Born Lloyd Vernet Bridges II on January 15, 1913, in San Leandro, CA; died March 10, 1998, in Los Angeles, CA. Actor.
Bridges displayed his versatility as an actor during a prolific career that spanned seven decades. Although he appeared on stage and in more than 100 films, he found some of his greatest success on television, especially in the series Sea Hunt as Mike Nelson. The show, which featured Bridges as an underwater investigator, aired from 1957 to 1961. Describing the series' star as "tall, blond and craggy-faced," the New York Times reported that late-night talk show hosts "used to tell jokes derived from the frequency with which Mr. Bridges, always fit and trim . . . was seen daring the fates underwater or emerging from the sea unscathed despite sharks, shipwrecks and assorted malefactors." Sea Hunt was also important to Bridges for other reasons: it marked the acting debut of his sons Beau and Jeff, who went on to become famous actors themselves. Bridges is remembered for his performances in many movies as well, especially as scheming deputy Harvey Pell in High Noon and as crazed air traffic controller McCroskey in Airplane! In hislater years, Bridges also received recognition for work in productions thatfeatured him with one or both of his sons. The films Tucker: The Man and His Dream and Blown Away featured both Lloyd and Jeff, while Bridges guest starred occasionally on Beau's series Harts of the West. The 1986 teleplay Thanksgiving Promise featured all of the celebrated Bridges, and included roles for Lloyd's wife, Dorothy, and grandson Jordan.
Bridges began his acting career in the 1930s on the stage. His first role wasin The Taming of the Shrew in Berkeley. He appeared in stock productions and supported his income by teaching theatrical courses at Cherry Lawn School. His wife, Dorothy, worked as an instructor as well. Bridges was also involved in a radical theater group called Actors Lab. That association later brought him trouble during Senator Joseph McCarthy's "Red Scare" trials in the1950s. McCarthy's staff investigated Bridges, and the actor found himself blacklisted from working until he could be cleared of any wrongdoing by the FBI. Some within the entertainment industry claim the investigations harmed Bridges' career. However, the success of the series Sea Hunt, which beganin 1957, shows a different outcome.
In addition to his work on the stage, Bridges added film credits to his resume beginning in the 1940s with roles in The Lone Wolf Takes a Chance, Harmon of Michigan, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Blondie Goes to College, A Walk in the Sun, and The Trouble with Women. Laterfilms included Little Big Horn, The Kid from Left Field, Joe versus the Volcano, Hot Shots!, and Honey, I Blew Up the Kid! He also appeared in the short comedy They Stooge to Conga with the Three Stooges. Sea Hunt was his first television series-it ended when Bridges decided it was time to move on to other roles. He appeared as AdamSheppard on The Lloyd Bridges Show and was later featured on series such as Lloyd Bridges' Water World, Joe Forrester, Paper Dolls, and Capital News. Bridges had guest roles in many popular miniseries. Among them were Roots, How the West Was Won, and Northand South Book II. His television movie credits include Trouble Comesto Town, The Great Wallendas, Dress Gray, Secret Sins of the Father, and Leona Helmsley: The Queen of Mean. He also appeared in episodes of popular television shows, including Mission: Impossible, Here's Lucy, Police Story, Battlestar Galactica, and The Love Boat. Two productions featuring Bridges were unreleased atthe time of his death: Meeting Daddy and Jane Austen's Mafia.Bridges and his wife also devoted time to social causes, particularly world hunger and the environment. In 1988 he headed a CARE mission on hunger in sub-Saharan Africa. Six years later the Bridges received UCLA's Ralph Bunche Peace Award. In all, the Bridges were married nearly sixty years. Noting that theactor had never won an Academy Award during his career, the London Times had this to say: "Bridges succeeded where so many actors fail: he was hardly ever out of work." The Times continued: "He survived an early brush with fame in infancy when President William Howard Taft awarded him a trophy for being the fattest baby in America."
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