James Bridges


Director, Screenwriter

About

Birth Place
Paris, Arkansas, USA
Born
February 03, 1936
Died
June 06, 1993
Cause of Death
Cancer

Biography

James Bridges began his career as an actor in the late 1950s, but became far better known as a writer and director of hit films in the 1970s and '80s. After a short period as an actor, Bridges wrote for television, including 18 episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (CBS/NBC 1955-1965), and received his first feature credit as co-writer of the western "The Appaloosa". Bridges made his d...

Family & Companions

Jack Larson
Companion
Playwright, librettist, former actor. Best known for playing Jimmy Olsen on "The Adventures of Superman" (1953-57); acted with Bridges in "Johnny Trouble" (1957); together for 35 years; associate producer of Bridges's "Mike's Murder" (1982) and co-producer of "Perfect" (1985); survived him.

Biography

James Bridges began his career as an actor in the late 1950s, but became far better known as a writer and director of hit films in the 1970s and '80s. After a short period as an actor, Bridges wrote for television, including 18 episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (CBS/NBC 1955-1965), and received his first feature credit as co-writer of the western "The Appaloosa". Bridges made his directing debut with "The Baby Maker" (1970), a finely-observed film about a middle-class couple who hire a hippie girl to bear their child after the wife discovers she is infertile. Not a prolific director, Bridges wrote the screenplays for all but the last of the eight films he made between 1970 and 1988. After writing and directing the law school drama "The Paper Chase" (1973), which starred his mentor John Houseman, Bridges hit his commercial peak with "The China Syndrome" (1979), a suspenseful and potent indictment of both the nuclear power industry and the electronic media starring Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon and Michael Douglas. Bridges next helmed the popular John Travolta vehicle "Urban Cowboy" (1980), followed by "Mike's Murder" (1984), a somewhat experimental, atmospheric drama starring "Urban Cowboy" breakout Debra Winger, which became better known for Joe Jackson's haunting score. After the high-profile flop of "Perfect" (1985), a romantic drama set in the aerobics craze starring Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis, Bridges' last film as a director was the adaptation of Jay McInerney's best-selling tale of Manhattan cocaine addiction, "Bright Lights, Big City" (1988). Bridges replaced original director Joyce Chopra after filming had already started, bringing in a new cinematographer and replacing most of the cast beyond stars Michael J. Fox and Kiefer Sutherland. His final produced script was "White Hunter, Black Heart" (1990), director and star Clint Eastwood's behind the scenes story based on the location filming of "The African Queen" (1951). James Bridges died of kidney failure brought on by intestinal cancer on June 6, 1993. He was 57.

Life Events

1957

Made film acting debut in "Johnny Trouble"; met longtime partner Jack Larson on set

1962

Wrote 18 episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and 14 TV movies

1966

Co-wrote first feature film, "The Appaloosa"

1969

Wrote first film as solo writer, "The Forbin Project"

1970

Wrote and directed "The Baby Maker"

1973

Wrote and directed hit film "The Paper Chase"

1977

Wrote and directed "September 30th, 1955"

1979

Wrote and directed thriller "The China Syndrome"

1980

Wrote and directed country-themed drama "Urban Cowboy," starring John Travolta and Debra Winger

1984

Wrote and directed mystery "Mike's Murder," starring Debra Winger

1985

Co-wrote and directed aerobics-themed romantic drama "Perfect," starring Jamie Lee Curtis and John Travolta

1988

Directed final film, "Bright Lights, Big City," starring Michael J. Fox

1990

Wrote final screenplay, "White Hunter Black Heart"

Videos

Movie Clip

Paper Chase, The (1973) - You Haven't Paid Homage Duded-up at the Thanksgiving party thrown by his Harvard Law professor Kingsfield (John Houseman), Hart (Timothy Bottoms) visits with Ford (Graham Beckel) and others, then is stunned to learn his mysterious girlfriend Susan (Lindsay Wagner) is the host’s daughter, in The Paper Chase, 1973.
Paper Chase, The (1973) - A Burned And Hairy Hand After the credit for writer-director James Bridges, John Houseman in his Academy Award-winning role as Professor Kingsfield (which he would also play in the subsequent TV series), Timothy Bottoms as unlucky student Hart, in The Paper Chase, 1973, from the novel by Harvard Law grad John Jay Osborn, Jr.
Paper Chase, The (1973) - Minds Are Being Formed First-year student Hart (Timothy Bottoms) now more acclimated at Harvard Law School, with blue-blood Ford (Graham Beckel) in the dorm, then meeting Susan (Lindsay Wagner) at a pizzeria on Massachusetts Ave., in The Paper Chase, 1973, written and directed by James Bridges.
China Syndrome, The (1979) - Take It To One Ten As Jane Fonda’s news team struggles with whether to go with the story, Jack Lemmon as engineer Godell, with colleague Spindler (Wilford Brimley) presses supervisor Deyoung (Scott Brady) to put the reactor through a tougher stress test, after the first incident, in The China Syndrome, 1979.
China Syndrome, The (1979) - I Don't Like Reporters Popular feature reporter Kimberly (Jane Fonda) is looking for her cameraman who's stolen the film of the nuclear plant accident, checking the nearby bar where she meets gracious but cagey techs Jack (Lemmon) and Ted (Wilford Brimley), in The China Syndrome, 1979.
China Syndrome, The (1979) - I Got The Lead Story Feature reporter Kimberly (Jane Fonda) and cameraman Richard (Michael Douglas) rush home with secretly shot film from the nuclear plant control room, featuring Jack Lemmon, received by producer Mac (James Karen) and newsroom boss Jacovich (Peter Donat), in The China Syndrome, 1979.
China Syndrome, The (1979) - Felt Like An Earthquake PR man Gibson (James Hampton) is giving the feature-story news crew (Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas, Daniel Valdez) a tour of the nuclear plant when something happens, Jack Lemmon (as Jack Goddell) and Wilford Brimley (as "Ted') responding in the control room, early in The China Syndrome, 1979.
White Hunter Black Heart - Almost Divine Ability Jeff Fahey narrates from the novel written by screenwriter Peter Viertel shortly after shooting The African Queen with John Huston, Clint Eastwood (who also directed) as his subject, Charlotte Cornwell the girl-Friday, opening White Hunter Black Heart, 1990.
White Hunter Black Heart - The Dangerous Life At a Hollywood club, big names gather before shooting for the thinly-veiled The African Queen, George Dzundza modeled on producer Sam Spiegel, Clint Eastwood (also directing) on John Huston, Jeff Fahey on writer Peter Viertel, Marisa Berenson on Hepburn, Richard Vanstone and Jamie Koss on Bogart and Bacall, in White Hunter Black Heart, 1990.
White Hunter Black Heart - Such A Hardy Bugger Director and star Clint Eastwood, modeled on John Huston, introduces Jeff Fahey (modeled on screenwriter Peter Viertel) to a hunter and friend (Martin Jacobs, Mel Martin), then discuss their script (verbatim from Viertel's for The African Queen), in White Hunter Black Heart, 1990.

Trailer

Family

Celestine Wiggins
Mother
Survived him.
Mary Ann Wiggins
Sister
Survived him.

Companions

Jack Larson
Companion
Playwright, librettist, former actor. Best known for playing Jimmy Olsen on "The Adventures of Superman" (1953-57); acted with Bridges in "Johnny Trouble" (1957); together for 35 years; associate producer of Bridges's "Mike's Murder" (1982) and co-producer of "Perfect" (1985); survived him.

Bibliography