Richard Dreyfuss (born October 29, 1947) is an American actor, known for starring in a number of films, television and theater roles since the late 1960s. He is probably best known for his roles in Jaws, The Goodbye Girl, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Always, Mr. Holland's Opus, and most recently, the 2008 bio-pic W. as former Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney.
Dreyfuss won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1977 for The Goodbye Girl, and was nominated in 1995 for Mr. Holland's Opus. He has also won multiple Golden Globe Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Screen Actors Guild Awards for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.
Dreyfuss was born Richard Stephen Dreyfus in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Norman, an attorney and restaurateur, and Geraldine, a peace activist. Dreyfuss is Jewish and his surname is of Yiddish origin, believed to originate in the German city of Trier, which had a large Jewish population in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. The Latin name for the city was "Treveris", of which Dreyfuss is a variant. He commented that he "grew up thinking that Alfred Dreyfus and I are of the same family."
Dreyfuss's acting career began while a youth at the Beverly