Lloyd, Beau, and Jeff – three outstanding actors. Three kind-hearted men who have always been happy about each other’s success in the business. Beau and Jeff’s dad, Lloyd, put their education above everything, teaching them that being human was more important than anything.
Therefore, Beau and Jeff never felt intimidated when one landed more movies than the other. “It’s not a competition,” Jeff ensured. “It’s like we’re on the same team.”
There’s a lot to learn from the Bridges, including how Lloyd and his wife Dorothy managed to stick together for 59 years. Jeff and Beau, if you were wondering, have also been happily married for decades. I guess it runs in the family…
Here’s a look at the Bridges’ family tree.
Where It All Began
The first actor to bring the Bridges family into the spotlight was Lloyd, a ’40s and ’50s star who appeared in over 150 films throughout his memorable career. From action war films like Sahara (1943) to Western movies like Little Big Horn (1951) and A Walk in the Sun (1945), Lloyd proved his worth as a skillful actor.
But it was actually his work on the small screen that made him famous. After landing the role of Mike Nelson in the hit TV show Sea Hunt (that ran from 1958 to 1961), Lloyd Bridges became a household name across the nation.
And Then Came Dorothy
The matriarch of the acting family, Dorothy Bridges met her husband Lloyd when they were both students at the University of California in Los Angeles. An actress herself, the two met while rehearsing for a small theatrical play on campus.
Lloyd starred in the show as her “leading man,” and wooed her with his good-natured charisma. They married shortly thereafter in New York and remained married for a whopping 60 years. Thanks to Dorothy and Lloyd, the world was given two unbelievably good actors, their sons, Jeff and Beau.
The First Boy to Come Along
Beau Bridges, the eldest son, was named after Ashley Wilkes’ son in the movie Gone with the Wind. Raised by two great actors, it was pretty clear that Beau was destined to catch the acting bug himself, even though, at first, he had dreams of being a basketball player.
Like his parents, Beau went to UCLA, but he didn’t act in any plays there. Instead, he shot hoops under the guidance of the legendary coach John Wooden. He ended up transferring to the University of Hawaii but dropped out to pursue acting.
The Second Bundle of Joy
Eight years after Beau was born, Jeff Bridges came into the family. While Lloyd was busy working, Jeff was watched over by his big brother, who grew to be more like his surrogate father than his sibling.
Unlike Beau, Jeff knew he wanted to be an actor from the get-go. Straight out of high school, at 17, he joined his dad on a tour for the play Anniversary Waltz. Afterward, he moved to New York City and enrolled at the Herbert Berghof Acting School.
Privilege Isn’t Everything
Both Jeff and Beau have always been candid about the perks of being born into a family of actors. Their paths in life have been somewhat carved out for them, yet it takes true dedication and real talent to get to where they are today.
The Bridges brothers have been nominated for Emmys, Golden Globes, and the Oscars. And with a career spanning over 50 years, it’s safe to say that they have themselves, and not their parents, to thank for such steady and influential careers.
“Here, Take My Son”
Jeff made his debut appearance in front of the camera when he was just a baby boy. He was held in the arms of actor Jane Greer, who co-starred with his mom, Dorothy Bridges, in the 1951 film, The Company She Keeps.
“They needed a baby and so my mom said, ‘Here, take my son,’” Jeff revealed, “The baby was supposed to be crying and I was kind of a happy child, and my mother said, ‘Oh, just pinch him, Jane.’”
Fun fact: 35 years later, Jeff found himself playing alongside Greer yet again in the movie Against All Odds.
Beau Couldn’t Stop Laughing on Set
At just seven years old, Beau was brought to the set of the 1951 Western film High Noon. Lloyd wanted his little boy to see what his work was all about, so he thought it would be a good idea to have Beau on set with him.
Lloyd gave his boy a heads up by telling him that in the fight he was going to see some make pretend. But that didn’t do much to help. And the second Gary Cooper (Lloyd’s costar) threw a bucket of water on his dad, he just lost it and started laughing. “I destroyed the shot,” Beau admitted.
