What hasn’t Jeff Bridges done and done well in Hollywood over the last six decades? Getting his start alongside his father and brother, actors Lloyd and Beau Bridges, on Sea Hunt in 1951, Bridges went on to make his film debut in The Last Picture Show in 1971. Well on his way to stardom, he made headlines for his critically praised performance in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot opposite Clint Eastwood and again in the first remake of King Kong opposite Jessica Lange in 1976. With his career continuing to blossom throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the 66-year-old Bridges is now a legend in Hollywood with a long list of acting credits and award nominations for hits like True Grit, Seabiscuit, Iron Man, Tron: Legacy and The Giver. However, regardless of his success, he’ll always be known for his most popular performance as “The Duke” in The Big Lebowski.
Living a rather quiet life outside of Hollywood, Bridges is one of the few celebrities who has celebrated over 30 years of marriage since tying the knot with Susan Geston in 1977 after meeting on the set of Rancho Deluxe. Now worth an impressive $70 million thanks to over six decades of success as an actor, singer, producer and composer, Bridges definitely enjoys spending his fortune on his wife, three daughters and granddaughter but, as for his house in Montecito, California, he says it’s time to downgrade.
Purchased in 1994 from musician Kenny Loggins, Bridges and his wife instantly fell in love with the 19-acre estate and knew it was exactly where they wanted to raise their daughters. Situated above the Pacific Ocean and stretching across over 9,500 square feet with five bedrooms and five bathrooms, the Tuscan-inspired home was originally built in 1988 and features exquisite updates and details including antique Italian tiles, stone fireplace mantles and oak floors that add to its rustic feel. Even a step into the entryway ignites a quick comparison to The Dude’s home in The Big Lebowski, a character Bridges says he’s always identified with and loved.
With every dude needing a castle to call his own, Bridges certainly has that with a sunken living room and a massive stone fireplace with exposed wood beams continuing throughout most of the home. In the library, the beams were actually gathered from 100-year-old bridges on the East Coast to add to the home’s character. Amid open-air walkways, cathedral ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and stunning terraces, the house has an open feel that directly reflects Bridges’ easy-going demeanor.
Upstairs, the Montecito estate has a lovely master suite with a Juliet balcony as well as a limestone fireplace, sitting area and tower room that can be accessed from a discreet stairwell. The tower room boasts a fireplace of its own in addition to an expansive deck and sprawling views in all four directions.
While the interior of the home is stunning, its true beauty originates outside where the pristine landscaping makes way for many walking paths, a waterfall, an elegant garden and what Geston refers to as “Jeff’s beloved aloe trees that look like Dr. Seuss plants and require very little water.” There’s also a gorgeous outdoor dining area that is perfect for a quiet romantic dinner or hosting an intimate party with a few of the couple’s closets friends. At the edge of the property, there’s a vineyard, a greenhouse for growing orchids and Bridges’ beloved fort where a hammock, swings and benches provide relaxation and plenty of room for the True Grit star to make pottery.
Beyond his private getaway and the gardens, Bridges’ estate also includes multiple buildings including a music recording studio, a pair of guest homes to accommodate his bowling buddies and the occasional nihilist as well as a playhouse that he built for his daughters. But, now that his daughters are grown and there’s little need for 9,500 square feet for just the two of them, not even the memories, quaint swimming pool and outdoor kitchen, beautiful landscape or a collection of beloved aloe trees could keep the Bridges from putting their family home on the market.
Originally listed at $29.5 million in 2015 before dropping the price to $23 million to attract a buyer, the couple has already purchased a smaller home in the area but says their hearts will forever be at their ranch in Montana since meeting on the set of Rancho Deluxe nearly 41 years ago.
“Rancho Deluxe has special significance for me because I met my wife during the filming,” Bridges told the Missoulian in March 2016. “She was working her way through college and I couldn’t take my eyes off the girl waiting tables with a broken nose and two black eyes from a car accident. She said no, but she said that she might see me around town, though, being such a small town. We were married three years later. On one of our first dates we went along with a Realtor.”
Wherever he decides to rest his hat, Bridges has proven that not even fortune or fame can shake his grounded sensibility, respect and talent for whatever character or opportunity comes his way. As for whoever purchases his Montecito estate, the new owner should never forget one important caveat: The Dude Abides.