HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) --Richard Dreyfuss won the Oscar in 1978 for the Neil Simon comedy, "The Goodbye Girl." He was nominated again in 1996 for the music-centered "Mr. Holland's Opus."
Both roles allowed him to play very likable characters. But now, he's going in the opposite direction, playing the much despised money manager Bernie Madoff in the two-part miniseries "Madoff."
The former stockbroker and investment advisor operated the largest financial scam in U.S. history, impacting the global market while losing billions of dollars for clients worldwide.
Dreyfuss said he saw Madoff as a master opportunist.
"Bernie Madoff went into business. He did not go into 'I'm going to be the greatest Ponzi schemer in history," said Dreyfuss. "Circumstances arose that allowed him one opportunity, which led to another, which led to another. And there was no culture to stop him."
The subject hit close to home for the native New Yorker.
"I have friends who have moved to Europe and have become teachers in Denmark because they lost every dollar," Dreyfuss said. "And I know of people from West Palm Beach who are now cab drivers in Orlando."
Dreyfuss is baffled by the Madoff's hubris over the whole situation.
"He betrayed his wife, and his children, and his friends, and anyone he ever met. And he did that knowing that it was the clue to how corrupt the whole system was, and he just didn't care," Dreyfuss stated.
"Madoff" airs Wednesday and Thursday night at 8 pm on ABC7.