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Richard Dreyfuss: Bill Murray ‘was an Irish drunken bully’ after ashtray-throwing incident

The actor recounts taking abuse from co-star Murray during the shooting of 1991’s “What About Bob?”

Actor Richard Dreyfuss of the television show ‘Shots Fired’ speaks onstage during the FOX portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at Langham Hotel on January 11, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty
Actor Richard Dreyfuss of the television show ‘Shots Fired’ speaks onstage during the FOX portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at Langham Hotel on January 11, 2017 in Pasadena, California.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

During an illustrious film career, Richard Dreyfuss has enjoyed the highs, stardom and an Oscar, and the lows, including taking abuse from co-star Bill Murray during the shooting of 1991’s “What About Bob?”

In a wide-ranging interview with Yahoo!, Dreyfuss, now starring in “Daughter of the Wolf,” recounts animosity with Murray, his doubts about blockbuster “Jaws” and getting pushed into a pool by Harrison Ford during the filming of George Lucas’ “American Graffiti.”

Of Murray, who played a patient who harasses his therapist (Dreyfuss) during his family vacation, Dreyfuss says: ”I didn’t talk about it for years. … Bill just got drunk at dinner. He was an Irish drunken bully, is what he was. … He came back from dinner (one night) and I said, ‘Read this (script tweak), I think it’s really funny.’ And he put his face next to me, nose-to-nose. And he screamed at the top of his lungs, ‘Everyone hates you! You are tolerated!’”

Murray then “leaned back and he took a modern glass-blown ashtray. He threw it at my face from (only a couple feet away),” says Dreyfuss, who won an Oscar for 1977’s “The Goodbye Girl.” “And it weighed about three quarters of a pound. And he missed me. He tried to hit me. I got up and left.”

Dreyfuss, who starred in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 film “Jaws,” said he didn’t have faith in what would become a blockbuster and a classic.

“Everyone had thought they had struck gold, and I said, ‘What are you talking about? It’s just a little movie.’ So when the film was released, I found myself going back to the talk shows and saying ‘I’m the guy who didn’t believe in it,’” he says.

He praises the generosity of Lucas. “He took one of his (profit) points, and he divided it up among the 10 leading actors. And I have made more money off that one-tenth of that one gross point than I have on anything else. That’s a pure gesture.”