He Almost Got His Dad Fired
After Beau Bridges’ unstoppable laughing fit on set, he had to be dragged back to the hotel by Lloyd, who scolded him for not being able to contain himself. He told the little seven-year-old that Cooper could have easily fired him.
In the hotel elevator, as father and son made their way back to the room, they were joined by none other than Gary Cooper himself. Before Lloyd could apologize for his son’s behavior, Cooper invited them both to dinner. Awww!
Lloyd Taught His Sons to Have Fun at Work
Jeff Bridges worked with his old man twice: once on the set of the 1988 comedy-drama Tucker, and another in 1994’s action film Blown Away. He revealed that working with his dad taught him a lot about the importance of keeping things fun.
He said he noticed how contagious kindness and goodwill could be on a film set. Moreover, he learned how important it was to remain patient and tolerant, despite the long hours and never-ending days. “Bring joy to your work,” Lloyd would tell his boys.
Lloyd Also Taught Them the Importance of Family
Another valuable lesson Lloyd passed onto his sons was the importance of family, and the importance of sticking it out, even if one’s marriage hits some jagged rocks, or is carried away by the tumultuous waves of life.
This may explain why both Beau and Jeff have been happily married for decades. Seeing their parents stick together until the very end surely influenced them. Life as an actor can get hectic, but Jeff manages to balance it well, often inviting his wife Susan and their three daughters to watch him work on set.
“It Was Love at First Sight”
Jeff Bridges first met his wife, Susan, on the set of the movie “Rancho Deluxe,” filmed outside of Livingston, Montana. “I was doing a scene with Sam Waterston and Harry Dean Stanton, and I cannot take my eyes off this gorgeous, I didn’t know what she was, a maid or a waitress, I couldn’t take my eyes off her,” he revealed.
Susan was just 20 years old when Jeff laid eyes on her. She was working as a waitress on a Montana ranch where he was filming the 1975 Western. She wasn’t too eager to go out with him but eventually agreed to it. Two years later, they married.
He Was Crazy in Love
Meeting the love of your life can be one of the most anxiety-provoking moments you will ever experience. And Jeff Bridges can testify to that. When he talked to Susan for the first time, he genuinely felt, in every cell of his body, that he was looking at his future wife.
“I thought, ‘Oh, no, let me outta here,'” he reported feeling; “I felt cornered, not by Sue but by myself. I couldn’t bear to let the love of my life slip through my fingers, but at the same time I was afraid of declaring, ‘This is the one!'”
44 Years and Three Daughters Later…
Jeff and Susan have been happily married for over four decades. They have spent their years together raising three beautiful daughters: Isabelle, Jessie, and Haley. But apart from parenting, the two have managed to keep things alive by being each other’s best friends.
“They love each other, but they like each other, they spend time together,” Isabelle Bridges once mentioned in an interview with The Daily Mail. “They make an effort to ask each other questions about what the other is interested in.”
The Key to Longevity
If you want to know what it takes to make a marriage work, just ask Jeff. He has one of the simplest yet most helpful tips: “The easy answer about how you keep a marriage going is you don’t get a divorce,” the actor explained.
“It’s when those big challenges, those upsets come up in your relationship, those are real opportunities to get to know each other more and to become more intimate with each other and try to see what makes each other tick,” he added.
Jeff’s Biggest Challenge Yet – Lymphoma
In the fall of 2020, Jeff announced that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma and that he was beginning chemotherapy. The startling news had the whole Bridges family on their feet. Thankfully, things have improved since the first diagnosis.
A year later, Jeff happily announced that his cancer was in remission. “The mass has shrunk down to the size of a marble,” he stated. Thanks to the support of the people around him, Jeff has managed to keep his spirits high. “I’m profoundly grateful for the love and support from my family and friends,” he Tweeted.
