Lloyd Bridges was an accomplished American actor, who appeared in over 150 feature films, but is probably best remembered for starring as Mike Nelson in the acclaimed TV drama series “Sea Hunt.”
Age, Early Life, and Education Background
Lloyd Vernet Bridges Jr. was born under the Capricorn zodiac sign on 15 January 1913, in San Leandro, California, the son of the hotelier and theater owner, Lloyd Vernet Bridges Sr. and Harriet Evelyn Brown. His dad wanted him to become an attorney but he preferred to pursue his acting dream.
Bridges attended Petaluma High School, matriculating to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1930, where he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity. Bridges graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science.
Hobbies and Interests
Lloyd was a philanthropist and former head of the international humanitarian organization, CARE, which fights world hunger and global poverty.
The late Californian actor was also a dedicated environmentalist, who was a big supporter of the Los Angeles-based group, Heal the Bay, and American Oceans Campaign, whose mission is to protect, restore, and preserve coastal waters and marine life. He once said, ‘The devastation caused by war and the pollution of our environment knows no boundaries. Only an effective world government could provide sufficient law and have the power to control these destructive forces.’
Career Beginnings and US Coast Guard
Bridges appeared in his first Broadway play, Shakespeare’s tragedy, “Othello” in 1939, which starred Brian Aherne and Walter Huston. Thereafter, he worked as a drama tutor together with his wife Dorothy Bridges, at Cherry Lawn School, situated in Darien, Connecticut. In 1941, the duo inked a contract with Columbia Pictures after they were spotted at Cherry Lawn School by the entertainment firm – Bridges played minor roles in feature films and short subjects. During World War II, he left the company and joined the US Coast Guard (USCG), and later became a member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, tasked with making public service announcements for the US Coast Guard volunteer group – he was later named an honorary commodore.
In 1945, Lloyd landed his first starring role in the movie serial, “Secret Agent X-9,” followed by support roles in several independent movies. He made his TV debut in the 1951 CBS Television series “The Bigelow Theater.” He was nominated for an Emmy Award for his performance in the NBC anthology TV program “The Alcoa Hour”, and appeared in various films and series before he was cast to star in Ivan Tors’ action-adventure series “Sea Hunt.” His praised performance (from 1958- 1961) propelled him to stardom, and his next notable appearance was in the CBS anthology TV series “The Lloyd Bridges Show,” which was produced by Aaron Spelling, in which Adam Shepherd introduces current or past news events and discusses their relevance – he appeared alongside his sons, Jeff and Beau.
In the mid-60s, the “Sea Hunt” producer Gene Roddenberry, offered Bridges the role of Captain Kirk in his sci-fi series “Star Trek” but the part eventually went to the Canadian actor William Shatner. In 1965 and 1966, Bridges starred in the short-lived Western series “The Loner”, but went on to star in several other films in the late ‘60s, including “Daring Game.”
“Airplane!” and Other Projects
In 1975 and 1976, Bridges starred in the short-lived crime-drama series “Joe Forrester,” which was the spin-off from the anthology crime-drama, “Police Story.” One of Bridges’ most significant roles was in the 1980 parody film “Airplane!” which had an impressive box office collection of $171 million against a budget of $3.5 million. It stars the likes of Jonathan Banks, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Leslie Nielsen, and follows the story of the former pilot, Ted Striker (played by Robert Hays), who has an extreme fear of flying, and is burdened with the task of safely landing an airplane when most of his passengers and crew fall ill due to food poisoning.
In 1990, Llyod landed the starring role in the short-lived ABC series, “Capital News.” In the same year, he starred in the feature films “In the Nick of Time” and “Honey, I Blew Up the Kids.” The actor was nominated for an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Izzy Mandelbaum in the eighth and ninth seasons of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David’s TV sitcom “Seinfeld” in 1997, and He served as an advisory board member of the National Student Film Institute, which was formerly known as the Los Angeles Student Film Institute.
Bridges’ last movie, the 1998 crime comedy, “Jane Austen’s Mafia,” was dedicated to him. Moreover, the episode “The Burning” of the last season of the long-running NBC sitcom, “Seinfeld” was also dedicated to him.
Awards and Honors
Bridges’ performance in “Seinfeld” saw him nominated for two awards: a Primetime Emmy and an Online Film & Television Association (OFTA). He was nominated for another Primetime Emmy Award in 1957 for his performance in the series “The Alcoa Hour.” On 1 February 1994, Lloyd was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7065 Hollywood Boulevard. In 1996, he won a Golden Boot Award, and Llyod and his sons Jeff and Beau received the US Navy Memorial’s Lone Sailor Award, which is given to honor former Coast Guards who went on to forge fruitful careers as civilians after their discharge.
Lloyd married his college sweetheart, the poet and actress Dorothy Bridges, in New York City in mid-1938. Dorothy was born to a Swiss-German mother and an English father in Worcester, Massachusetts, in September 1915 – she passed on in February 2009. The couple appeared together in numerous theatrical projects, including the romantic play “March Hares.” They welcomed four children: the Emmy, Golden Globe, and Grammy Award-winning actor Beau Bridges (born in 1941), the Academy Award-winning actor, Jeff Bridges (born in 1949), Lucinda ‘Cindy’ Bridges (born 1953), and Garrett Myles Bridges, who sadly succumbed to sudden infant death syndrome in August 1948.
In June 1992, Bridges underwent successful open-heart surgery to remove a blockage from one of his coronary arteries. He died of ‘age-related causes’ on 10 March 1998 at the age of 85.
Height, Weight, and Physical Appearance
Bridges was of White ethnicity and had a set of blue eyes and gray hair. He stood 6ft (1.83m) tall and weighed approximately 185lbs (84kgs) – his vital statistics were 39-15-31. The late actor wore shoe size 11(US).
Lloyd’s successful acting career made him a household name in the US. His net worth was approximately $15 million at the time of his death.