Bridges, Jeff 1949–
BRIDGES, Jeff 1949–
Full name, Jeffrey Leon Bridges; born December 4, 1949, in Los Angeles, CA; son of Lloyd Vernet (an actor) and Dorothy Dean (maiden name, Simpson) Bridges; brother of Beau Bridges (an actor); married Susan Geston (a photographer), 1977; children: Isabelle Annie, Jessica Lily, Hayley Roselouise. Education: Studied acting with Uta Hagen at Hagen–Berghof Studio. Avocational Interests: Composing songs, playing guitar, painting, writing, ceramics, and photography.
Addresses: Agent—United Talent Agency, 9560 Wilshire Blvd., 5th Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Manager—Koenigsberg Management, 200 N. Larchmont Blvd., Suite 2, Hollywood, CA 90004. Office—AsIs Productions, 200 N. Larchmont, Suite 2, Los Angeles, CA 90004.
Career: Actor and producer. AsIs Productions, cofounder; End Hunger Network, cofounder and board member, 1983; Earth Communications Office (a grass roots activist group), board member; appeared in television commercials for Duracell batteries and Ameriquest Mortgage Company. Military service: Served in U.S. Coast Guard Reserve.
Awards, Honors: Academy Award nomination, best supporting actor, 1971, for The Last Picture Show; Academy Award nomination, best supporting actor, 1974, for Thunderbolt and Lightfoot; named Discovery of the Year, Hollywood Women's Press Club, 1975; Golden Apple Award nomination, male new star of the year, 1975; Academy Award nomination, best actor, Golden Globe Award nomination, best actor in a motion picture drama, 1984, both for Starman; Presidential End Hunger Award, celebrity category, U.S. Agency for International Development, 1988; named NATO/ShoWest Male Star of the Year, National Association of Theatre Owners, 1990; Golden Globe Award nomination, best actor in a musical or comedy, 1991, for The Fisher King; Independent Spirit Award, best actor, Independent Film Project, and Independent Spirit Award nomination (with others), best first feature, 1992, both for American Heart; received star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1994; Golden Satellite Award nomination, best actor in a comedy or musical motion picture, 1998, for The Big Lebowski; Film Excellence Award, Boston Film Festival, 2000; Raul Julia Award, 2000, for humanitarian work; Academy Award nomination, best actor in a supporting role, Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture, Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a supporting role—drama, Alan J. Pakula Award (with others), Broadcast Film Critics Association, 2001, all for The Contender; Modern Master Award, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, 2003; Screen Actors Guild Award nomination (with others), outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a supporting role—drama, 2004, all for Seabiscuit.
(Uncredited) Infant at train station, The Company She Keeps, RKO Radio Pictures, 1951.
Douglas, Halls of Anger, United Artists, 1970.
Nero Finnighan, The Yin and Yang of Dr. Go (also known as The Third Eye), 1970.
Duane Jackson, The Last Picture Show, Columbia, 1971.
Jake Rumsey, Bad Company, Paramount, 1972.
Ernie, Fat City, Columbia, 1972.
Don Parritt, The Iceman Cometh, American Film Theatre, 1973.
Elroy Jackson, Jr., The Last American Hero (also known as Hard Driver), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1973.
Zack Feather, Lolly–Madonna XXX (also known as The Lolly–Madonna War), Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1973.
Lightfoot, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, United Artists, 1974.
Lewis Tater/Needy Wales, Hearts of the West (also known as Hollywood Cowboy), Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists, 1975.
Jack McKee, Rancho Deluxe, United Artists, 1975.
Jack Prescott, King Kong, Paramount, 1976.
Craig Blake, Stay Hungry, United Artists, 1976.
Jerry Green, Somebody Killed Her Husband, Columbia, 1978.
Nick Kegan, Winter Kills, Avco Embassy, 1979.
Harry, The American Success Company (also known as American Success, The Ringer, and Success), Columbia, 1980.
John H. Bridges, Heaven's Gate (also known as Johnson County Wars), United Artists, 1980.
Richard Bone, Cutter and Bone (also known as Cutter's Way), United Artists, 1981.
Rupert Baines, Kiss Me Goodbye, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1982.
Voice of Prince Lir, The Last Unicorn (also known as Das Letzte Einhorn; animated), Jensen Farley Pictures, 1982.
Kevin Flynn/Clu, Tron, Buena Vista, 1982.
Terry Brogan, Against All Odds, Columbia, 1984.
Title role, Starman (also known as John Carpenter's "Starman"), Columbia, 1984.
Matthew Scudder, Eight Million Ways to Die (also known as 8 Million Ways to Die), TriStar, 1985.
