Richard Dreyfuss, Academy Award-winning actor and passionate advocate for teaching American history in primary and secondary schools, will be given the 2010 Empire State Archives and History Award on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. in The Egg, Empire State Plaza, downtown Albany. As part of the program, Dreyfuss will be interviewed by noted Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer about his life, work and passion for history. Tickets are $10 and may be obtained from The Egg Box Office at (518) 473-1845 or online at www.theegg.org. The event is sponsored by the New York State Archives Partnership Trust, Greenberg Traurig, the Times Union, the History channel, and the New York State Writers Institute.
Dreyfuss is a leading advocate for the teaching of history in America’s primary and secondary schools. Recently, the Brooklyn-born actor founded a nonprofit organization, The Dreyfuss Initiative, whose mission is to promote Constitutional literacy, historical appreciation and open political dialogue among young people. Regarding the group’s mission, Dreyfuss states, “We are a nation bound by ideas only. We have no common ancestry, no common religion, no common military victory or defeat, no common crime that binds us. If you don’t teach those ideas to every new generation of Americans with wit and rigor, we are not bound.”
A member of the Board of Trustees of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Dreyfuss served as Senior Associate Member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford, where he researched and developed new curricula for teaching the history and practice of democracy in public schools.
Dreyfuss received the Academy Award for Best Actor in Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl (1977), the youngest actor to be so honored until 2002. Dreyfuss was nominated a second time for Mr. Holland’s Opus in 1995. The actor’s other noteworthy films include The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974), his first lead role, American Graffiti (1973), Jaws (1975), Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Tin Men (1987), Krippendorf’s Tribe (1998), and Oliver Stone’s W. (2008). Dreyfuss’s remarkable performance in W. as Vice President Dick Cheney earned him a great deal of critical attention and praise. Dreyfuss received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1996.
Dreyfuss’s many television credits include four episodes of the Showtime series, Weeds in its 2010 season, two episodes voicing himself in the 2009 season of Family Guy, and the title role in the CBS series, The Education of Max Bickford (2001-2002), about a history professor at a women’s college. The latter role earned him a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Actor.
Dreyfuss is also the coauthor of a novel with leading fantasy writer, Harry Turtledove – The Two Georges (1995), which presents an alternative history of the American Revolution.
In advance of the program, a ticketed reception to honor Dreyfuss will be held at The Egg from 5:30-7:00 p.m. To learn more, contact the Trust at (518) 486-9349, or online at http://www.archives.nysed.gov. Proceeds will benefit the New York State Archives and Archives Partnership Trust.