Family & Companions
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.
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Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made film acting debut in "Johnny Trouble"; met longtime partner Jack Larson on set
Wrote 18 episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and 14 TV movies
Co-wrote first feature film, "The Appaloosa"
Wrote first film as solo writer, "The Forbin Project"
Wrote and directed "The Baby Maker"
Wrote and directed hit film "The Paper Chase"
Wrote and directed "September 30th, 1955"
Wrote and directed thriller "The China Syndrome"
Wrote and directed country-themed drama "Urban Cowboy," starring John Travolta and Debra Winger
Wrote and directed mystery "Mike's Murder," starring Debra Winger
Co-wrote and directed aerobics-themed romantic drama "Perfect," starring Jamie Lee Curtis and John Travolta
Directed final film, "Bright Lights, Big City," starring Michael J. Fox
Wrote final screenplay, "White Hunter Black Heart"