Beau Bridges Is Jeff Bridges' Big Brother, Who Was like a Father to Him — Inside Their Bond
The Bridges brothers have had a huge impact in the film industry over the years, and their relationship is an inspiration, with Beau stepping in as Jeff's surrogate father.
Beau and Jeff Bridges are two of their generation's most influential actors and the inheritors of a formidable legacy. Their father was actor Lloyd Bridges, a legend of Hollywood's Golden Era and the star of over 150 movies.
Thanks to their father, some of their first memories are of being on the set of the iconic western "High Noon" starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly, in which Lloyd played Deputy Marshal Harvey Pell.
Actor Lloyd Bridges and his wife, Dorothy Simpson with their young sons, Jeff and Beau in 1949 | Source: Getty Images
AN ACTING FAMILY
Beau was the oldest, born in 1941, so when his little brother came along in 1949, he was already 8 years old. Lloyd and his wife, poet and actress Dorothy Bridges, would later welcome daughter Louise in 1953.
But the year before Jeff's birth the family suffered a brutal blow when their newborn son Garrett passed away, a victim of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and Beau became dedicated to little Jeff.
Lloyd Bridges with his sons Beau and Jeff on a western film set in 1975 | Source: Getty Images
Jeff would later reveal that because his father spent most of his time away on set, it was Beau who provided a quasi fatherly affection -- and a good healthy dose of brotherly teasing.
According to Jeff, Beau had a knack for pushing his buttons and used it mercilessly. The brothers' favorite pastime was, of course, acting. It was part of their childhood games, as natural to them as breathing.
Beau Bridges and Jeff Bridges at the "Seabiscuit" DVD Launch -Party in Beverly Hills | Source: Getty Images
Both boys got their first acting experience working with their father on his TV series, "Sea Hunt." It was Beau who encouraged the teenaged Jeff to get an agent and take acting seriously.
Jeff recounted that Beau decided to show off his little brother's abilities in an unconventional way. He took Jeff along on a meeting, and then excused himself to go to the bathroom.
"The Fabulous Baker Boys" brought together the Bridge brothers on film for the first time.
When he returned, the brothers launched into a scene from "Catcher In The Rye" so naturally, that it was several minutes before their audience realized they were acting. Beau got the part, and Jeff got an agent.
From then on, Jeff was a fast train to superstardom and has five Academy Award nominations for Best Actor to his credit. In 2010, he finally took home the coveted award for his work in "Crazy Heart."
The list of his film credits is awe-inspiring, among which he counts "The Fisher King," "The Contender," "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot," "Starman," "True Grit," "The Big Lebowski," and of course, the iconic "The Fabulous Baker Boys."
"The Fabulous Baker Boys" brought together the Bridge brothers on film for the first time, playing two pianist brothers whose codependence and rivalry is poisoning their lives.
The brothers tapped into their own relationship for an added edge, and their fighting on-scene was so realistic that Jeff inadvertently hurt Beau, and he had to go to the hospital.
Beau is a massively talented actor and musician in his own right and has won three Emmys, two Golden Globe awards, and a Grammy. But despite his accomplishments and roles in major movies, Jeff has the edge as far as fame goes. Jeff commented:
“It’s not a competition. It’s like we’re on the same team.”
The Bridges family has a new contender for fame, a third generation to continue the acting legacy and keep the name up in lights: Beau's son, actor Jordan Bridges. Beau and Jeff are both happily married men.
Beau has five children and Jeff has three, all daughters. In October 2020 Jeff, now 70, announced that he is battling cancer, and undergoing treatment in an effort to beat his Lymphoma.