Steve Bridges, a comic actor and impersonator best known for his impersonations of President George W. Bush, was found dead Saturday in his Los Angeles home at age 48.
Bridges had recently returned home from China, where he had been performing, according to The L.A. Times. An autopsy has been scheduled, but the Los Angeles County coroner's office said his death appeared to have no evidence of foul play.
'He actually invited me down to Crawford.'
Born in Dallas, Texas on May 22, 1963, Steve Bridges was a born impersonator. He began to practice his impersonations when he was only a little boy, starting with the characters on TV classic The Three Stooges.
“Anything I saw on TV, I imitated,” he told Larry King in a CNN interview in 2006.
As a young man, he began to take voice coaching and acting classes, and caught the public's eye and affection with impressions of Vice President Al Gore, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
He became a regular on Jay Leno's The Tonight Show, and was soon ready to tackle his most iconic role: newly elected President George W. Bush. With a two-hour process involving makeup and prosthetics to complete the illusion, Bridges soon surpassed all his other impressions with his take on the bumbling president.
Nor did his talents go unnoticed. In 2003, Bridges was invited to visit the president at the White House, and the two appeared side-by-side together at the annual White House Correspondent's Association dinner in 2006.
I tell you: You see a videotape where someone looks like you, acts like you, talks like you--that's weird, Bridges recalled Bush marveling at the 2003 meeting.
The President said he really appreciated the tone of my material, Bridges added in a press release for his web site. How it was all in fun and something he’d feel comfortable having his daughters hear.
During the pair’s 20 minute meeting, Bush and Bridges talked Texas, Haney’s Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy, the history of the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, and even the subtle differences between doing impressions of George Bush Sr. and George Bush Jr.
“At one point, he actually invited me down to Crawford, Texas to do a little fishing,” Bridges said.
'I try to become that person.'
For Steve Bridges, impressions were so much more than simple mimicry. To do a true impersonation of someone, that character had to embodied, just as with any acting role.
“I try to become that person in a funny way,” Bridges told the Washington Post in 2006. “I try to act like him, from the mannerisms to the phraseology.”
Over his career, Bridges built up a repertoire of around 200 impressions, including Homer Simpson, Regis Philbin, Rush Limbaugh and President Jimmy Carter.
Steve Bridges never married. He is survived by his parents, Tom and Margaret Bridges; his brothers, Jon and Philip; and a sister, Elizabeth Bridges, all of Clayton, Calif.
Below, watch some of the great impersonator's most masterful impressions, from his take on George W. Bush and Barack Obama to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Clinton.
Steve Bridges As George W. Bush, 2006:
Steve Bridges As Barack Obama, 2010:
Steve Bridges As Arnold Schwarzenegger, 2008:
Steve Bridges As Bill Clinton, 2010: