Impressionist Steve Bridges dies at 48

Best known for his take on George W. Bush

Comic impressionist Steve Bridges, best known for impersonating former President George W. Bush, has died at home in Los Angeles. He was 48.

Bridges was found unresponsive by a housekeeper on Saturday morning. It appeared that he died of natural causes, but an autopsy will be conducted, said Craig Harvey, chief of operations for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

The coroner’s office says Bridges had no recent medical complaints, and a statement on Bridges’ website says his death came as a shock, though manager Randy Nolen said Bridges returned from China on Feb. 23 and complained to friends of “super jet lag.”

Bridges’ George W. Bush impression made him a regular on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and earned him an invitation to the White House in 2003.

In 2006 Bridges joined Bush in a comic routine at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Assn. dinner in Washington, D.C., and at a Ford’s Theater benefit.

Nolen said Bush called Bridges’ brother, Phillip, on Monday and offered condolences.

“Steve was not only a funny man, but a kind and decent human being. My heartfelt sympathies go out to his parents, his siblings, and his entire family,” Bush told the Associated Press through spokesman Freddy Ford.

Bridges became Barack Obama, Bill Clinton or Bush for his most popular shows.

The makeup and prosthetics used for Bush and Clinton were designed by Kevin Haney, who won an Academy Award for aging Dan Aykroyd in “Driving Miss Daisy.” Obama was done by Kazu Tsuji, who designed Jim Carrey’s Grinch in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

Mari Enyart was Bridges’ makeup artist.

It took nearly four hours to apply the Obama makeup and nearly three hours to do Bush and Clinton. Close attention was paid to age marks and freckles on his hands because they were so visible, especially if a skit was being filmed.

Bridges had been scheduled to do three free shows on March 13, 14 and 15 for the Indian Wells Rotary Club to help raise money for students who wanted to go to college.

Sometimes, Bridges would do shows without makeup that were titled “Steve As Steve” and showcased his 200 voices — from Bill O’Reilly to Rush Limbaugh to Tom Brokaw and all the presidents from Kennedy to Obama, Nolen said.

Bridges is survived by his parents, two brothers and a sister.

A service will likely be held in the next few days near the family’s Northern California home, with a memorial service to follow in Los Angeles.

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