Jeff Bridges is opening up about his recent health battles.
The True Grit star was awarded the Lifetime Achievement at the 2023 Critics Choice Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday night. Jeff dedicated the prestigious award, presented by Big Lebowski costar John Goodman, to his late father, Airplane star Lloyd Bridges, saying:
“It’s my dad’s birthday today, January 15. I’m wearing his cuff links. I wouldn’t be up here without my dad. No, he’s the reason that I’m up here. I can remember him loving showbiz so much, loving acting so much, and as a kid I said, ‘You know, Dad, I’m not sure I wanna be an actor.’ He goes, ‘What are you talkin’ about?’ I said, ‘I wanna do painting maybe, music.’ He said, ‘Jeff, don’t be ridiculous. Being an actor, they’re gonna call on you to do all of those things you’re interested in. And besides that, you’re gonna get to tell all these wonderful stories from all these different perspectives of people that are alive. This is a wonderful profession.’”
Ha! And you wonder why there are so many nepo babies…
The 74-year-old went on to thank his family, which he explained has always been “so supportive.” However, the overwhelming honor of it all caused Jeff to forget to touch on something that has been affecting his life, and career, in a MAJOR way for the last two years: a battle with both lymphoma AND COVID-19. He explained to Entertainment Tonight in a backstage interview:
“I was sick for two years — with cancer and COVID — and when I talked about my family, [Susan Geston] and my daughters, I wanted to, you know, talk about their support during that time. I didn’t think I was going to make it at all, let alone get going back to work. But because they supported me so beautifully, I was able to go back and finish The Old Man.”
He’s of course referring to his action drama, which began filming before the pandemic, and before his scary diagnoses — but what a scary revelation that the Academy Award winning actor didn’t think he was going to make it through the health battles… He continued:
“We were stopped in the middle of the season and it was very surreal. It was like we had a two year long weekend ya know? And then we came back to work and, you know, I’d say to Amy Brenneman and [John] Lithgow, and say, ‘I had the weirdest dream guys. I was in the hospital.’ I couldn’t believe it. But their support during those times — and also The Old Man. Doing that show was terrific and I’m so happy we’re going to do another season starting in March.”
Brenneman spoke to People at the ceremony,
“I was always with Jeff and… then he was diagnosed with cancer. Honestly, during the cancer, he was really lively.”
While things may have been touch-and-go medically, she could tell by his spirits he would make it, telling him “I think you’re going to beat this.”
See the full moment Jeff opens up about his health battle (below):
We’re so glad that Jeff is recovering, as we reported back in September 2021 that his cancer was in remission. Here’s hoping we get many more years with the actor!
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