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Watch > Episode > Richard Dreyfuss - What We Teach Our Children Scares Me: Why The American Experiment May Fail

Richard Dreyfuss - What We Teach Our Children Scares Me: Why The American Experiment May Fail


Academy-Award-Winning Actor

Here at London Real, we pride ourselves on bringing you a whole range of guests from all different walks of life. From philosophers and scientists to extreme athletes and financial wizards. But every now and then we like to throw in an Academy-Award-winning actor who has starred in some of the biggest and most successful films of the last half a century.

Yes, today we have the immense pleasure of welcoming Richard Dreyfuss to the London Real hotseat, and I for one am thoroughly looking forward to taking a deep dive with a man who has lived a quite extraordinary life.

Richard Dreyfuss is one of the most well-known actors of his generation. A man synonymous with films like Jaws, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, American Graffiti, Tin Men, and Let It Ride among a host of others, as he firmly established himself in the Hollywood elite.

Having been born in Brooklyn, New York to a Jewish family descended from Polish and Russian immigrants, it appears a quite remarkable rise, but not for Richard himself, as he always felt his destiny was that of emulating the greats on the big screen.

It was in the 70s that Richard became a household name and one of the biggest in the business. His break came in American Graffiti in 1973 before playing a young entrepreneur in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz in 1974 to huge acclaim. After that of course came a star turn as marine biologist Matt Hooper in Jaws.

During a period of five years in the mid-70s, Richard’s films grossed nearly a billion dollars at the box office, and moreover, Jaws represented a watershed moment in the film industry as the birth of the summer blockbuster, changing the way films are made to this day.

Throughout this time he worked with a who’s who of Hollywood, from Spielberg and Lucas to Francis Ford Coppola and a then-unknown Harrison Ford. In 1978, Richard won the Oscar for Best Actor for an outstanding turn in The Goodbye Girl and became the youngest man to win the award, an honour he held for the following 25 years.

Of course, as with many a tale of fame and fortune, Richard’s life took a sharp turn when drugs and alcohol made their presence felt and in turn, Richard suffered a stereotypical and rather public sojourn from grace. It culminated in Richard’s arrest in Beverly Hills in 1982 and brought with it a wake-up call and determination to right the wrongs in his life.

Richard is a fascinating character who has lived the life, walked the walk and survived to tell the tale. But, there is another side to the man. A motivated, passionate, determined individual who has dedicated his life away from the big screen to promote the need for a return to civic education for the children of America.

Richard believes that by forgoing civic education in schools, young people lack the necessary tools and expertise to be effective and active citizens. Richard’s new book expands on this very topic. ‘One Thought Scares Me: We Teach Our Children What We Wish Them to Know; We Don’t Teach Our Children What We Don’t Wish Them to Know’ – delves deep into America’s failing democratic republic and why it shouldn’t be a surprise. 

“We can’t fly a plane without training; we can’t practise medicine without attending medical school. And yet we expect the American people to wield the full power of their citizenship, the product of the most revolutionary governmental thinking in human history, without any education.”

This is sure to be a big one. Richard is a sharp and intelligent individual who has an important message and one we should all take notice of before it’s too late. There’s so much to cram into this conversation and I can’t wait to sit down with a man who has graced our screens for over fifty years.

Download clips

A number of clips from this exclusive interview are now available to download, share and repost. Spread the word: grab these clips today!

  1. The Dreyfuss family history
  2. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire
  3. My life was connected to the politics of the 19th Century
  4. I don’t think of myself as anything but an actor
  5. Bipolar disorder and acting
  6. Civics is the most important thing I’m doing
  7. Being proud of your national birth tale
  8. The return to senselessness
  9. We’re an amazing accident of history
  10. We have a great deal to be proud of
  11. The only thought that scares me
  12. The glory tales
  13. If America fails, what then?


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