I've seen home movies of me as a small boy, fearlessly singing and dancing for the family. My parents thought I had enough charisma to be on TV, so they took me to Hollywood to get some headshots done. All I can remember is that I was breathless traveling to Tinseltown, because I was certain that we would run into Ginger from "Gilligan’s Island."
|“My parents thought I had the pizazz to make it in showbiz”|
Putting that tragedy behind me, I continued to perform and got my big break at an audition for Ron Moody's production of "OLIVER!"
Walking into the space at the Ahmanson Theater in Downtown LA, and seeing all the other little boys who loved to sing and dance - I thought I was in Heaven.
Around the same time, I had a Technicolor dream that could have been directed by artist Ed Ruscha: I was at a gas station and the terrifically tall & tan attendant came out sans shirt, and picked me up and held me tight against his chest. This time, I really was in Heaven (at least in my dreams).
Around 13, I was seriously concerned about going to Hell. I had a growing obsession with a clandestine collection of "dirty" Playgirl, spending endless hours fascinated by naked "older" men. Searching for a cure, I decided to get baptized.
I burned my magazines on the backyard Hibachi and listened for hours to 18-year-old Elder Fiddle, a spiritual guide who told me baptism could get me into Heaven. I thought God would take care of the gay, and I could move on.
After Elder Fiddle dunked me, I emerged from the water thinking everything would be different. But when we went back to the changing room together, my spiritual guide was compelled to strip down buck naked and stand in front of me.
At my height, I had never seen anything more beautiful. And I remember thinking, 'Well, THAT didn't work.'
I bided my time until I was 18 and fled to New York City, where I fell in love with a classmate on the dancefloor at Studio 54. We were together for 8 years, but I didn’t come out until my mid-20's. It was then that I moved to the other side of the camera, discovering that I had more talent writing and directing, instead of performing. As we all know, a first love is a mixture of Heaven AND Hell, and I learned a lot about life, myself, and my desires.
I have now been with the man of my dreams for 20 glorious years, and I can say with confidence and a clear conscience: I never knew Heaven could speak.
Jeff Bridges (in "Rancho Deluxe" & "Hearts Of The West")