Jeff (I) Bridges filmography and biography
Date of birth: 4 December 1949, Los Angeles, California, USA
Jeff (I) Bridges biography
The son of well-known film and TV star Lloyd Bridges and his
long-time wife Dorothy Dean Bridges, Jeffrey Leon Bridges was
born on December 4, 1949 in Los Angeles, California, and grew up amid
the happening Hollywood scene with big brother Beau Bridges (I).
Both boys popped up unbilled alongside their mother in the film
The Company She Keeps, and appeared on occasion with
their famous dad on his popular underwater TV series
Sea Hunt while growing up. At age 14, Jeff toured with
his father in a stage production of "Anniversary Waltz". The
"troublesome teen" years proved just that for Jeff and his parents were
compelled at one point to intervene when problems with drugs and
marijuana got out of hand.
He recovered and began shaping his nascent young adult career appearing on TV as a younger version of his father in the acclaimed TV-movie Silent Night, Lonely Night (1969) (TV), and in the strange Burgess Meredith film The Yin and the Yang of Mr. Go. Following fine notices for his portrayal of a white student caught up in the racially-themed Halls of Anger, his career-maker arrived just a year later when he earned a coming-of-age role in the critically-acclaimed ensemble film The Last Picture Show. The Peter Bogdanovich- helmed film made stars out off its young leads (Bridges, Timothy Bottoms, Cybill Shepherd) and Oscar winners out of its older cast (Ben Johnson (I), Cloris Leachman). The part of Duane Jackson, for which Jeff received his first Oscar-nomination (for "best supporting actor"), set the tone for the types of roles Jeff would acquaint himself with his fans -- rambling, reckless, rascally and usually unpredictable).
Owning a casual carefree handsomeness and armed with a perpetual grin and sly charm, he started immediately on an intriguing 70s sojourn into offbeat filming. Chief among them were his boxer on his way up opposite a declining Stacy Keach in Fat City; his Civil War-era conman in the western Bad Company; his redneck stock car racer in The Last American Hero; his young student anarchist opposite a stellar veteran cast in Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh; his bank-robbing (also Oscar-nominated) sidekick to Clint Eastwood in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot; his aimless cattle rustler in Rancho Deluxe; his low-level western writer who wants to be a real-life cowboy in Hearts of the West; and his brother of an assassinated President who pursues leads to the crime in Winter Kills. All are simply marvelous characters that should have propelled him to the very top rungs of stardom...but strangely didn't.
Perhaps it was his trademark ease and naturalistic approach that made him somewhat under appreciated at that time when Hollywood was run by a Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino-like intensity. Neverthless, Jeff continued to be a scene-stealing favorite into the next decade, notably as the video game programmer in the 1982 sci-fi cult classic TRON, and the struggling musician brother vying with brother Beau Bridges (I) over the attentions of sexy singer Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys. Jeff became a third-time Oscar nominee with his highly intriguing (and strangely sexy) portrayal of a blank-faced alien in Starman, and earned even higher regard as the ever-optimistic inventor Preston Tucker in Tucker: The Man and His Dream.
Since then Jeff has continued to pour on the Bridges magic on film. Few enjoy such an enduring popularity while maintaining equal respect with the critics. The Fisher King, American Heart, Fearless, The Big Lebowski (now a cult phenom) and The Contender (which gave him a fourth Oscar nomination) are prime examples. More recently he seized the moment as a bald-pated villain as Robert Downey Jr.'s nemesis in Iron Man and then, at age 60, he capped his rewarding career by winning the elusive Oscar, plus the Golden Globe and Screen Actor Guild awards (among many others), for his down-and-out country singer Bad Blake in Crazy Heart.
Jeff has been married since 1977 to non-professional Susan Geston (they met on the set of Rancho Deluxe). The couple have three daughters, Isabelle (born 1981), Jessica (born 1983), and Hayley (born 1985). He hobbies as a photographer on and off his film sets, and has been known to play around as a cartoonist and pop musician.
Jeff (I) Bridges trivia
- Met his wife, Susan Bridges (II), in 1975 while filming Rancho Deluxe - she was working as a maid on a dude ranch.