Cancer Taught Him Many Things
Jeff Bridges has always been an optimistic, fun-loving family guy, but having cancer has definitely shed light on what’s really important. “This cancer thing is bringing on feelings of preciousness & gratitude, and good old fashion love, lots of it, big time,” he posted on his social media.
Filled with a newfound love and appreciation, Jeff said he hopes to spread the positive virus all over the world. “Life is brief and beautiful,” he added. “Love is all around us, and available at all times.”
A Hairy Situation on the Set of The Big Lebowski
If you haven’t watched The Big Lebowski, then go do it, now. In the movie, Jeff Bridges stars as “The Dude,” a typical L.A. slacker. In one of the scenes, his character has to pass under the open skirts of a line of ladies.
Jeff was surprised to see that the women had some serious amount of bush down there. As he glided underneath them, he thought to himself, “My god, that woman has huge tufts of hair coming out of her leotard – huge, insane… I go to the next one and even more, and no underwear and I said, My God! And finally, I find out the girls went to the makeup department and were shoving hair into their leotards.”
The Fabulous Baker Boys
While Beau Bridges worked steadily in films throughout the 1970s, he peaked in the 1979 drama, Norma Rae, where he played Sally Field’s husband. After that, he acted mainly in television while Jeff’s silver screen career flourished.
When Jeff was cast in 1989’s The Fabulous Baker Boys, a movie about small-time musician siblings, he insisted on having his real-life brother Beau play by his side. That was a great move because, really, the on-screen chemistry they had was like no other.
Safe Word or No Safe Word?
In The Fabulous Baker Boys, Jeff and Beau had to battle it out in one memorable scene. Jeff’s character jumps on top of Beau’s, twists his fingers, and threatens to break them to prevent him from playing piano ever again. How did he do it without actually hurting his brother?
According to Jeff, they had no safe word. “Beau was like, ‘Oww, oww, you’re hurting me! You’re hurting me!’” Jeff recalled, “In my mind, I was thinking: ‘Oh, that’s good, Beau! Act your butt off!’”
According to Beau…
The fighting scene played out a bit differently. Beau mentioned that there actually was a safe word. “I knew Jeff was going to get freaked out, so I told him, ‘I want there to be a stop word, so if I say it, you know you’re hurting me,'” Beau explained.
Beau can’t remember what it was, but he remembers that Jeff completely ignored it. He didn’t stop, despite Beau’s pleading. When the scene finally ended, Beau excused himself and went straight to the hospital.
Michelle Pfeiffer Was Impressed by Their Brotherly Bond
Michelle Pfeiffer, who starred in The Fabulous Baker Boys as the lounge singer, Susie Diamond, said that she was in awe of their tight-knit chemistry. “The bond that they have is so strong, anyone who is around it has to be envious of it,” she noted.
According to Pfeiffer, Jeff tortures Beau, and “it’s hilarious.” Funny, because usually it’s the other way around. The older one picks on the younger. In any case, it’s endearing to watch. “They act like they’re 12,” Pfeiffer added.
Beau Bridges on Playing a Closeted Gay Man
Throughout his eclectic career, Beau has played a host of interesting characters. One of the most recent ones is his role as Barton Scully in the show Masters of Sex. Scully is a powerful man, yet one who is too scared to come out of the closet.
“To be a powerful, closeted gay man in those times was a very tough place to be,” Bridges stated in an interview with People magazine;, “I realized this was a wonderful chance to shed light on what that was like.”
Beau and Jeff: A Tale of Two Bridges
In 2014, the Bridges brothers shared the stage at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ event at the Bing Theater in Los Angeles. Together, they recalled fond memories of what it was like growing up in the spotlight, under the watchful and loving eyes of both of their acting parents.
They had a long conversation about their steady and remarkable careers, including that of their dad, Lloyd, who was also their close mentor. They played clips from each other’s work and discussed the legacy of their legendary Hollywood family.
King Kong Helped Jeff Work Through His Fears
Who could forget Jeff Bridges, when he was young and handsome, with his long beard and unruly hair, in the 1976 version of the movie King Kong? One of the reasons the actor decided to go for it was to bring back the fear he sensed that first time he saw the movie as a kid.
