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George W. Bush impersonator Steve Bridges dies at 48

Steve Bridges as George W. Bush and Wren T. Brown as Barack ObamaSteve Bridges, 48, a comic actor and impersonator who was best known for his mimicry of President George W. Bush and appeared alongside the chief executive at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Assn. dinner, was found dead Saturday at his home in Los Angeles.

Bridges had recently returned home from China, where he had been performing, said his brother Phillip. He appeared to have died of natural causes. An an autopsy is scheduled, but the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said foul play was not suspected.

Born in Dallas on May 22, 1963, Bridges began doing impersonations as a child, starting with the Three Stooges. “Anything I saw on TV, I imitated,” he told Larry King in a CNN interview in 2006.

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A regular on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” Bridges was invited to the White House to meet President Bush in 2003. According to Bridges, Bush said, “I tell you: You see a videotape where someone looks like you, acts like you, talks like you -- that’s weird.”

Then in 2006 the two appeared side by side at the annual White House Correspondents' Assn. dinner.

“I try to become that person in a funny way,” Bridges told the Washington Post in 2006. “I try to act like him, from the mannerisms to the phraseology.”

He also described undergoing a process lasting more than two hours to have makeup and prosthetics applied to complete the illusion.

Bridges also impersonated President Clinton, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other public figures. Among his appearances as Bush were during singer Barbra Streisand's 2006 tour.

Besides his brother Phillip, Bridges is survived by his parents, Tom and Margaret Bridges; another brother, Jon; and a sister, Elizabeth Bridges, all of Clayton, Calif.

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-- Claire Noland

Photo: Steve Bridges as President George W. Bush and Wren T. Brown as Barack Obama appeared on a 2003 episode of "Whoopi." Credit: Eric Lieborwitz

 
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