- Son of Lloyd Bridges and Dorothy Dean Bridges, brother of Beau Bridges (I) and Cindy Bridges.
- Uncle of Casey Bridges, Jordan Bridges, Dylan Bridges, Emily Bridges and Jamey Geston.
- Actor spouses Larry Parks (I) and Betty Garrett were his godparents.
- Is a talented guitarist.
- Has stated American Heart and Fearless as his favorites.
- Born at 11:58 PM PST.
- Father of Isabelle Annie Bridges (Isabelle Bridges) (born August 6, 1981), Jessica Lily Bridges (born June 14, 1983) and Haley Roselouise Bridges (born October 17, 1985) with Susan Bridges (II).
- Between takes, he shoots still photographs as a hobby.
- Has played roles with the first name 'Jack' seven times, and with the surname 'Jackson' four times.
- Served in the United States Coast Guard.
- Is a big fan of Brian Wilson (I) and The Beach Boys.
- His performance as Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski in The Big Lebowski is ranked #90 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
- He is well known for his liberal political views.
- His performance as Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski in The Big Lebowski is ranked #90 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of AllTime.
- Was considered for the part of Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver.
- Is mentioned in the song "Jeff Bridges" by Midnight Choir.
- Went to Palisades Charter High School in Los Angeles.
- He was considered, along with Nick Nolte, for the role of Det. Sonny Crockett on Miami Vice. Both were deemed too expensive, and Don Johnson (I) got the part.
- Was considered for the part of Jack in Speed (1994/I).
- Was considered for the role of Dan Gallagher in Fatal Attraction.
- It was during the filming of The Iceman Cometh that he decided to focus solely on acting, and make it his profession. Up until then, he has said that he "just enjoyed the ride".
- Good friends with Nick Nolte and Gary Busey.
- Considered for the lead in Year of the Dragon.
- Considered for Christopher Walken's role in The Deer Hunter.
- His brother, Garrett Myles, died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) on August 3, 1948.
- Auditioned for the part of 'Cpt. Willard' in Apocalypse Now, as did his good friend Nick Nolte.
- His good friend Terry Gilliam wanted him for the part of James Cole in Twelve Monkeys. Bruce Willis got the part because he was a more bankable star.
- He was one of many considered for the role of 'John Rambo' in First Blood when the script was still circulating.
- Considered for the lead in The Thing.
- He was strongly considered for the lead role of 'Quaid' in Total Recall.
- The lead role of 'Jack' in Speed (1994/I) was originally written for him.
- He was offered the male lead in Love Story. His brother Beau Bridges (I) was the director's first choice. Both turned it down.
- He was considered for the lead in Kinsey.
- Turned down the role of 'Hooper' in Jaws.
- Offered the part of Bobby Grady in Crimes of Passion.
- Considered for the lead in Big.
- Close friend and collaborator of directors John Carpenter (I) and Terry Gilliam.
- He is a big fan of actors Robert Ryan (I) and Lee Marvin. Favorite movie is Billy Budd.
- Fan and friend of Kris Kristofferson (I). They both appeared in Heavens Gate, and Kristofferson famously sang "Help Me Make it Through the Night" in Fat City, which starred Bridges.
- Bridges and Nick Nolte were considered as possible candidates for the two leads in Heat, roles that famously went to Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.
- Director Michael Mann (I) strongly considered Bridges for the lead in Thief, but among other things, he was believed to be too young to be able to pull of the role of a seasoned criminal.
- Did some of his education at a military academy.
- Was director Taylor Hackford's original choice for the lead role in An Officer and a Gentleman, but he had to turn it down due to a busy schedule.
- Turned down the lead role of 'Jack Cates' in 48 Hrs., because he didn't want to do a simple cop movie. The role went to Nick Nolte. Bridges later worked with the director Walter Hill (I) in Wild Bill.
- Enjoys cigars, and smokes a couple every day.
- Is described as being an extremely laid-back guy.
- Turned down the lead role of Indiana Jones, one of the most famous movie characters of all time, in Raiders of the Lost Ark. He does not regret it.
- Friend of Tommy Lee Jones and Kurt Russell (I).
- Jon Hamm states Bridges as his favorite actor.
