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November 19th, 2013
09:06 PM ET

Richard Dreyfuss on his bi-polar disorder: "I was the person, who when he talked, he would get up loud, faster, loud faster, loud faster..."

Coming up tonight at 9, Richard Dreyfuss joins "Piers Morgan Live" for his first interview on the primetime program, during which the actor reveals details of the bi-polar disorder he's been dealing with for nearly his entire life.

An Academy Award winner known for his roles in such classic films as "Jaws," "Mr. Holland’s Opus," and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," Dreyfuss will pull up a seat in studio opposite the host, tackling such weighty matters such as Obamacare, and the NRA.

But before discussing gun control and the president's struggling Affordable Healthcare Act, the 66-year-old delved into his adolescence, and his personal struggles with mental health:

“When I was about 14, I said to my sister, ‘I wonder what would have happened to me if I had never taken any drug,’ he tells Piers Morgan. “And she said, ‘why are you asking?’ And I said, ‘well before that, before I smoked marijuana and all that, I was pretty normal.’ And she said, ‘don’t revise history, you were nuts when you were born.’"

In reviewing his won tendencies, Dreyfuss offered Morgan a window into his behavior as a youth:

"I was the person, who when he talked, he would get up loud, faster, loud faster, loud faster, until one of my friends would say ‘well let’s get the big surface cables and tie them around his ankles and pull him gently back to earth.’”

Boasting an illustrious career that spanned decades, Dreyfuss admits his condition may have helped him professionally:

“I had lived from thrill to thrill, and I had a certainty about my success…which I look back now and said that was probably part of my manic,” he says. “ I always managed to turn it in my favor.”

The founder of a nonprofit organization geared towards helping young students become better informed and better prepared citizens through a focus on civics in public schools, Dreyfuss encourages kids to question, debate, and think critically.

Watch the clip, and tune to CNN tonight for the full interview. And, for more information on The Dreyfuss Initiative, go to the program's website.
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  1. Melody Macdonald

    I found the interview with Richard Dreyfuss very interesting; he is obviously an intelligent, thoughtful person. In particular, what he had to say on the gun control issue was well worth hearing. However, I was quite disappointed that Piers didn't spend more time with him and instead we had to listen to way too much discussion on the f-word/n-word issue (again!). Richard Dreyfuss' non-profit was mentioned very briefly at the close of the interview – but no information was given about it. Too bad.

    November 19, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thomas Wilke

      I totally agree. It seemed like Pier's couldn't wait to get Richard Dreyfuss off the set. Just because you may not agree with Mr. Dreyfuss position, he should have been given more time and to be honest more respect. It was one question, one answer, different subject, one question, one answer, interview over.

      November 20, 2013 at 3:55 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rosemary Collier

      I was stunned at how fast Piers ended the interview with Richard Dreyfus and I an feeling increasingly frustrated with his stance on gun control and his inability to have a thoughtful dialogue about the subject. If you don't agree with Piers, that's it, interview over. I am sick of his crusading night after night on the same issue. I just turn the channel.

      November 20, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • brasstacs

        Rosemary.....You are correct.in my opinion...First of all Morgan is on the wrong side of the gun control debate....None of the gun control proposals in congress would have prevented any of those horrific mass shootings...and Morgan is not only wrong but also is deceitful on this issue.(and others)..Morgan mostly is a tabloid gossip monger with a long history of scandal and deceit..and he cannot be believed and has zero credibility...this and the fact that his ratings are at the bottom of the barrel .it's a mystery why he still even on the air.

        November 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
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    I liked this interview a lot. What a breath of air. Thank you, Richard Dreyfuss.

    November 20, 2013 at 3:07 am | Report abuse | Reply
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    I thought that was Dick Cheney.

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    Since then, he s been sharing his personal struggles at conferences around the country to elevate the discussion on depression. There s no shame in having depression, Dreyfuss told PEOPLE at Thursday s Hope for Depression Research Foundation luncheon in New York City.

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