Five Things You May Not Know About Richard Dreyfuss

Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss is currently starring as Albert Einstein in Relativity, a new play by Mark St. Germain at Hartford’s TheaterWorks. The 90 minute production, directed by Rob Ruggiero, has been extended through Sunday, Nov. 20.

Though we are familiar with the work of the actor in films such as American GraffitiJawsClose Encounters of the Third KindThe Goodbye Girl, and Mr. Holland’s Opus, there are a few things about the actor you might not know about, and also one big thing you might not know about Einstein.

1. Dreyfuss’s life changed because of a coin flip: The Brooklyn-born Dreyfuss spent his very early years in Bayside, Queens. After a brief stay in Spain while his father sought work there, the family returned to the United States. His father, he says, “bought a ‘49 Cadillac in 1956 and when I was nine we drove across the country—and we broke down before we even got to the George Washington Bridge. Nine days into the trip, my parents flipped a coin to see whether we’d to go to Seattle or L.A.” The coin toss sent the family to Los Angeles where he went to Beverly Hills High School and started a passionate pursuit to become an actor.

2. Einstein was on his mind before the play: “I had actually written a film called An Einsteinian Vaudeville because when I read the story of his life, I felt that different parts lent themselves to different genres. I saw Einstein’s leaving Germany in the style of a black-and-white Warner Bros. film; his discussion with Newton was in animation.” And for Einstein’s eureka moment “he’d be at train station holding onto the hand of his father and as a train whizzes by against the station you see the kid go, ‘Hmmm.’”