Jack Forrester, The Jagged Edge, Columbia, 1985.
Turner Kendall, The Morning After, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1986.
Vernon Hightower, Nadine, TriStar, 1987.
Preston Tucker, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Paramount, 1988.
Jack Baker, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1989.
Larry Livingston, See You in the Morning, Warner Bros., 1989.
Duane Jackson, Texasville, Columbia, 1990.
(Uncredited) Bartender, Cold Feet, Avenue, 1990.
Jack Lucas, The Fisher King, TriStar, 1991.
Picture This—The Life and Times of Peter Bogdanovich in Archer City, Texas (documentary), Next Generation Video, 1991.
Jack Keely, American Heart, Triton Pictures, 1993.
Max Klein, Fearless (also known as Joy Ride), Warner Bros., 1993.
Barney Cousins, The Vanishing, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1993.
Jimmy Dove/Liam McGivney, Blown Away, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists, 1994.
James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok, Wild Bill (also known as Deadwood and Wild Bill Hickok), Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists, 1995.
Gregory Larkin, The Mirror Has Two Faces, TriStar, 1996.
Skipper Christopher Sheldon, White Squall, Buena Vista, 1996.
Jeff "the Dude" Lebowski, The Big Lebowski, Gramercy, 1998.
Himself, The Making of "The Big Lebowski" (documentary), Universal Studios Home Video, 1998.
Michael Faraday, Arlington Road, Screen Gems, 1999.
Lyle Carter, Simpatico, Fine Line, 1999.
Jack Warrick, The Muse, October Films, 1999.
Himself, Hidden Vulnerability: A Look Into the Making of "Arlington Road" (documentary), Columbia TriStar Home Video, 1999.
Himself, The Last Picture Show: A Look Back (documentary), Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, 1999.
President Jackson Evans, The Contender (also known as Rufmord—Jenseits der Moral), DreamWorks, 2000.
Jimmy Berg, Scenes of the Crime, Columbia TriStar Home Video, 2001.
Dr. Mark Powell, K–PAX, Universal, 2001.
Himself, The Making of a Political Thriller (documentary), DreamWorks Home Entertainment, 2001.
Narrator, Lost in La Mancha, 2002.
Himself, The Making of "Tron" (documentary), Walt Disney Pictures, 2002.
Voice of narrator, Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West (short film), Destination Cinema, 2002.
Tom Friend, Masked and Anonymous, Sony Pictures Classics, 2003.
Charles Howard, Seabiscuit, Universal, 2003.
Himself, The Making of "Seabiscuit" (documentary; also known as Bringing the Legend to Life: The Making of "Seabiscuit"), Universal Studios Home Video, 2003.
Himself, Big City Dick: Richard Peterson's First Movie (documentary), 2004.
Ted Cole, The Door in the Floor, Focus Features, 2004.
Andy Sargentee, The Moguls, Newmarket Films, 2005.
Coproducer, American Heart, Triton Pictures, 1993.
Additional still photographer, The Last Picture Show: A Look Back (documentary), 1999.
Television Appearances; Series:
Occasional player, The Lloyd Bridges Show, 1962–1963.
Television Appearances; Movies:
Young John, Silent Night, Lonely Night, NBC, 1969.
Mike Olson, In Search of America, ABC, 1971.
(Uncredited) Neighbor, The Thanksgiving Promise (also known as The Thanksgiving Story), ABC, 1986.
Vincent, Hidden in America, Showtime, 1996.
Television Appearances; Specials:
Narrator, The Heroes of Rock and Roll (documentary), 1979.
Michael Loomis, "Girls in Their White Summer Dresses," Girls in White Dresses and Other Stories by Irwin Shaw, 1981.
Superstars and Their Moms, TBS, 1989.
A User's Guide to Planet Earth: The American Environment Test, ABC, 1991.
Naked Hollywood (documentary), Arts and Entertainment, 1991.
Lloyd Bridges (documentary), Arts and Entertainment, 1998.
Himself, Forever Hollywood, 1999.
Himself, Arista Records' 25th Anniversary Celebration, NBC, 1999.
Voice of narrator, Raising the Mammoth (documentary), The Discovery Channel, 2000.
Jessica Lange: On Her Own Terms (documentary), Arts and Entertainment, 2001.
Jeff Bridges: Building Bridges (documentary), Arts and Entertainment, 2002.
Host, What's Going On? (documentary), Showtime, 2003.
Himself, The True Story of Seabiscuit (documentary), Arts and Entertainment, 2003.
Himself, Seabiscuit: The Making of a Legend (documentary), Arts and Entertainment, 2003.