“Kong was an opportunity to get back into that,” he told Rolling Stone back in 1977. “What’s frightening isn’t this big giant monkey. It’s everything I’ve ever feared in my life. It’s my mind.” Jeff wanted to give audiences the power to overcome their fears. To look fear straight in the eye.
Fear Is Nothing but a Dream
According to the Bridges (and many other successful people for that matter), part of making it big is not letting fear take control of you. One way to do so, is to realize that most of it is made up. A figment of your imagination. A fleeting, little bug.
Jeff once mentioned that this dawned on him while he was out for a run on the beach. He tried running with his eyes closed, but whenever he shut them, he imagined being smashed by some invisible giant’s massive fist.
However, When He Opened Them…
He saw nothing but roaring waves and an empty sky. “After doing this several times I realized that all the things I fear are dreams I have: that thoughts are what make me quit, not physical situations,” he marveled.
Finally, he managed to overcome his fear and keep his eyes shut for more than a few seconds. He saw fear for what it was, nothing but a biological instinct we have to protect ourselves from the unknown. And most of the time, there’s no actual danger whatsoever.
Did Jeff Really Smoke on the Set of The Big Lebowski?
Jeff Bridges’ character in The Big Lebowski was one laid-back pothead. The actor stated that playing “The Dude” was, as you can guess, an extremely funny experience. But this doesn’t mean he was chilling and smoking all day long.
“Hah! Having a smoke all day? No, I didn’t do that,” he reassured. “It would have been a good excuse to get high, sure, but you can’t really work when you’re in that state. It’s OK for a couple of takes, but you’re not going to be able to sustain it all day long. I liked a bit of pot as a teenager, though, so I guess I did some memory work. ”
The Dude Was One of His Most Successful Characters
Jeff Bridges was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as President, which is very, very un-Dude-ish. He also played Iron Man once, another very un-Dude-like role. Funny enough, it was his easygoing persona in The Big Lebowski that gave him a massive thrust back into the spotlight.
Jeff enjoyed every minute of it. “I love to shake it up and keep my own persona slightly confusing. That way, people will be able to slip me into the character at hand.” A smart guy, Jeff knows that if there’s one thing an actor needs to steer clear of, is being pigeon-holed.
An Actor Who Can Actually Sing
In the 2009 film Crazy Heart, Jeff Bridges plays a country singer named Blake. While the character was fictional, Jeff’s love of country music was 100% real. He recorded several songs for the movie’s soundtrack, but that wasn’t his only brush with the microphone.
In 2011, he released a self-titled album. The hit song, “What a Little Bit of Love Can Do” was the record’s first single. It debuted at number 25 on the Top Country Albums, as well as number two on the Folk Albums and number five on the Top Rock charts.
The Dude and the Zen Master
Jeff Bridges collaborated with Buddhist teacher Bernie Glassman for The New York Times bestselling book, “The Dude and the Zen Master,” which, oddly enough, uses “The Big Lebowski” as the starting point for both men to discuss their Zen philosophies.
A long-time practitioner himself, Jeff had some wise words to share: “Thoughts will change and shift just like the wind and the water when you’re on the boat, thoughts are no different than anything else.”
Beau Has Some Wisdom to Share as Well
Growing up, Beau Bridges’ heroes were his mom, his dad, and his basketball coach at UCLA, John Wooden. His parents taught him respect: respect for himself and for others. If he managed to nail that, then the other things would follow.
His coach taught him what success truly was. “For Coach, success had nothing to do with winning. The two cornerstones of success, as far as he was concerned, were enthusiasm and industriousness. Coach used to say: Anybody can bring hard work to the table, but when you bring it in combination with joy, that’s when special things happen.”
Is There Any Sibling Rivalry?
Being two brothers in the same business must be challenging. First and foremost – there’s the competition. Many people have asked the Bridges brothers over the years whether they have grown bitter over things like the other’s fame and success.
