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Bill Jones The Scuba Guy's SEA HUNT Trivia Guide
Lloyd Bridges Biography
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Sony / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has made SEA HUNT available at major DVD retailers.  Do not confuse these DVD's with the poor quality pirate DVD's offered on some websites.

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SEA HUNT star Lloyd "Bud" Vernet Bridges Jr. was born January 15, 1913 in San Leandro California.  President Taft stopped at a California state fair and spotted Bridges and named him the fattest baby in America.  Harriet and Lloyd (Sr.) separated when Bridges was 2 years old.  Growing up in several Northern California towns, he became a movie addict and watched screenings of the same films over and over observing sets, blocking, and  acting technique at a nickelodeon theater owned by his father.  His father, a hotel manager, wanted him to become a lawyer.   Bridges attended Petaluma High School in Petaluma California.  Lloyd BridgesWhile at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) studying Political Science (to be followed by law school), Bridges became interested in acting and basketball.  While taking a class on Constitutional Law, he began questioning his decision to become a lawyer.  An athletic student, he quickly made UCLA's freshman basketball team and began playing leading roles in campus productions that ranged from Greek drama and Shakespearean works to modern plays and musicals.

"I majored in political science, but all I wanted to do was act", said Bridges and he eventually chose to focus on acting.  It was here that Bridges would meet the love of his life Dorothy Dean Simpson who was one of his UCLA classmates and appeared opposite him in a romantic play "March Hares".  "He kissed me in the rumble seat all the way from UCLA down to Fairfax Avenue, it took a good fifteen minutes in those days.  But one kiss, I thought oh my god I think I've fallen in love", recalled Dorothy.  In 1932, Bridges courted his sweetheart Dorothy at the Monday-afternoon socials at the Masons Lodge in Westwood.  After graduation and encouraged by playwright Sidney Howard, Bridges performed in east coast summer theater productions of "Within the Gates" and "The Taming of the Shrew" with Peggy Woods and Rolo Peters. 

Earning a B.A. degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1936, Bridges began making his first films, became a member of the progressive Actors Lab company, and made his Broadway debut  in a production of "Othello" playing the character of Yago.  Simpson and Bridges would be married in 1938 at the Little Church Around The Corner in New York City and remained married until his death in 1998.

Sidney Buchman, one of Harry Cohenís top writers at Columbia Pictures, discovers Bridges.  Signing with Columbia in 1941 as a contract player for $75 per week, Bridges appeared in everything from The Three Stooges 2-reel comedies to such "A" pictures as "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" (1941), "Talk of the Town" (1942), "Sahara" (1943), and "She's a Soldier Too" (1944).

Bridges left Columbia and began freelancing in 1945 and took the lead role in "Secret Agent X-9" (1945), starred in "A Walk in the Sun" (1945), "Canyon Passage" (1946),  and "Unconquered" (1947).  He accepted the role of a deep-sea diver in "16 Fathoms Deep" (1948).  Ivan Tors would later see this film and be so impressed by Bridges performance, it would influence Tors selection of him as the actor for "Sea Hunt's" (1958-61) starring role Mike Nelson.  Bridges also starred in "Moonrise" (1948).  His big break came in "Home of the Brave" (1949), a controversial film which attacked racial prejudice in the military.  Bridges' performance as Finch, a sympathetic member of a platoon torn by racial strife won critical acclaim.

The most memorable of his 1950's films may be the leading role in the cult science-fiction flick "Rocketship" X-M (1950) but it was the part of Gary Cooper's deputy in the Oscar winning "High Noon" (1952) that made his career take off.

Everything seemed to be going great when allegations that Bridges had been involved with the Communist Party threatened to end his career.  "It was a bad time", Bridges said. "I was always against prejudice of any kind, and when I was a member of the Actors' Lab, there was an opportunity to do something as part of a group to stop prejudice and help people".  Bridges paid the price by loss of Hollywood friends at the Actors Lab when he gave a statement for lawyers of the committee behind closed doors.  Although Bridges admitted he had once been a member of the Communist Party during the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings, he wasn't blacklisted outright and continued to work throughout the 1950's although he was "too controversial" for some studios and Bridges would find work only in low-budget films.  .

A number of forgettable roles followed but Bridges career took off again when he appeared as Katharine Hepburn's brother in "The Rain Maker" (1956) which brought him great reviews.

Making the transition to TV, he appeared in live television presentations on "Studio One" (1948-58), "Playhouse 90" (1956-61), and "The United States Steel Hour" (1953-63)

On February 19, 1956 during an intense, dramatic, live-television, performance playing Alec Beggs in "Tragedy in a Temporary Town" on "The Alcoa Hour" (1955-57), Bridges keeps the town's people from beating an innocent kind with a baseball bat.  Bridges yelled live, on the air, "You pigs, you pigs, you g_d da_ned stinking pigs!"  NBC switchboards at Rockefeller Center in New York handled more than 500 calls about the profanity.  "That made headlines, and I was being called in the middle of the night by reporters", Bridges recalled.  Things calmed down a bit after a minister publicly proclaimed that "there are times when its correct to ask god to dam somebody", according to Bridges friend and actress Betty Garrrett.  In 1957, Bridges was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of "Best Single Performance by an Actor" for this performance.  Bridges would loose to Jack Palance for his performance in "Requiem for a Heavyweight" on "Playhouse 90" (1956-61) on CBS.