- Eagerly pursued the lead in The Stunt Man. Bridges was reportedly very keen to play Cameron, a fugitive who hides out at a movie set and accidentally becomes a stunt man.
- Jacknife was developed as a vehicle for Bridges. He turned it down, and Robert De Niro took on the lead role.
- He was considered for the part of Batman/Bruce Wayne in Batman.
- Was in a relationship with Candy Clark in the early 70s. They met on the set of Fat City.
- Uncle of Ezekiel (Zeke) Bridges, the youngest child of Beau Bridges.
- Turned down the role of "Snake Plissken" in Escape from New York. The role went to Kurt Russell (I).
- Was set to star in Tequila Sunrise with Nick Nolte, but when Nolte dropped out, so did he. Mel Gibson (I) and Kurt Russell (I) starred in the film.
- Turned down a part in The California Kid (1974) (TV).
- Turned down the part of 'Zachariah' in Zachariah to work on The Last Picture Show.
- Was considered for the part of "McKenna" in The Mechanic when Cliff Robertson (I) was set to star in the film.
- The first actor to be nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in a film that also starred Clint Eastwood. Bridges was nominated for Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.
- When a Freshman at Brentwood Academy in 1964, he was on the High School Football "A" Team.
Jeff (I) Bridges quotes
- As far as the lack of hits goes, I think perhaps it's because I've played a lot of different roles and have not created a persona that the public can latch on to. I have played everything from psychopathic killers to romantic leading men, and in picking such diverse roles I have avoided typecasting.
- I don't think I ever went down that movie star path. I always enjoy taking a 90-degree turn from the last thing I did.
- A large part of acting is just pretending. You get to work with these other great make-believers, all making believe as hard as they can. What I learned most from my father wasn't anything he said; it was just the way he behaved. He loved his work so much that, whenever he came on set, he brought that with him, and other people rose to it.
- Basically, one of the hardest things about being an actor is getting your first break. I'm a product of nepotism. The doors were open to me. I'd done several movies before I decided what I wanted to do. There was a certain amount of guilt and worry about whether I really had what it takes. I thought I'd spare my girls that.
- My father [Lloyd Bridges] encouraged his kids to go into showbiz, not because he wanted to live vicariously through them, but because he dug it so much. Growing up there was like a mild competition with my father and my brother, not so much maybe in reality, but in my own mind.
- Most cynics are really crushed romantics: they've been hurt, they're sensitive, and their cynicism is a shell that's protecting this tiny, dear part in them that's still alive.
- When you start to engage with your creative processes, it shakes up all your impulses, and they all kind of inform one another.
- I kind of rebelled against it. I resisted it. I didn't know what I wanted to do when I was a kid and was reluctant to go into, y'know, Dad's line of business.
- I had years of partying, and I was kind of surprised and happy I survived it all. Now, being a parent, I look back on it thinking, Oh God, the things you did!
- (on working with Kevin Spacey on K-PAX and their similarities in working] I've been a big fan of his work -- The Usual Suspects, American Beauty, L.A. Confidential. He's a really good actor and he turns out to be a wonderful guy as well. We approach acting in the same way in that we both enjoy the process. We both like rehearsals and we understand the value of them. There are some actors who don't like to engage with other actors; they just like to relate to each other between "Action!" and "Cut!" But I've always felt that getting to know the people you're working with can inform and enrich the work. The closer you get, even if you're playing opposites, the better the work. Some actors are afraid of leaving it all off-camera or getting the characters confused, but I don't see it that way. I often feel that the actual movie is like the skin sloughed off the snake; it's the by-product of the real valuable stuff, which is the real-life experience of doing it.
- [on his father, actor Lloyd Bridges] My father, unlike his father, was very supportive of all his kids getting involved in movies and acting in general. He loved what he did and wanted to turn his kids onto it. He thought it was a great way of meeting people, being creative, and traveling around the world and doing what you love to do.
- I went from high school -- bang! -- into the movies. I did spend a few weeks in acting classes in New York when my father was there doing "Cactus Flower". But most of my training really came from my parents and my brother [Beau Bridges (I)].