According to Beau, absolutely not. The eight-year gap between them, and the fact that their dad used to travel a lot, meant that Beau was like a father to Jeff. Therefore, whenever anyone asks him if there is sibling rivalry, the answer is always, “No, it doesn’t bother me because I taught him everything he knows.”
Goodbye Papa Bridges
In 1998, two years before the turn of the century, Lloyd Bridges passed away. He was 85 when he died of natural causes in his L.A. home, surrounded by his family and friends. A little before his passing, the star was still up and running, working on different acting projects.
He had recently finished shooting two films: “Jane Austen’s Mafia” and “Meeting Daddy,” in which he starred with his son Beau. This legendary actor was cherished by many during his run which spanned over five decades.
In 2009, the matriarch of the family, Dorothy Bridges died of age-related causes in her home in Holmby Hills at the age of 93. “She was the hub of the family,” Jeff Bridges told The Times. “My dad was sort of the frontman – he was out there getting public attention.”
But Dorothy, according to Jeff, was working behind the scenes, holding the family together, doing so “with her own particular brand of verve.” She is buried in Forest Lawn, L.A., and instead of bringing flowers to her grave, her kids suggest that donations be made in her memory to Oceana, the Environmental Defense Fund.
You Caught Me Kissing
In 2005, a few years before her death and a few years after her husband’s, Dorothy Bridges published a book titled “You Caught Me Kissing: A Love Story,” in which she chronicles their life together beautifully.
The book is accompanied by homey family photos and real conversations between her and her children. Dorothy and Lloyd Bridges were married for 59 years, enough material to fill in the pages of a lot more than just one book!
Dorothy Was Their First Drama Teacher
Talking to The Times, Jeff Bridges reminisced about his mother’s great talents. “She was such a creative person and inspired us all to be creative,” he said, adding that while he and Beau were growing up, she devoted an hour each day to allow them to do whatever they wanted.
From “playing spaceships” to “making each other up like clowns,” the Bridges household was always filled with fun imaginative games. “During those times, we got to play ‘pretend’ with mom, which is basically the basis of acting,” Jeff explained.
Jeff’s Firstborn, Isabelle Bridges
Born in the summer of 1981, Isabelle Bridges is the “Dude’s” firstborn. At just eight years old, Isabelle decided to pursue a Hollywood career like her dad and made her acting debut in 1989’s Termini Station. However, according to IMDB, that’s her only credit as an actress.
Nowadays, however, Isabelle is a “mother’s empowerment coach,” as stated on her Instagram bio. Through her work, she “facilitates mothering circles which are held both locally, in the San Francisco Bay Area and virtually.”
She Married in the Family Home
As for Isabelle’s personal life, she’s been married to a man named Brandon Boesch since 2007. The two lovebirds tied the knot at her family’s home, something Isabelle had always strived for. She said she “always dreamed of getting married” at such a meaningful place.
Just like her parents, when Isabelle laid eyes on her husband Brandon, it was “love at first sight.” They met while they were both students at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. “We have a picture from the first day we met, and it is one of our most prized possessions,” Isabelle shared.
The Sandwich, Jessica Lily Bridges
In 1983, Jeff and Susan gave birth to their second daughter, Jessica. While Jessica didn’t catch the acting bug, she did get bit by the music bug. She became a singer-songwriter, and, according to her Instagram bio, “Music is the thing that makes me feel the most alive – listening to it, creating it, witnessing it!”
That being said, her social media account has been inactive since the start of 2020, so we believe she may have taken a break from producing any new music. Regardless, we’re sure her parents are so proud of her.
The Youngest, Haley Roselouise Bridges
The third and last child of Jeff and Susan is Haley, who was born in the fall of 1985. Like her sisters, Haley also didn’t follow in her dad’s footsteps. Instead, she became a well-known interior designer.
Apart from her successful career, Haley has recently tied the knot with her husband, Justin Shane. Jeff shared the news with his fans on his website, writing that he finally accomplished his goal of “walking his daughter Hayley down the aisle.”