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‘Dealing with your mortality, it makes things more precious’: Hollywood legend Jeff Bridges on the gift of life after cancer

Jeff Bridges has had a rough two years. First came cancer, then came Covid. But having survived both, the scruffy-sweet Hollywood legend is back on our screens – and relishing every moment

Jeff Bridges at 72 wakes early and lingers a while in bed. Since a battle with lymphatic cancer that began two years ago (“When they found a 9in by 12in mass in my stomach”) and a bad case of Covid he contracted on his local chemo ward (“It made the cancer look like a piece of cake”), rising in the mornings has been a struggle for the veteran Hollywood actor. “I really have to drag myself out of bed,” he says. When Bridges is finally up and about, he stretches, he does a daily breathing exercise so intense it leaves him trembling, he makes coffee, he reads. By the time he’s down in the garage of his Santa Barbara home, maybe noodling about on a musical instrument, or painting, he’ll be feeling and behaving more like the Jeff Bridges that movie-goers have come to know: that beautifully unpolished, scruffy-sweet, growly-squeaky figure, irresistible in deathless works that include The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Big Lebowski and True Grit.

“Our garage has been converted into my hang,” Bridges explains, showing off its features to me one day. There are cosy rugs on the floor and paperbacks piled on side tables. Musical equipment takes up a whole corner, opposite another corner dedicated to ceramics. Bridges’s own paintings decorate the walls beside photographs of his family, including his brother Beau, his wife Sue, their three adult daughters and several grandchildren that include a newborn who arrived this year. While Bridges was in isolation, struck down by that cancer and Covid double, Sue arranged for some further additions to the garage. Portable fencing and screen doors were brought in, transforming the space into an indoor-outdoor recuperation room, complete with its own water fountain. Bridges was carried here straight from hospital, hooked up to oxygen tanks, his wheeled bed eventually swapped out for a leather recliner as his health improved.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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