Jeff Bridges Biography

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
July 19th, 2013

Jeff Bridges Biography

Jeffrey Leon Bridges was born in Los Angeles, California on December 4, 1949. Bridges was born a natural acting talent, considering that his father was the great actor Lloyd Bridges and his mother, Dorothy Bridges, worked as both an actress and screenwriter. Additionally, Bridges' older brother Beau had also appeared in some films while he was still a child. He also has a younger sister by the name of Lucinda and an older brother called Garrett who died of sudden infant death syndrome a year before Jeff was born. Due to the busy schedules of his parents, he was predominantly raised by his brother Beau, and the two became very close from an early age. Jeff Bridges grew up in the Holmby Hills area of Hollywood and graduated from University High School in 1967. However, before he had even reached school age, he had already appeared in numerous film roles.

Jeff Bridges became one of the youngest ever actors in 1950 when he played the role of Jane Greer's newborn son in "The Company She Keeps." He was only four months old at this time, but his mother had a role in the film and needed an infant for a few scenes. Before long Jeff and Beau were acting as bit-part characters in a number of episodes of their father's show "Sea Hunt." When Jeff was just fourteen years old, his father Lloyd took the young teen on tour for a stage production of "Anniversary Waltz." All this exposure would prove invaluable for the young Bridges, but he somewhat went off the rails during his latter teenage years. At one point his parents found out their son was involved with drugs at school and had to get him back on track.

After graduating from high school, Jeff began taking his own path in life, primarily one that did not rely on the fame of his parents. He set off for the bright lights of Hollywood, determined to succeed, on his own two feet. He immediately found success with small roles in "The Yin and the Yang of Mr. Go" and "Halls of Anger." The fact that he was able to shed his son-of-Hollywood-parents tag further pushed him onto greater honors. In 1971, Bridges appeared in "The Last Picture Show," a film that would propel him to the national spotlight. He received his first Oscar nomination (for Best Supporting Actor), and it proved that he had what it took to make it big in Hollywood.

The early 1970s became an extremely successful time for Jeff Bridges professionally, with performances in "Fat City," "Bad Company," and "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot." He picked up a second Oscar nomination for his role opposite Clint Eastwood in the latter, with many film critics arguing that Bridges put in the better performance. However, from that point his career began to nosedive somewhat. He took up lead roles in the 1976 remake of "King Kong" and the 1980 film "Heaven's Gate." Both films proved to be commercial failures, and this reflected badly on Bridges as an actor. In 1977, he married Susan Geston; the pair had met while on the set of "Rancho Deluxe." Geston was working as a maid on a ranch where filming was taking place, and the pair quickly struck up a relationship. Bridges and his wife had three daughters in the early 1980s.

It took until the mid-1980s for Jeff to get his career back on track. The year 1984 was particularly golden for him, with starring performances in "Against All Odds" and "Starman." He received his first Best Actor Academy Award nomination for playing the role of an alien in the latter. The following year saw him play the role of a businessman accused of murder in "Jagged Edge." At the time, many film critics saw this as Bridges' greatest acting performance of his career. Apart from his work onscreen, Jeff also has a humanitarian side to his personality. In 1984, he and other film-industry players founded an organization known as the End Hunger Network. The purpose of it was to eliminate childhood hunger around the world.

The 1990s was a relatively low key time for Jeff Bridges, with only his roles in "Fearless" and "The Big Lebowski" worthy of any note. In 2000, he starred in "The Contender" and picked up his fourth Academy Award nomination, but once again, he missed out on the big prize. It was nine years later that he was finally rewarded for a six-decade acting career when he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role of Otis Blake in "Crazy Heart."