Jimmy Bridges has invested over 35 years of his life thus far into the entertainment industry. His vast experience ranges from acting as a kid in a commercial to directing full-length feature films. At the age of 12, Jimmy, his sister Verda, and his younger brother Todd auditioned for a Bumble Bee Tuna commercial. Jimmy got the job, and has been working as an actor, writer, director and producer ever since. In high school, Jimmy landed roles on Jimmy at 16, Good Times and What’s Happen’n. He also did multiple commercials and quickly became a wanted young black actor around town. However, in 1978, Jimmy decided to take a hiatus from acting and attend college to play football and earn a degree in telecommunications.
After college Jimmy had a couple of pro football try-outs; when they didn’t pan out, Jimmy returned to the family business of acting. In no time, Jimmy was back in the mix, doing shows like Fame, Knight Rider, Hardcastle & McCormick and Falcon Crest. He also performed in his first feature film, Saigon Commandos, where he traveled to the Philippines to portray the role of PFC Will Thomas. While in the Philippines, Jimmy was offered a role in another movie, and stayed in the Philippines for another eight weeks. Upon returning to the states his success continued. Over the years Jimmy worked on several films including HBO’s Tyson as Carl King, One False Move as Bobby Post (opposite Billy Bob Thornton) and as Detective Logan in Tough Cop.
By 2000, Jimmy sought to further his skills and passion in the business. He attended a film director’s course and decided with his brother Todd that it was time to open their own entertainment company. Todd approached Matthew Crouch of Trinity Broadcasting Network and pitched an idea about a short film regarding Todd’s spiritual journey and life; the pitched idea would be called “Building Bridges”. “Building Bridges” was the first of many films to come written and directed by The Bridges Brothers. This film created such a buzz that it attracted writer Lisa Wu (Atlanta Housewives), who hired the Bridges Brothers to direct and produce her full length feature film entitled “Black Ball”. Recently the film pre-sold foreign for a half million dollars. “Black Ball” lead to another project titled “Flossin”, also directed by Jimmy and Todd. The film starred Jonelle Allen (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Women), Reaven Kelly (A Time To Kill), and Tyrone Burton (The Parent Hood) to name a few. Jimmy worked with Tyrone Burton again in another Bridges Brothers creation, “Foster Babies”. Most recently, this dynamic brother duo produced the films “Big Ball’n” and “Frankie D”. Among his many accomplishments in life, Jimmy is a proud and loving husband and father with five beautiful, healthy children. Jimmy has a solid foothold in the business and a true passion for the industry. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone more qualified to act, direct, write or produce a project.
Todd Bridges, who is now 51 years old, has seen and done it all. He has lived and worked among some of the most famous and influential people in the world. For twenty-five years, he has victoriously survived a rapidly changing business.
Todd’s career began and rocketed when he was only six years of age, forcing his family to relocate from a quiet, friendly neighborhood in San Francisco to the fast-paced stardom of Los Angeles, California in the early 70’s.
His mother, actress Betty Bridges and father, the late James Bridges, Sr., came to Hollywood in search of the American dream. Betty went on to work quite a bit as an actress while James Sr. became one of the first prominent black Hollywood agents. Betty later became one of Hollywood’s greatest managers and acting coaches, whose list of clients (soon to become stars) included her oldest child, James Jr., her daughter Verda, Todd (of course), Nia Long (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Love Jones) Regina King (Jerry McGuire), Lamont Bentley (Moesha), and Aaron Meeks (Soul Food, the series).
It all began one day while watching Redd Foxx display his comic genius on Sanford and Son. Todd, then six, realized his dream of becoming an actor. He exclaimed excitedly to his mother, “I want to do that,” pointing to the television set. He had asked on his own to enter a business which, during that time, was very limited for black artists.
Nevertheless, Todd went on to make some remarkable strides in the industry, pioneering the way for other young, black actors. His first job was a Jell-O commercial, which starred the entire Bridges family. He later accomplished over 60 national commercials.
Todd was the first black child actor to become a reoccurring regular on the hit series, The Waltons and Little House On The Prairie with the late great Michael Landon. He went on to guest star on Barney Miller, which eventually gained a spin-off show starring Abe Vegoda. The spin-off was titled Fish and Todd became a series regular for four years.
Norman Lear, who spearheaded the success of Tandem Productions, with such shows under his belt as The Jeffersons, Good Times, All In The Family, and Facts of Life, sought to create a new type of show that would cross the racial boundaries set in Hollywood in the early years of television. He began with the new kid in town, Gary Coleman, and a
TV veteran, Conrad Bain from the hit show Maude. The wheels were spinning and Diff’rent Strokes was born. The show originated with a wealthy white businessman who would adopt his housekeeper’s black child after she passed away. There was only one problem. Who would the creators find to match wits with the sassy Gary Coleman? Conrad Bain then suggested the creation of an older brother character to keep up with “Arnold’s” wisecracks, a strong young actor capable of bouncing the ball back in his court. No one portrayed such qualities as Todd Bridges.
Diff’rent Strokes was introduced to American audience in the fall of 1977. With the new concept of a racially mixed cast, the producers and creators were unsure how the viewers would react. To their surprise, the show was a complete success and ran strong for eight years.
Todd Bridges became an international celebrity and household name by the age of 15. During his success with Diff’rent Strokes, Todd guest starred on such shows as The Love Boat, Facts of Life, Hello Larry, Battle of the Network Stars, Circus of the Stars and many, many more. An even bigger opportunity came when he was chosen to portray the role of Chicken George’s grandson in the historical television miniseries Roots, where his performance is still applauded until this day.
After Diff’rent Strokes ended its long run in 1986, things became difficult for Todd. All of a sudden, no one would hire him due to his being typecast as “Willis Drummond”. He began to experience turbulent times, which would later lead to drug addiction and trouble with the authorities. There would be a pause in his career and his life for nearly 6 years.
Nevertheless, “…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. God has delivered Todd from the bondage of drugs and the pain and burden of past miseries.
Todd Bridges, now 51, has been drug free for 24 years! He is a working actor, director, and producer . Together, Todd and his brother James Jr., have partnered to establish their own production company, DVFILM WORKS His recent film credits (as an actor) include Dead Rail with Lou Diamond Phillips, Jane Doe with Lea Thompson, frequent appearances on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show, 1210 Camille Street with Faizon Love (Friday, The Replacements), Hollywood Horror with Tia and Tamara Mowry (Sister Sister) and A Testimony . He also recently completed a feature film in Utah called The Climb for Billy Graham’s production company. He directed, produced and starred in the short film about his life, Building Bridges for TBN. He also directed, along with his brother, a full-length feature film titled Full Circle starring Lisa Wu Sweat (wife of R&B singer Keith Sweat), Stoney Jackson, Deaundre Bonds, his wife, Dori Bridges and a host of other great names. His directorial credits also include the feature film, Flossin, the life story of his pastor and childhood friend, Pastor Ernest Johns Todd has two kids his son is 18 his daughter 20. He has traveled the nation speaking to over 6,000 kids per day in high schools, middle schools, and churches warning the dangers of drug use, negative peer pressure.