About Jeffrey Leon Bridges
A Hollywood leading man since the early 1970s and a four-time Oscar nominee, Jeff Bridges finally won an Oscar in 2010 for his performance as hard-living country singer Bad Blake in Crazy Heart. Other notable films include The Last Picture Show, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Tron, Starman, The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Fisher King, Fearless, The Big Lebowski, The Contender and Iron Man.
Jeffrey Leon Bridges was born on December 4, 1949 in Los Angeles, California, the son of actress and writer Dorothy Bridges (née Simpson) and actor Lloyd Bridges. He has an older brother, Beau, and a younger sister, Lucinda. Another brother, Garrett, died of sudden infant death syndrome in 1948. Growing up, Bridges shared a close relationship with his brother, actor Beau Bridges, who acted as a surrogate father when their father was working. Bridges and his siblings were raised in the Holmby Hills section of Los Angeles. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard in the late 1960s, and as a reservist in the early 1970s.
Bridges had his first film role when he was just an infant, in the movie, The Company She Keeps; his mother, Dorothy, and brother, Beau, also had uncredited roles in the same picture.
Often a discipline problem at school, Jeff's parents sent him to a military academy his freshman year of high school in order to teach him discipline, and take his mind off of girls. Bridges hated every minute of military school, and returned to a public high school to finish out his education. Despite the attempt to make him focus on his studies, Bridges' academics tended to take a backseat to his creative efforts. At the age of 16, he wrote a song which was used in the 1969 film John and Mary. While still a teenager, he also sold two compositions to music producer Quincy Jones.
Upon graduation from University High School, Bridges followed in his brother Beau's footsteps and enlisted in the Coast Guard Reserves with the help of his father's Sea Hunt connections. He then headed to New York, where he studied acting at the famed Herbert Berghof Studio. He appeared in the film Halls of Anger in 1970, followed by a role in The Yin and Yang of Mr. Go that same year.
His break-out role was that of Duane Jackson in The Last Picture Show (1971), earning him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.. He went on to play in dozens of movies, managing to avoid type-casting, by choosing an eclectic array of roles. But during this time in his career, Bridges wasn't focused on acclaim or stardom. He was more interested in his experimentation with drugs, spirituality, and his relationships with actress such as Cybil Shepard and Valerie Perrine.
It wasn't until he signed on to the 1973 drama The Iceman Cometh, that Bridges seriously considered making a life of acting. After Bridges turned the film down, he was shamed into doing the picture by friend and director Lamont Johnson. "So I said to myself, maybe I'll do a little experiment," Bridges later recalled. "I hear that if you're a pro you're supposed to do it even if you don't feel like it." Bridges signed on to the film, which rekindled his interest in acting.
Bridges went on to have an illustrious acting career, appearing in popular films such as Heaven's Gate (1980) and TRON (1982), and receiving Oscar nominations for Starman (1984), and Tucker (1988). Later films include The Fisher King (1991) starring Robin Williams, and The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), featuring Barbra Streisand.
In 1998, Bridges experienced a resurgence in popularity with the Coen brothers' cult hit, The Big Lebowski. In the film, Bridges plays Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski, a hippie bowler who goes on a strange, drug-induced journey in order to have his favorite rug replaced. The film was not an instant commercial success, but fans were drawn to the comic one-liners and quirky characters. The movie spawned an annual Lebowski Fest in Louisville, Kentucky, which started in 2002 and has continued for more than eight years.
Bridges' 2001 supporting role in The Contender, was also well-received. His performance earned him both a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination. In 2009, the actor received his fifth Oscar nomination and first Oscar win; this time, for his role in the romantic drama Crazy Heart (2009). His upcoming projects include a role in the Tron sequel, Tron Legacy, and a role in the movie True Grit.
Bridges has been married since 1977 to Susan Geston. The couple have three daughters: Isabelle, Jessica, and Hayley.