Opus. However, despite his success, Dreyfuss has faced backlash and dislike from some people over the years.
Here’s an in-depth look at some of the reasons behind the animosity toward him.
What Films is Richard Dreyfuss Known For?
Richard Dreyfuss first gained widespread attention for his portrayal of Matt Hooper in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster Jaws. He then re-teamed with Spielberg for 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, another hugely popular sci-fi hit.
Some of Dreyfuss’ other most acclaimed films include:
- The Goodbye Girl (1977) – won Academy Award for Best Actor
- Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986)
- Stakeout (1987)
- Always (1989)
- Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995)
He has continued working steadily in movies and TV into the 2000s and 2010s.
Richard Dreyfuss’ Accolades
Over his long career, Dreyfuss has won numerous major awards:
- Academy Award for Best Actor – The Goodbye Girl (1977)
- Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – The Goodbye Girl (1977)
- BAFTA Award for Best Actor – The Goodbye Girl (1977)
- National Board of Review Award for Best Actor – Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995)
He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1989 in recognition of his film achievements.
What are Some Reasons People Dislike Richard Dreyfuss?
While clearly talented and successful, Richard Dreyfuss has still managed to rub some people the wrong way and garner dislike over the years. Some of the most common reasons include:
Difficult Reputation from Substance Abuse Issues
Dreyfuss struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for many years, particularly during the 1970s and 1980s. This caused well-publicized issues while filming movies, with Dreyfuss clashing with producers and arriving on set intoxicated.
His behavior earned him a reputation for being difficult to work with. While Dreyfuss eventually got sober in the mid-1980s, residuals of dislike have lingered.
Perception of Arrogance
Self-assured and opinionated, Dreyfuss has publicly feuded with other celebs and has been unafraid to ruffle feathers. Some interpret his blunt style and willingness to criticize others as arrogant.
Memorable examples include his long-running feud with actor Bill Murray and calling director Roman Polanski a “criminal” and “predator” during the Me Too movement.
Politically outspoken throughout his career, Dreyfuss’ liberal views and support of Democratic candidates has alienated some with opposing stances. This has intensified in recent decades with increased political polarization.
For instance, Dreyfuss garnered backlash for harshly criticizing then-Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush’s administration post-9/11. His partisan tweets continue today.
What Kinds of Characters Has Richard Dreyfuss Played?
While all successful actors, Richard Dreyfuss has rarely played the traditional leading man. Instead, he has thrived in particular types of character roles:
In films like Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Dreyfuss portrayed ordinary men who become caught up in extraordinary circumstances. His characters ultimately help save the day.
This relatable hero archetype carried through other roles in successes like Down and Out in Beverly Hills and Always.
Dreyfuss has excelled at playing driven, obsessive experts in their fields across various films.
For example, his elliptical-obsessed character in Down and Out in Beverly Hills and his music teacher slaving away for his students in Mr. Holland’s Opus.
Neurotic Personality Types
Characters often have anxious, neurotic, and generally irritable qualities about them.
His Oscar-winning role in The Goodbye Girl epitomizes this type, as does his washed-up Broadway star in Always. The layered self-absorption connects back to reasons some dislike Dreyfuss off-screen too.
Has Richard Dreyfuss Had Problems in His Personal Life?
Yes, Richard Dreyfuss has faced troubles and turmoil in his off-screen personal life over the years as well. Some examples of issues that have fueled dislike include:
Womanizing and Infidelity
Dreyfuss married actress Jeramie Rain in the early 1980s, but their relationship was damaged early on by his infidelity while touring. Affairs continued and they officially divorced in 1995 after years of turmoil.
This womanizing behavior combined with alcohol abuse irked many at the time, cementing a negative reputation when it came to principles and integrity.
In 2017, writer Jessica Teich accused Dreyfuss of harassing her and exposing himself without consent during script revisions in the 1980s. Dreyfuss denied exposing himself but did issue an apology.
Coming during the height of the Me Too movement, the accusations further damaged Dreyfuss’ reputation and respectability.
Dreyfuss endured severe injuries and brushes with death over the years as well, specifically:
- 1967: Almost killed in car accident that crushed his right elbow/forearm area
- 1982: Hospital stay after snorting cocaine laced with methamphetamines
- 1992: Injured after being pulled underwave into deep ocean water, requiring rescue
While accidents, the culmination left a perception of major substance issues and question marks about his decision-making.
Table summarizing the personal life issues faced by Richard Dreyfuss that have fueled dislike:
| Type of Issue | Details | |-|——-|——-| | Womanizing/Infidelity | Cheated repeatedly on first wife Jeramie Rain throughout failed marriage | | Harassment Allegations | Accused in 2017 by writer Jessica Teich of 1980s misconduct |
| Substance Abuse Accidents | Multiple near-death accidents related to drugs/alcohol |
Are There Any Positives to Richard Dreyfuss’ Legacy?
For all the negatives, Richard Dreyfuss still has supporters who point to his talents and positive impact. Some examples include:
Acting Range and Impact
At his best, Dreyfuss has turned in an array of memorable performances showcasing impressive dramatic range over a half-century career. Films like Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, and Mr. Holland’s Opus have become cultural touchstones.
Mental Health Advocacy
After getting sober in the 1980s, Dreyfuss spoke out about past substance abuse and became an advocate for mental health awareness. He testified before Congress and supported legislation expanding resources/education around issues like depression and addiction. His openness marked a more enlightened shift in attitudes.
Promotion of Arts Education
Passionate about nurturing young talent, Dreyfuss helped launch The Dreyfuss Initiative campaign in 2006. Its mission centers on restoring and expanding arts education and training in U.S. public schools. His speeches and fundraising around the cause won credit from supporters.
In evaluating the reasons why Richard Dreyfuss has inspired dislike over his long career, a rather typical Hollywood story emerges. Gifted artist struggles with personal demons and addiction. Difficult behavior and scandalous actions follow, though usually excused in light of talent and success.
Eventually, maturation and activism try to balance out the worst behavior. Yet the baseline image never fully recovers in the public imagination. Respect and appreciation for Dreyfuss’ film achievements get clouded by the more scandalous memories.
In this sense, Dreyfuss represents countless figures in the entertainment industry. The extraordinary creative gift seems almost intrinsically tied to volatile behavior, inflated ego, and poor decisions. It doesn’t absolve bad actions or harassment. But it does help explain the context that breeds complicated legacies.
Where the complexity gives way to simplification and cartoonish labels is in modern online cancel culture. Rather than nuance and personal growth, the tendency is to categorize individuals as heroes or villains exclusively. Though among Hollywood personalities, the truth usually lies somewhere far murkier.
And in the case of Richard Dreyfuss, the enduring dislike bases more in those messy contradictions versus any binary leadership categorization. Appreciation exists for the iconic acting roles, which bookmarked a career pockmarked by regrettable behavior, accidents, interpersonal feuds, and substance issues.