Himself, Hollywood Ledgenden, 2004.
Final Cut: The Making of "Heaven's Gate" and The Unmasking of a Studio (documentary), TRIO, 2004.
Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:
Himself, the 44th Annual Academy Awards, 1972.
The 59th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1987.
The 61st Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1989.
Presenter, The 62nd Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1990.
Presenter, The 63rd Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1991.
Presenter, The 66th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1994.
Presenter, The 54th Annual Golden Globe Awards, NBC, 1997.
Host, The 1st Annual Laureus Sports Awards, TNT, 2000.
Presenter, The 15th Annual IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards, Independent Film Channel and Bravo, 2000.
AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Barbra Streisand, TNT, 2001.
Presenter, The 61st Annual Golden Globe Awards, TNT, 2004.
Presenter, The 10th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, TNT, 2004.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
(Television debut) "The Lost Ones," Sea Hunt, syndicated, 1958.
"The Birthday Present," Sea Hunt, syndicated, 1958.
Bud Windom, "The Ordeal of Bud Windom," The Loner, ABC, 1965.
Terry Shelton, "Boomerang," The F.B.I., ABC, 1969.
"Nightbirds," The Most Deadly Game, ABC, 1970.
Prince, "Rapunzel," Faerie Tale Theatre, Showtime, 1983.
Cohost, Saturday Night Live, NBC, 1983.
Gyest, The Late Show with David Letterman, 1995, 1998, 2003.
Guest, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 1996, 2003.
Himself, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, 1996.
Himself, "Charity," Dennis Miller Live, 1999.
Himself, The Howard Stern Radio Show, syndicated, 2000.
Himself, Parkinson, 2000, 2002.
The View, ABC, 2001, 2003.
Himself, Inside the Actors Studio, Bravo, 2003.
Himself, Larry King Live, CNN, 2003.
Also appeared as host, "100 Greatest Albums of Rock and Roll," The Greatest, VH1.
Television Work; Movies:
Executive producer, Hidden in America, Showtime, 1996.
Toured with father, Lloyd Bridges, in Anniversary Waltz, New England cities.
(With Michael McDonald) Be Here Soon, Chicago Records, 1999, re–released by Ramp Records, 2000.
Pictures: Photographs by Jeff Bridges, powerHouse, 2003.
Published twelve additional books of photography, limited editions.
Celebrity Register, 5th edition, Gale, 1990.
International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, St. James Press, 2000.
American Film, October, 1990, p. 26.
Entertainment Weekly, July 15, 1994, p. 16.
Esquire, July, 1994, pp. 106, 110.
Interview, July, 2004, p. 60.
New York Times, November 2, 1975; October 17, 1993.
People Weekly, October 27, 1986, p. 112; July 26, 1999, p. 117.
Jeff Bridges Official Site,http://www.jeffbridges.com/, August 6, 2004.
Nationality: American. Born: Los Angeles, 4 December 1949; son of the actor Lloyd Bridges; brother of the actor Beau Bridges. Education: Attended University High School, Los Angeles; studied acting at Berghoff Studios, New York. Family: Married Susan (Bridges), three daughters: Isabelle, Jessica, and Hayley. Career: Appeared in the film The Company She Keeps, 1951; made his acting debut in father Lloyd Bridges's television series Sea Hunt, 1950s; composed and sang "Lost in Space" on the soundtrack of the film John and Mary, 1969; continued to be active as songwriter; made his feature film acting debut in Halls of Anger, 1970. Awards: Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Films Saturn Award-Best
Actor, for Starman, 1984; Best Male Lead Independent Spirit Award, for American Heart, 1992. Agent: c/o Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212, U.S.A.
