Lloyd Bridges, a film and television star best known for his role as former Navy frogman Mike Nelson in the '50s TV series "Sea Hunt,' died Mar. 10 at his home in L.A. He was 85.
The tall, blond and rugged-faced Bridges was born in 1913 in San Leandro, CA, and received his BA from UCLA -- whereupon he defied his father, who wanted him to study law, and moved to the East Coast to become an actor.
After doing some stock, he made his Broadway debut in 1937 as an officer in Robert Edmond Jones' staging of Othello starring Walter Huston and Brian Aherne.
After a few minor roles in other New York productions, including A Comedy of Good and Evil (1938) and Suzanna and the Elders (1940), Bridges signed with Columbia Films in 1941 and went on to appear in myriad Westerns and action pictures.
In 1953 he returned to Broadway in Leonard Kantor's three-character play Dead Pigeon, playing a detective hired to guard a material witness. The New York Times praised his portrayal: "Lloyd Bridges portrays an interesting human being -- an average cop who becomes an individual with a specific character before the play is over," wrote Brooks Atkinson in his review of the play (which he did not care for). In the late 1950s Bridges reportedly said in an interview that he thought he could play Hamlet better than Richard Burton and Othello better than Jose Ferrer, but he never was given the opportunity to strut his stuff in those roles.
He did, however, receive glowing reviews for his Sky Masterson in a 1959 production of Guys and Dolls in NY's Central Park. And in 1967 he replaced Barry Nelson on Broadway in Cactus Flower.
Bridges is survived by his wife and three children -- a daughter, Cindy, and two sons, the actors Jeff and Beau.
-- By Rebecca Paller