Every bit as laid back in real-life as the cool characters he’s played in films like The Last Picture Show, The Fabulous Baker Boys and The Big Lebowski, Jeff Bridges has emerged as one of the greatest movie performers of his generation, leading one celebrated film critic to comment that he “may be the most natural and least self-conscious screen actor that has ever lived”.
Born Jeffrey Leon Bridges to film and TV star father Lloyd Bridges and actress and writer mum Dorothy in Los Angeles on December 4, 1949, he entered the world of Hollywood at an early age.
His big-screen debut came aged just four months when he appeared in the arms of silver screen star Jane Greer in 1950 flick The Company She Keeps
"The scene where she carried me on, I had to be crying. And I was a real happy baby, so my mother instructed Jane to just pinch me to make me cry," he said years later.
It was a moment he'd have the chance to remind his co-star about 30 years after when they worked together again on the movie Against All Odds
. "I went up to Jane before a really emotional scene and said 'Could you just give me a little pinch?'" he said.
As a teenager in the early Sixties Jeff appeared in his father's TV series The Lloyd Bridges Show
alongside older brother Beau, who’s also a celebrated film actor.
The siblings enjoyed a close relationship when they were growing up with Beau serving as a father figure to his brother when their real dad was away filming.
He also has a younger sister, Lucinda, while another brother, Garrett, died of sudden infant death syndrome in 1948.
After serving as a reserve in the US Coast Guard, Jeff studied drama in New York and made his adult film debut in Halls of Anger
The following year, aged 21, he starred in Fifties coming-of-age drama The Last Picture Show
, for which he received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor.
It's a feat he would go on to repeat four more times. He won further supporting actor nods in 1975’s Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
, in which he appeared alongside Clint Eastwood, and in 2000's The Contender
. In 1984 he was nominated in the best actor category for Starman
- but his biggest career honour was reserved for 2010. Jeff scooped the Academy Award for best actor for his acclaimed role as a broken-down country crooner in musical drama Crazy Heart
. He dedicated the prize to his beloved parents, both of whom have passed away. “Thank you mom and dad for turning me on to such a groovy profession,” he said, raising the statuette to the heavens during his emotional acceptance speech. “This is honouring them as much as it is me.”
In 1975, while making the film Rancho Deluxe
, Jeff met Susan Geston, who was working as a maid on the ranch where the comedy western was being shot.
The pair married in 1977 and have three daughters: Isabelle, born 1981; Jessica Lily, born in 1983 and Hayley Roselouise, who was born in 1985.
During the Eighties Jeff's film career went from strength to strength as he took on an eclectic mix of roles in successful films such as Tron
(1982), Against All Odds
(1984), Jagged Edge
(1985) and The Fabulous Baker Boys
(1989), alongside his brother Beau and Michelle Pfeiffer.
In 1993 he gained praise for his portrayal of a man affected by a near-death experience in Fearless
, then in 1998 he won legions of fans with his role as cult hero 'The Dude' in Coen Brothers' movie The Big Lebowski
The Nineties also saw the star turn his hand to producing. His company's 1996 cable movie Hidden In America
, which dealt with hunger in the US, received a Golden Globe nomination and earned his brother Beau a Screen Actor's Guild award.
Movie acting aside, Jeff's other main interests are music and photography. Indeed, it wasn't until several films into his career that he decided to stick with acting rather than try to forge a music career. Since then, though, he's contributed to the soundtracks of several of his films, including Starman
and The Fabulous Baker Boys
As a talented photographer, he's published a coffee table book of the pictures he's taken on the sets of his movies. And on top of that he's also a skilled cartoonist, sprinkling his website with examples of his work.
But his biggest love remains his wife of over 30 years, Susan.
"In [all the] years we've been married, we've done [over] 50 movies together," he said.
"I say 'we' because Sue deserves a credit too. I'm the guy who makes the buck, but she's the one who takes care of everything else. I really am more in love with her than ever."