Films as Actor:
The Company She Keeps (Cromwell) (as infant at train station, uncredited)
Silent Night, Lonely Night (Petrie—for TV) (as Young John)
Halls of Anger (Bogart) (as Douglas); In Search of America (Bogart—for TV) (as Mike Olson); The Yin and Yang of Mr. Go (Meredith) (as Nero Finnighan)
The Last Picture Show (Bogdanovich) (as Duane Jackson)
Fat City (Huston) (as Ernie); Bad Company (Benton) (as Jake Ramsey)
Lolly Madonna XXX (The Lolly-Madonna War) (Sarafian) (as Zack Feather); The Last American Hero (Johnson) (as Elroy Jackson Jr.); The Iceman Cometh (Frankenheimer) (as Don Parritt)
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (Cimino) (as Lightfoot); Rancho Deluxe (Perry) (as Jack McKee)
Hearts of the West (Hollywood Cowboy) (Zieff) (as Lewis Tater)
King Kong (Guillermin) (as Jack Prescott); Stay Hungry (Rafelson) (as Craig Blake)
Somebody Killed Her Husband (Johnson) (as Jerry Green)
Winter Kills (Richert—produced in 1977) (as Nick Kegan)
Heaven's Gate (Cimino) (as John H. Bridges); The American Success Company (Success) (Richert) (as Harry)
Cutter and Bone (Cutter's Way) (Passer) (as Richard Bone); The Last Unicorn (Rankin Jr. and Bass—animation) (as voice of Prince Lir)
Tron (Lisberger) (as Kevin Flynn/Clu); Kiss Me Goodbye (Mulligan) (as Rupert)
Against All Odds (Hackford) (as Terry Brogan); Starman (Carpenter) (as Alien)
Jagged Edge (Marquand) (as Jack Forrester)
8 Million Ways to Die (Ashby) (as Matthew Scudder); The Morning After (Lumet) (as Turner Kendall); The Thanks-giving Promise (Beau Bridges—for TV) (as neighbor, uncredited)
Nadine (Benton) (as Vernon Hightower)
Tucker (Tucker: The Man and His Dream) (Coppola) (as Preston Tucker); See You in the Morning (Pakula) (as Larry Livingston)
The Fabulous Baker Boys (Kloves) (as Jack Baker)
Texasville (Bogdanovich) (as Duane Jackson); Quarter Time (Bogayevicz); Cold Feet (Dornhelm) (as bartender, uncredited)
The Fisher King (Gilliam) (as Jack Lucas); Picture This-The Times of Peter Bogdanovich in Archer City, Texas (Hickenlooper) (doc) (as himself)
American Heart (Bell) (as Jack Keely (+ co-pr)
The Vanishing (Sluizer) (as Barney); Fearless (Weir) (as Max Klein)
Blown Away (Hopkins) (as Jimmy Dove)
Wild Bill (Walter Hill) (title role)
White Squall (Ridley Scott) (as Christopher "Skipper" Sheldon); The Mirror Has Two Faces (Streisand) (as Gregory Larkin); Hidden in America (Bell—for TV) (as Vincent)
The Big Lebowski (Joel Coen) (as The Dude); A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (Ivory) (as Lightfoot, uncredited)
Arlington Road (Pellington) (Michael Faraday); The Muse (Brooks) (as Jack Warrick); Simpatico (Warchus) (as Carter); Forever Hollywood (Glassman, McCarthy) (doc) (as himself)
The Contender (Lurie) (as President Jackson Evans); Raising the Mammoth (Deniau) (doc) (as Narrator).
By BRIDGES: articles—
Interview with B. Lewis and Brian Baxter, in Films and Filming (London), November/December 1988.
"American Heart," interview with Sheila Benson, in Interview (New York), October 1992.
"Building Bridges," interview with M. Frankel, in Movieline, September 1993.
"His Dudeness," interview with Jeff Dawson, in Empire (London), May 1998.
On BRIDGES: articles—
Brown, Barry, "Jeff Bridges: Popular Non-Actor," in Close-Ups: The Movie Star Book, edited by Danny Peary, New York, 1978.
Rolling Stone (New York), 19 August 1982.
Andrew, Geoff, "Bridges' Way," in National Film Theatre Programme (London), December 1988.
Frankel, Martha, "Lone Star Bridges," in American Film (Washington, D.C.), October 1990.
Current Biography 1991, New York, 1991.
Natahnson, Richard, "The Two Jeffs," in Premiere (New York), April 1992.
Maslin, Janet, "The Reluctant Star," in New York Times Magazine, 17 October 1993.
Svetkey, Benjamin, "Blast Action Hero: Jeff Bridges Hits Pyrotechnic Pay Dirt with Explosive Blown Away," in Entertainment Weekly (New York), 15 July 1994.
Smith, Sean M., "Pin City: On the Set of The Big Lebowski," in Premiere (New York), March 1998.
* * *
"Inexplicably underrated" are the words that best describe Jeff Bridges. In 1971, his role as 1950s Texas teenager Duane Jackson in Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show earned him an Oscar nomination. Throughout the years he has offered an impressive array of performances, and has been a consistent critics' favorite; he is a tremendously likable actor, expert at underplaying yet totally burying himself in a role. Yet he never has been considered among the front rank of movie stars—perhaps because he has never had that one blockbuster film to thrust him into the epicenter of media attention and public adoration.
