Most kids/teens I’ve known DON’T want to follow in the footsteps of their parents. They want to see what ELSE is out there. Maybe they fear comparison? In Hollywood, an actor can be typecast just like that. It is crucial to get work (only about 3% of actors are currently work in their chosen business), BUT also important to keep your head on your shoulders. Below are some show business families who are making it work, both on and offscreen!
Actor Lloyd Bridges (1913-1998) co-starred in classic Westerns (like “High Noon” w/ Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly), worked on successful comic films and various TV series (Sea Hunt, Seinfeld, etc.) and perhaps most remarkable of all- raised a family under Hollywood’s glare. He and his wife Dorothy (deceased as of February 2009), an actress and poet, had a long marriage and 3 children. Lloyd Bridges’ acting ranged from very natural to comic. He was even considered for the role of Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek TV series!
“My dad was sort of the front man – he was out there getting public attention. But my mom was behind the scenes, sort of holding the whole thing together… She was such a creative person and inspired us all to be creative,” Jeff Bridges said about his parents.
Though the Bridges family has an “All-American” image, Lloyd Bridges’ career was in jeopardy when he became involved with the Communist Party in the 1950s. Later on, he helped found a theater in the Catskills Mountains; he and his wife met in college and started their careers in theater.
Beau, his eldest son
Beau Bridges may be known to younger audiences as a pleasant, father-figure in recent TV movies/series. As a young man, he was a NBA hopeful, served 8 years in the Coast Guard, and starred opposite many other respected actors. Like his father and younger brother, he has the ease of a natural actor. If Beau is in a movie, he”ll certainly class it up!
If you want to see Beau’s best work, you’ll have to check out films from the ’70s and ’80s.
Jeff Bridges, his younger son
Okay, I realize that the above picture is cheesy, but it’s also SUPER-HOT! Jeff Bridges is an actor that I NEVER get tired of seeing! He is the Hollywood total package: tall, great hair/smile/body AND the ability to pull viewers in (“the X factor”). Pauline Kael, a very noted AND tough film critic, called Jeff’s acting “natural and believable.”
Not many guys can stand up to a powerhouse like Barbra Streisand! In interviews, Jeff seems like the quintessential easygoing Californian. Like his clan, he has a GREAT love for the environment, swimming, and surfing. Jeff is also a capable horseman; you can see from some of his films.
Jeff has been in big budget and small/quirky films throughout his long career. He played a youthful/charming president opposite Joan Allen in the political drama, The Contender. Probably the coolest film prez since Morgan Freeman… Most fathers want their sons to surpass them, and arguably Jeff has done just that!
Jordan, his grandson (Beau’s son)
Jordan Bridges is a young (35 y.o.) actor who’s appeared in theater, TV, and films.
He had a co-starring role in the NBC legal drama, Conviction. Though this NYC-based series was short-lived, Jordan’s character was quite interesting. He played a young, wealthy, and sheltered ADA from the Upper East Side. Instead of joining his family’s firm, this young attorney wanted to serve the public. Crime hit home when he gets robbed and badly beaten just a few blocks from his old neighborhood.
Kirk Douglas has had a fascinating life. He is the American-born son of immigrant Russian Jews. His parents were illiterate, he grew up very poor, and worked from a young age. It’s noted that he got into college b/c of his wrestling skills and smooth talk/charm. These qualities didn’t hurt in Hollywwod either!
Douglas worked in the “golden age” of Hollywood, so when you watch his acting, it looks effortless. Amazing for his day, he NEVER got typecast! His slightly unusual (yet still handsome) looks and strong screen presence opened the door; Douglas played heroes, villains, and characters with various shades of gray.
Michael, his son
In a documentary film, Michael Douglas (who shares a strong physical resemblance to his father) admitted to being apprehensive about following in his father’s footsteps. Instead of simply auditioning for leading-man roles, he tried out for character parts that would enable him to distinguish himself from the strong pack of male actors of late ’70s and ’80s.
If you look closely, you see that BOTH father and son play strong-willed/determined men characters especially well. Also, there is ALWAYS an air of mystery about these actors! Next up for Michael: a sequesl to the hit film, Wall Street.
Veteran Brit actor James Fox was born into an acting family. He is perhaps known to American audiences from The Remains of the Day (opposite Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson), Anna Karenina (opposite Sophie Marceau and Sean Bean), and various lavish period dramas. Like many of his generation, he started in the theater (as did his elder brother). He had a quirky role in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (opposite Johhny Depp) recently.
Edward Fox, his elder brother
There’s probably little sibling rivalry since BOTH brothers have been awarded the Order of the British Empire! Edward is known for his TV work (Daniel Deronda), but he also appeared in The Bounty, Gandhi, Nicholas Nickelby, etc.
Laurence, his son
Emilia Fox, his niece (daughter of Edward)
Emilia Fox (now age 35) will forever be loved by fans of the 1995 BBC Pride & Prejudice miniseries. She played the waifish/sweet/shy Georgiana Darcy, the devoted little sister of Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth). Emilia has been acting consistently since leaving Oxford; she met her hubby while working in a play. Next up for Emilia: Dorian Gray (opposite Ben Barnes and Colin Firth, her P&P big brother).
Sam played a real-life journalist in the critically acclaimed 1984 film, The Killing Fields. His family can traced back to the Mayflower; he has worked on several projects about Abraham Lincoln. Besides being a great actor, I like how Sam Waterston chooses intelligent and though-provoking projects!
James, his son