Bridges' Star on the Hollywood Walk of FameBridges became a small screen star of gigantic proportions when he accepted the role that would change his life and career forever by starring in "Sea Hunt" (1958-61).  Bridges took some time to decide on this offer because serious actors in those days didn't want to get stuck in a weekly television show.  "But I needed to feed my family and it seemed so unusual", said Bridges and so he accepted the role.  Bridges sold his 1949 Trousdale tract home in Westdale Village and bought a home in Mar Vista away from the Hollywood lifestyle.  With his success in SEA HUNT, he bought a home in Westwood.  Later, Bridges bought a stone facade home just off Sunset Boulevard (near Beverly Glen Boulevard) in the 200 block of Loring Avenue in Bel Air and a Malibu home in the 21500 block of the Pacific Coast Highway.  For an entire generation of TV fans, he became a household name playing Mike Nelson toward the end of television's golden age.  After 4 years and 155 epsiodes, Bridges wanted more complex plots and decided it was time to move on to better parts leaving the show that had made him a millionaire.

After "Sea Hunt" (1958-61) ended in 1961, he signed onto "The Lloyd Bridges Show" (1962-63).  Bridges did dozens of made-for-TV-movies and starred in a number of short-lived series including "The Loner" (1965-66), "San Francisco International Airport" (1970-71), and "Joe Forrester" (1975-76).  He also appeared in a number of TV mini-series including ''Roots'' (1977), ''Moviola'' (1980), ''East of Eden'' (1981), ''The Blue and the Gray'' (1982), and ''George Washington'' (1984).

Bridges career made a huge change in 1979 when Jim Abrahams offered him a parody comedy role in "Airplane!" (1980) "There was no doubt, there was no apprehension that it would be funny.  The big hurdle was convincing him (Bridges) to do it", said Abrahams.  Bridges never "anticipated the enormous success of that film, so it was a major turning point.  For Lloyd Bridges, it was a re-discovery", said film critic Leonard Maltin.  Bridges could do comedy!  Bridges picked up a new generation fans with his spoofed roles in the "Airplane!" (1980) and its sequel "Airplane II: The Sequel" (1982).  Bridges plays Steve McCroskey, a character spoofing the character Jim Conrad which he played 12 years earlier in "San Francisco International Airport" (1970-71).  "Airplane!" fans will not be able to keep from laughing if they see the very serious "Zero Hour!" (1957), the drama "Airplane!" actually spoofs and plagiarizes dialog.

Bridges appeared in "Weekend Warriors" (1986), "Cousins" (1989), "Joe Versus the Volcano" (1990), "Hot Shots!" (1991), "Honey, I Blew Up the Kid" (1992), and "Hot Shots! Part Deux" (1993).

Bridges appeared with son Jeff in "Tucker: The Man and His Dream," (1988) and had a recurring role on son Beau's television series "Harts of the West." (1993)  He appeared with grandson Dylan Bridges in a 1995 episode of "The Outer Limits" (1995-02).

Bridges more recent 1997 guest appearances on "Seinfeld" (1990-98) on NBC as the hard-nosed fitness trainer Izzy Mandelbaum serves as a fun reminder of the flexibility of this very missed actor.  In 1998, Bridges was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of "Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series" for playing the Mandelbaum character in the Seinfeld episode "The Blood".  Bridges would loose to Mel Brooks for playing Uncle Phil in the episode "Uncle Phil and the Coupons" on "Mad About You" (1992-99) on NBC.

Before he died in his Loring Avenue home in Bel Air California on March 10, 1998 of natural causes,  Bridges said that he wanted to be remembered for his concern for the good health of the earth.  Bridges is survived by his wife Dorothy, his daughter (Lucinda) Cindy, his sons Jeff and Beau, and 11 grandchildren.

Bridges worked on the Broadway stage, helped to found an off-Broadway theater, and acted, produced, and directed at the Green Mans Ions theater in the Catskill mountains.  Bridges starred in more than 150 motion pictures for film and television in an extraordinary career spanning over six decades.

Bridges favorite charities were American Oceans Campaign, Heal The Bay, and Earth Trust.

This article contains only  selected stage, film, and television appearances.

Editor Note:  Bill Jones, The Scuba Guy, is a PADI Master Instructor and a Published and Award-Winning Writer

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Read more about it:   Sea Hunt Sparked Interest in Diving
Sea Hunt Trivia
Sea Hunt Episode Guide
Sea Hunt Principal Cast & Crew
Sea Hunt Guest Stars
Sea Hunt Fact or Myth
Sea Hunt FAQ
Sea Hunt Legacy
Sea Hunt Memorabilia
Sea Hunt Travel Guide
Lloyd Bridges Biography
Lloyd Bridges Trivia
    Enter The Scuba Guy Website

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