Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss said he gave up his “blessed life” because his country needed saving, telling radio personality Glenn Beck that he was infuriated by the number of Americans who “don’t understand what this place means.”
Dreyfuss joined Beck in an interview to discuss his book — “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” — and the state of his country, which he believed was dire.
.@RichardDreyfuss tells me he gave up acting "ONLY for something I loved as much, which was saving my country…It infuriates me that people don't understand what this place means." pic.twitter.com/Zxshkqa0aJ
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) January 16, 2023
“I gave up something I loved, and had loved since I was nine years old,” the “Mr. Holland’s Opus” star began. “Only for something else I loved as much, which was saving my country.”
“And I firmly believe that if we don’t revive the study of civics, we will be dead before 2050,” Dreyfuss continued. “We’ll have the same name —”
“Long before,” Beck agreed.
“— and it will be a nightmare,” Dreyfuss concluded.
“So I had led a blessed life,” Dreyfuss said — and by all accounts, he did. At 29 years old, he was the youngest to win a Best Actor Oscar for his turn as a struggling actor in the 1977 film “The Goodbye Girl.” He received another Best Actor nod for 1996’s “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” but lost to Nicolas Cage — who earned the nomination for his role in “Leaving Las Vegas.”
“And I gave it up for a blessed life,” the actor said of his transition to activism of sorts, going on to say that while his book may have fallen short with regard to saying everything that needed to be said, he felt like it was the best possible snapshot of where he was.
“It infuriates me that people don’t understand what this place means,” Dreyfuss added, his voice breaking. “What an advance on human progress this country is all about, and how quickly we can abandon it without — without a second thought.”
Dreyfuss went on to explain that one of the many things that concerned him was the attitude so many people had toward opposing views – namely that any opposing view was an attack and even more than that, was unAmerican.
“They don’t know that opposing views are entwined and threaded through the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and what we show to the world we believe in,” Dreyfuss said. “You know, there’s a very simple thing, and it’s – these documents tell the world who we are and why we are. And we say because they are works in progress, they tell us who we want to be when we grow up.”
WATCH the full interview: