JEFF BRIDGES [Jeffrey Leon Bridges]
December 4, 1949
Los Angeles, CA
Jeff Bridges was the second of three children born to actors Lloyd Bridges and Dorothy. He got
his first taste of the business at 4 months in the arms of Jane Greer, uncredited, in the film
"The Company She Keeps". Jeff and siblings Beau and Cindy were reared away from
the Hollywood scene in seclud- ed Mar Vista, not far from the beach. No doubt a fitting environment to TV's Mike Nelson, the role essayed by father Lloyd on the series "Sea Hunt." Not surprisingly, Jeff followed in his father's thespian footsteps and appeared with him on "Sea Hunt," Lloyd's self-titled variety show, and the short-lived television oater "The Loner."
Jeff's academics often took a back seat to his budding career. He began high school at a
military academy to give him discipline he was in need of. At 16, he wrote a song which was
used in the 1969 Peter Yates' film "John and Mary" and sold 2 compositions to Quincy Jones.
Like so many others, Jeff entered the Coast Guard Reserves at 18 to avoid the Vietnam War
draft. Following graduation from University High, he journeyed to New York where he studied
acting at the famed Herbert Berghof Studio. He made his film debut in "Halls of Anger" and
followed it up with a role in "The Yin and Yang of Mr. Go", written and directed by actor
The young actor's breakthrough came with his role of Lone Star teen Duane Jackson in Peter
Bogdonavitch's critically acclaimed "The Last Picture Show", a part which earned him an
Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Bridges went on to work with the likes
of John Huston and John Frankenheimer, but it was not until Frankenheimer's adaptation of
the O'Neill classic, "The Iceman Cometh", that Bridges gave serious thought to acting. For at
the time he was more interested in indulging in drugs, meditation, and romances with the
likes of Cybil Shepard, his co-star in "The Last Picture Show", and Valerie Perrine of
"The Last American Hero".
Jeff earned another Oscar nomination as a journeyman thief partnered with a veteran crook, Clint
Eastwood, in "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot". It would be the first nomination given to a production
from Eastwood's company Malpaso. Again, Bridges did not win. He would later co-star with Sally
Field in Bob Rafelson's "Stay Hungry" and with one-time Wilhelmina model Jessica Lange in Dino
DeLaurentiis gargantuan remake of "King Kong."
Jeff again worked with Cimino, who had earned an Oscar for his harrowing 1978 Vietnam War tale
"The Deer Hunter", as John L. Bridges in the epic western "Heaven's Gate". Critics damned the
film and it sent United Artists under. Bridges bought the Montana ranch used as a brothel in
the film as his Hollywood retreat.
In 1984, Jeff starred as a washed-up football star who searches for and later finds love with
Rachel Ward in Taylor Hackford's "Against all Odds". He later starred that year as a godlike
extraterrestrial in John Carpenter's "Starman". Bridges earned another Oscar nomination, this
time for Best Actor. Jeff's lucky streak continued with his role of a wealthy murder suspect
in Richard Marquand's "Jagged Edge".
He portrayed alcoholic cops in his next 2 efforts--both released the next year. Hal Ashby's
"Eight Million Ways to Die" was probably savaged by even more critics and the film earned far
millions less than its title. Jeff also appeared in a modest Christmas hit, Sidney Lumet's
"The Morning After", opposite Jane Fonda.
In 1989, Jeff went on to star in Alan Pakula's pseudo autobiographical "See You in the Morning",
co-starring with his "Somebody Killed Her Husband" leading lady Farrah Fawcett and his mother
Dorothy who played his mother onscreen.
Jeff showed his versatility in a trio of roles in 1993 ranging from an eerie stranger in "The
Vanishing", an ex-con hoping to change his ways in "American Heart" and a plane crash survivor
in "Fearless". He got into the action hero mode as an explosives expert in "Blown Away" and
western legend Wild Bill Hicock in Walter Hill's "Wild Bill". He showed fortitude by braving
the waves in Ridley Scott's "White Squall", and as the object of Barbara Streisand's affection
in Streisand's "The Mirror has 2 Faces".
Always the consummate actor, he packed on the pounds to play a drugged out bowler in the Coen
brothers' "The Big Lebowski".
Voted one of the 25 Greatest Actors of the 90's by Entertainment Weekly, many have come to
regard Jeff as a gentleman of an actor. Additionally, not only is he politically involved as
the force behind the End Hunger Network, but he is also famous among other actors and directors
for his generosity and sincerity. He is married to Susan (Geston) Bridges, a photographer, and
has three children, Isabelle, Jessica, and Hayley.
Photo © unknown - Bio by Robert Baum © 2001 [used with permisson]
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