We couldn’t have been happier when Jeff Bridges won Best Actor for his role as Bad Blake in “Crazy Heart.” [The Dude abides! -- Editor Amelia, President of the Jeff Bridges Rocks My Panties Club] He’s one of the most unpretentious actors out there who’s been under-appreciated for far too long. He comes across as being just as laid-back at his cult-favorite character, the Dude, even using the word “groovy” in his acceptance speech. And because we love him so, we’ve rounded up the 10 reasons why Jeff Bridges is so fantastic.
- Jeff’s first role was at four months old, with his mother Dorothy Bridges and his brother Beau Bridges in “The Company She Keeps.” Up until her death last year, Dorothy read all of Jeff’s scripts and approved of his roles. She preferred him to play presidents (like in “The Contender”) or doctors (like in “K-Pax”). Bridges said, “She didn’t like the Dude.” [NY Times]
- Bridges met his super awesome and beautiful wife Susan in 1977, while filming “Rancho Deluxe” in Montana, where Susan was working as a maid. They’ve been happily married ever since and Bridges credits her for his success. “She holds that kite string that lets me go—woo—way out there. And I love coming home. She pointed out the other day we’ve been apart 11 of the last 14 months, so I was—woo—really far out there. But my wife and my girls—I guess the girls are the tail on the kite that kind of keeps me centered like that. My girls, my darlings.” Totally not crying. There’s just something in my eye. [L.A. Times]
- Bridges had some serious partying days. He actually gave up smoking marijuana for the stoner role of the Dude in “The Big Lebowski.” He said, “I wanted to have a clear head,” but he adds reluctantly that he hasn’t “permanently kicked the habit … Usually around Christmas time is when the harvest comes in, and somebody will say, ‘Hey! Look what I got!’” [Starpulse]
- On top of acting, Bridges also draws and takes photographs. Some of his “doodles” appeared in “K-Pax” and “The Door in the Floor” and his photos were published in Pictures: Photographs by Jeff Bridges, which came out in 2003. You can also see them on the super-amazing website that is so Jeff Bridges, from the scrawling hand-writing to the sincere notes documenting the filming of his movies.
- As any nerd-loving product of the ’80s knows, “TRON” was a huge deal in the world of science-fiction movies. It’s was “The Matrix” and “Hackers” before the technology existed. Bridges played Kevin Flynn, a video game programmer, as well as his video game alter ego, Clu. If you haven’t seen the original, you’d better get on that because the sequel “Tron Legacy” is coming out later this year. [IMDb]
- He knows that he received his breaks from his father, actor Lloyd Bridges, but didn’t want to go into the business for that reason. “The hardest thing about acting is getting a foot in the door and that was all handled by my dad,” he said. “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. My dad loved show business. Traveling around, working with other people and he encouraged me to go into it. … But, typical kid, you don’t want to do what your parents want you to do. You don’t want to be liked because of who your father is.” [Great Personalities]
- Jeff doesn’t just play musicians—he actually makes music. Good music. He has written over 200 songs, and displayed his musical prowess in “The Fabulous Baker Boys.” You can listen to his whole record, “Be Here Soon,” on his website.
- Jeff’s role in “The Big Lebowski” single-handedly made White Russians and Cowichan sweaters cool. But before accepting the role, Jeff went through a crisis, worrying that the character would be a bad role model for his daughters. “The guy was kind of an anti-hero, a pot-smoking, slacker kind of guy, and I was really racking my brain about it,” he said. “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.’” [IMDb]
- I don’t know if “The Last Unicorn” was a big deal to all little girls or just me, but Jeff Bridges voiced Prince Lir to Mia Farrow’s Unicorn. The same year as “TRON” came out and turned little boys into little nerds, Bridges was teaching little girls about unicorns and princesses and he even sang a song on the soundtrack, “That’s All I’ve Got to Say.” [IMDb]
- Bridges turned down “Crazy Heart” at first because there was no music yet. He only agreed to do it when his longtime friend T-Bone Burnett signed on to do the music. For the role, T-Bone gave Bridges a timeline of what music Bad Blake would have listened to, in each year in his life. They wrote that way. Part of Bridge’s preparation was to look like a worn-out drunk. “I keep track of my character,” he says. “What he weighs and how he walks, what kind of physical shape he’s in, how much he’s drunk. What he’s like in each scene. This guy was not in great physical shape, so that meant I could eat that second pint of Haagen-Dazs. While I didn’t work drunk, it meant that I could have that second drink after work, so a little hangover wouldn’t be too bad.” [CMT]
Were you happy to see Jeff Bridges win?