Son of Lloyd and brother of Beau, Bridges began acting when he was four months old, appearing alongside Jane Greer in The Company She Keeps; he also was a child actor on Sea Hunt, his father's television series. He had just graduated high school when he appeared in The Last Picture Show. In his role as Duane Jackson he projected an instinctive ease, which he continued to put forth over the next few years in roles as boyish types in Fat City (playing a boxer), The Last American Hero (as stock-car driver Junior Jackson), and Bad Company; he was especially fine in the latter, a bleak anti-Western, playing a Civil War draft dodger. Still, despite earning critical acclaim, Bridges admitted that self-doubts about his abilities did not allow him to take acting seriously. His attitude changed in 1973, after appearing in the film version of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh. As Don Parritt, another boyish character to be sure, but one with levels of psychological depth (courtesy of O'Neill), Bridges gives his first fully mature screen performance. A critic in Variety, in describing Bridges's acting, perfectly summed up the essence of his most typical roles by calling his performance "a brilliant mixture of innocence, guilt, despair, and hope. His vulnerability and yearning . . . seem almost physically evident from the beginning." At the time, Pauline Kael characterized Bridges as being "so fresh and talented that just about every movie director with a good role wants him for it."
Over the next several years, Bridges's roles were diversified. His generous screen presence allowed his co-stars ample space without detracting from the power of his own performances. His second-fiddle roles—to John Heard's crazed Vietnam veteran in Cutter's Way, for example, or to leading man Clint Eastwood in the tragic homoerotic buddy movie Thunderbolt and Lightfoot—are deceptively passive. In the old-fashioned way of a Gary Cooper or James Stewart, his dreamy boyishness ended up leaving a profound impression on the viewer.
Bridges's first important starring role came as the naive, noirish hero in Against All Odds, a remake of Out of the Past. He was superb in his next film, Starman, an offbeat, bittersweet science fiction romance, in which he plays a vulnerable, birdlike extraterrestrial. His intense research into the difficult role—watching the movements of children and animals, and videotaping himself writhing naked on the floor in an attempt to capture the essence of his embryo-hatching scene—demonstrated that Bridges's commitment to his craft is no less than that of a Dustin Hoffman or Robert De Niro.
Bridges continued playing dreamers and likably flawed heroes, as he did so effectively as visionary automobile manufacturer Preston Tucker in Tucker: The Man and His Dream and the artistically frustrated cocktail lounge piano player opposite brother Beau and Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys. But he also toyed with his outward appearance of innocence. In Jagged Edge, he plays a high-powered newspaper publisher accused of killing his wife, and who wholeheartedly proclaims his guiltlessness. As the story unfolds, the question remains: Did he, or did he not, do it? In this film, Bridges effectively pivots on the ambiguity of his lovableness, flinging the audience between adoring trust and uneasy suspicion.
In 1990, it seemed that his career had come full circle when he played an older, wiser, more portly Duane Jackson in Texasville, a sequel to The Last Picture Show. But at the same time, as he has aged, Bridges has gone on to diversify his career even more, taking on challenging roles that are anything but boyish—and which the younger Jeff Bridges never would have been called on to play. In The Vanishing, George Sluizer's American remake of his Dutch thriller, Bridges gives a forceful performance as a crafty kidnapper who reveals himself to the boyfriend of the woman he abducted. In Fearless and The Fisher King, he is cast as two very different characters whose lives are thrown into major crises. In the former, he conveys levels of emotion as a deeply troubled plane crash survivor. In the latter, he starts out as a hard-hearted, egotistical radio talk show host who undergoes a transformation after one of his listeners, whom he has just crudely dismissed, goes on a murder spree. As the story progresses, Bridges effectively communicates the confusion within a man whose outward characteristic is pomposity. But Bridges is at his best in one of his least-known films: American Heart, a staunch, at times daring drama about love and redemption, which depicts the pain and promise of its two key characters. Bridges offers a fierce, heartrending performance as an ex-con who has just been paroled from prison. His plans for continuing his life are sidetracked upon the arrival of his lonely, 14-year-old son whom he had abandoned, and who is determined to establish a relationship with him.
As he has settled into middle-age, Bridges's characterizations remain equally varied. They range from a horse breeder/con artist who is the very image of heedless dishonesty (in Simpatico) to a bowling-obsessed burn-out who ceased evolving sometime in the 1970s (The Big Lebowski), a conspiracy theory-obsessed university professor who senses that his genial new neighbors are hiding terrible secrets (Arlington Road) to a disheveled university professor, too-often burned by love, who is romantically paired with Barbra Streisand (The Mirror Has Two Faces).
At this juncture of his career, it seems less likely that Jeff Bridges ever will earn superstardom. But he is still respected, still taking intelligent risks, and still a pleasure to watch on screen.
—Samantha Cook, updated by Rob Edelman