Last week, Richard Dreyfuss had a close encounter of the marrying kind.
In Harrisonburg, Virginia, for a talk at James Madison University, the veteran actor went way off script. On Thursday, he ditched campus for the nearby Rockingham County Courthouse, where he picked up a marriage license and exchanged vows with his girlfriend, Russian-born Svetlana Erokhin, 46, on the spot in the magistrate's office.
"We had no idea they would be marrying," Andy Perrine, associate vice president of communications and marketing at James Madison, told People magazine.
"Although one look at Svetlana and you wouldn't be surprised he wanted to marry her. She's beautiful and has a sultry Russian accent. She clearly is head over heels in love with Richard, who is captivatingly funny. They were like two young loves who couldn't seem to get enough of each other," added Perrine, who might as well teach in the department of too much information.
This marks the third time the 58-year-old Dreyfuss has said, "I do." The Jaws star has three children from his first marriage.
The impromptu wedding came a day after Dreyfuss spoke in front of a crowd of 400 at a luncheon honoring James Madison donors and scholarship recipients.
In his speech, Dreyfuss said that in addition to being an actor he had also wanted to be a teacher. While his professorial roles have been limited to TV and movies so far, the studious performer has been doing research at England's Oxford University since November, when he finished shooting the upcoming Poseidon. He is working on developing a civics curriculum that can be taught in American public schools, according to the Associated Press.
"Civility is more than manners," he told the audience at James Madison. "Civility is the oxygen that democracy requires." Dreyfuss said that he wants America's youth to study the "mechanics of our system."
"I was always a terrible student," he told reporters last week, reminiscing about how he was thrown out of San Fernando Valley State College (now known as the California State University at Northridge). "But I love learning. I'm the guy who is always trying to prove he went to college."
The multitalented Dreyfuss (Oscar winner for The Goodbye Girl, Oscar nominee for Mr. Holland's Opus, vigilant shark-hunter) is also currently working on a documentary for James Madison's International Beliefs and Values Institute. His next big-screen venture is Poseidon, a remake of the 1972 upside-down boat adventure costarring Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas and Emmy Rossum, is due out in May.