- For a long while I wasn't sure I was going to make acting my main focus professionally. I was interested in music, painting and other creative pursuits. I did the movies with a little more capricious an attitude; I wasn't so seriously minded as a total professional. Then came The Iceman Cometh We had eight weeks of rehearsals and then we shot for two weeks. So it was almost the reverse of how most movies are made. During those eight weeks, I was sitting around with these great actors and this great director, just shooting the breeze and, of course, going over the material. I was also getting to know how other actors of that caliber work on things like this. It was very enlightening. After that experience, I decided, "Hey, I can do this. And I can do this for the rest of my life in a professional way".
- [on deciding to do The Big Lebowski] When I was offered the part of The Dude in "The Big Lebowski", I went through a big thing in my head worrying if this was going to be a bad example for my girls. The guy was kind of an anti-hero, a pot-smoking, slacker kind of guy, and I was really racking my brain about it. I always want to feel free to play any role, a despicable guy or a good guy -- the full range of human experience. But this one was really giving me problems. So I assembled the family and told them my problem. After a long pause, my middle girl said, "Dad, you're an actor. We know that it's all pretend what you do. We know that when you kiss some lady on the screen that you still love Mom. We know you're an actor". So I had their permission, their blessing, to go play a character like The Dude. That was great that they understood that. And I count on the audiences to understand that what I do in my personal life and what I do on the screen are not some kind of example for them to base their lives on. Hopefully, when people see a movie, they know it's a movie.
- I'm very proud of The Last Picture Show. It was absolutely thrilling when I got that part. Peter Bogdanovitch was just great, and the whole ensemble was too - Cloris Leachman and Ellen Burstyn and Tim Bottoms and Cybill. When we were doing it, we all had the feeling that we were doing something unique and special. For me, that film stands alone. It's not like any other movie I can think of. It just hangs there by itself. It's still and slow and quiet.
- I'm glad I survived the '60s. They were dangerous. Fun, too. Everything in your life teaches you something.
- I've been involved with two big flop Westerns [Heaven's Gate and Wild Bill]. I don't know if Americans still care about Westerns. I hope they do. There are some wonderful ones still to be made. - 2001
- Acting is tough some times. It can be a complicated case. A lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what-have-yous, a lot of strands to keep in your head, man. But, you know, you manage.
- On Heavens Gate: I remember going to the New York premiere. I'm not sure he (Michael Cimino) had seen the movie complete; he was scrambling to put it together. Afterward we heard that terrible stuttering applause, and it was that sinking feeling. We tried to tell ourselves, "Well, maybe they liked it so much that they are stunned into silence."
- Probably 150 less movies are going to be made next year (2010), and that's very concerning to all actors. It's hard enough finding a great script, but now it's going to be tougher. -- on how the economy is affecting the film industry
- To get a good script at any age is kind of a rare thing. The movie-going audience is mainly young guys, and (producers) want to target them. It kind of makes sense from their standpoint, but an interesting story is an interesting story. I remember being a younger guy liking to see movies with older folks in them, so that never deterred me. -- on ageism in the film industry
- The hardest thing about acting is getting a foot in the door and that was all handled by my dad. The fact is, I'm a product of nepotism. And that took some getting used to. Life will supply you with gutters. Having a famous father. Feeling that stench of nepotism. That's a gutter right there.
- [on what advice he'd give to himself as a young actor starting out] Have fun. Don't take it too seriously. Don't mistake this for reality. Be sincere, but don't get too serious. But that's a life direction too, it doesn't just apply to movies.
- [On The Big Lebowski] It's kind of a masterpiece, man. It's like The Godfather - I see it on the tube and I think I'm just going to watch a couple of scenes, but I end up watching the whole thing.
- [On Crazy Heart] This one was kind of a challenge-I find I'm most challenged by things I really care about, because I really want to do them well. It causes quite a bit of anxiety. But that very thing you're afraid of is kind of like a blessing in disguise. If you didn't have that fear, you wouldn't have the other side - courage and bravery, positive emotions. As an actor, you get used to those fears, and you're almost happy when they show up. It makes you learn your lines and prepare. Then when it's finally time to pull the trigger on the thing, you relax and let it come out.
- (2010) I like to think of myself as a character actor, though there's some redundancy in that... I'm very pleased with my career, the stories I've told. I consider myself very lucky as to how it all came down. I don't really care about having more fame than I have.