Jeff Bridges almost died when he came down with COVID in January 2021.
The Big Lebowski star, 72, had no resistance as he was getting chemo for his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The Hollywood icon added that he did not really have the will to fight the virus as he felt he was ‘dancing with mortality,’ he told People.
The star has been in remission from lymphoma since September 2021 and is now promoting his new FX show The Old Man.
Close call: Jeff Bridges has shared that he almost died when he came down with COVID in early 2021. He was pictured in LA in 2019
A rare recent photo of Bridges: Here he is seen in November 2020. He has not been seen much since 2019
‘I was pretty close to dying. The doctors kept telling me, “Jeff, you’ve got to fight. You’re not fighting.” I was in surrender mode. I was ready to go. I was dancing with my mortality,’ said the father of three who has been married to wife Susan Geston since 1977.
He was weak from battling cancer – which he revealed in early 2020 he had – and he was not vaccinated as there was no vaccine yet.
‘I had no defence. That’s what chemo does — it strips you of all your immune system. I had nothing to fight it,’ Bridges told the site.
Bridges also said the affects of COVID were far worse than the cancer.
‘COVID made my cancer look like nothing,’ said the Los Angeles resident who added he was in the hospital for five months where he suffered intense pain and was on oxygen.
Close to the edge: The Big Lebowski star, 72, had no resistance as he was getting chemo for his lymphoma and he added that he did not really have the will to fight the virus as he felt he was ‘dancing with mortality,’ he told People. Seen in 2019
The TRON: Legacy actor got better when he was given convalescent plasma treatment.
That involves using blood from people who have already recovered from COVID. And then he had to do physical therapy to get his strength back.
His recovery was not fast as he started taking ‘baby steps,’ Jeff said.
But there was a silver lining. Being so sick made him unable to work which kept him close to home with his family.
On death’s door: ‘I was pretty close to dying. The doctors kept telling me, “Jeff, you’ve got to fight. You’re not fighting.” I was in surrender mode. I was ready to go. I was dancing with my mortality,’ said Jeff. He was snapped in LA in October of 2019
He has three children with Susan: Isabelle, 40, Jessica, 38, and Haley, 36. And several of his kids have children as well making him a grandfather.
WHAT IS CONVALESCENT PLASMA TREATMENT?
Convalescent plasma therapy uses blood from people who have recovered from an illness to help others recover, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given emergency authorization for convalescent plasma therapy with high antibody levels to treat COVID-19, the site also shared.
‘It may be used for some hospitalized people ill with COVID-19 who are either early in their illness or who have weakened immune systems,’ it says on the Mayo Clinic site.
Blood donated by people who’ve recovered from COVID-19 has antibodies to the virus that causes it. The donated blood is processed to remove blood cells, leaving behind liquid (plasma) and antibodies.
These can be given to people with COVID-19 to boost their ability to fight the virus.
Information courtesy the Mayo Clinic
And the Hollywood icon is also close to his brother Beau Bridges.
‘Who would say, “I’d love some cancer and give me a dose of COVID”? But my ability to receive all the love and give it was just heightened,’ he said.
‘Everything was turned up in the most beautiful way.’
Working on his new show was challenging as there were a lot of stops and starts.
Production had to stop for 15 months amid his health battle.
‘I went through a year-and-a-half of this bizarre dream and then came back,’ the Oscar winner said, according to Deadline in March. ‘It was great to be back with the gang.’
The Hollywood veteran, who has starred in Crazy Heart, The Last Picture Show and True Grit, appeared in the virtual news conference alongside his co-stars Amy Brenneman, 57, and John Lithgow, 76.
Bridges said he adapted to the series role remembering advice from his late father, actor Lloyd Bridges, who he said filmed six series in his career.
‘He’s my teacher,’ Bridges said of his late father, who died in 1998.
‘I resist everything. Each assignment has a unique quality. This one was going to have a lot of physicality.’
The Old Man production has started and stopped twice, once due to the coronavirus pandemic and once to Bridges’ health battle. The actor on Tuesday credited his collaborators for their consideration and support amid the tough time.
‘As far as I’m concerned, FX and all of the team were so considerate and gave me all of the time I needed to heal and all the support I needed,’ Bridges said, according to The Wrap. ‘The protocols – we were still in COVID – made me feel very safe and eager to get down to business and play.’
His longtime wife: He is the father of three who has been married to wife Susan Geston since 1977; seen in 2019
The kids: Together they have Isabelle, 40, Jessica, 38, and Haley, 36. And several of his kids have children as well making him a grandfather. Seen in 2008
Brenneman credited Bridges for ‘always [being] available,’ as well as his upbeat candor amid the health crisis.
She said when she asked him about his recovery, he would say, ‘It was weird but it was interesting – it was cool!’
Lithgow opened up about how Bridges was helpful to his older brother David, who ‘was diagnosed with something very, very similar to what Jeff suffered from.
His new show: Here Jeff is seen bloodied in his new FX series The Old Man
‘And as soon as I told him about my brother, he immediately got in touch with him, sent him information, he never met the man. Jeff is the most big-hearted person. It’s not like you are working with an actor at all. It’s like you are working with a friend.’
The Old Man, which is based on Thomas Perry’s novel, casts Bridges as a former CIA operative named Dan Chase who finds himself hunted by a hitman, played by Gbenga Akinnagbe.
The show also features Alia Shawkat, Bill Heck, Seem Lubany and EJ Bonilla. It is slated to debut on FX June 16.
One of his top roles: Seen with Julianne Moore in the 1998 film The Big Lebowski