Actor Jeff Bridger, winner for Best Actor for "Crazy Heart" poses in the press room at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theater on March 7, 2010 in Hollywood, California
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Jeff Bridges Movies: The Dude's Most Iconic Roles of All Time

The most effortlessly iconic roles from Jeff Bridges' one-of-a-kind career.

Jeff Bridges scored his first acting gig when he was just six months old. In 1951, his actor parents brought him along to the set of The Company She Keeps, where it just so happened they were filming a scene with Jane Greer that needed a baby. His mother, Dorothy, volunteered the infant Jeff. Problem was, he was a happy baby — too happy for a scene in which the baby needed to be crying. His mother offered a novel solution. "Just go ahead and pinch him!"

Greer gave him a pinch. Baby Jeff cried. And with that pinch, like an infectious bite from an acting bug, a reluctant star was born.

For years, Jeff Bridges was known as one of the most underrated actors in the business, never garnering the same prestige as names like Al Pacino or Robert De Niro, or Dustin Hoffman despite his immense talent. This was partly because he escaped so deeply into his characters there was no Jeff Bridges remaining for audiences to become familiar with. Partly because he turned down several roles that would have launched him to household name status (he deemed them too inauthentic.) And partly because he had a strong dislike for the trappings of fame — the lack of privacy that comes with stardom. For this reluctant star to receive his due credit, he couldn't be the name you saw slapped on a poster in larger font than the title (Jeff Bridges in... ) He needed to be the role.

That role wouldn't arrive until Jeff was well into middle age, when he played mellow slacker The Dude in the Coen brothers' 1998 cult classic The Big Lebowski. And he didn't just play The Dude. He became The Dude. And unlike most actors who aren't too keen on being remembered primarily for one part, Bridges is more than happy to be seen as The Dude forevermore. "If I'm lucky I'll be associated with The Dude the rest of my life," he once said. "I feel so honored to be a part of that film." As the reluctant star who strived not for fame but to truly become one with a character, it seems he got what he always wanted.

Today, the 73-year-old actor has lent his perfectly unpolished skills to over ninety films, occupying scenes with a presence both growlingly authoritative and plaited with sweetness. He's won an Oscar. Proved wrong anyone who ever doubted his ability as a leading man. And he's done it all while upholding his rigorous standards of authenticity. Let's highlight the most effortlessly iconic roles from his one-of-a-kind career.

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