Lloyd Bridges, the rugged actor whose 50-year career included classics such as High Noon, TV's Sea Hunt and Airplane!, died Tuesday at his Los Angeles home, his agent said. He was 85.

Bridges, who experienced heart trouble in recent years, succumbed to natural causes. No further details were given.

Survivors include wife Dorothy, daughter Cindy, actor sons, Jeff and Beau, and 11 grandchildren.

A remarkably resilient actor, Bridges began his career in the '40s, doing B-grade movies while under contract with Columbia.

It was after leaving Columbia, though, that he blew up. First came his critically hailed turn as a battler of bigotry in Home of the Brave. Later he made his mark as Gary Cooper's traitorous deputy in High Noon.

Bridges' unmistakable screen heroes and villains disappeared in the '50s, however, when he was blacklisted in Hollywood's infamous "Red Purge."

"It was a bad time," he said in a 1971 interview with Associated Press. "I was always against prejudice of any kind, and when I was a member of the Actors' Lab, there was an opportunity to do something as part of a group to stop prejudice and help people."

Ultimately Bridges cleared his name with FBI and congressional committees, then went back to work, landing the lead role as Navy frogman Mike Nelson in the hugely successful syndicated TV show Sea Hunt from 1958-61--a role that inspired many a kid to explore the wonders of the local pool.

Bridges was everywhere in the '60s and '70s, even hosting the Lloyd Bridges Show at one point.

Still, for many of us, it was Bridges' self-parodying role in 1980's Airplane! that showed his true range. Bridges played a grizzled aircraft controller, called in when the situation got really hairy, who picked the wrong week to lay off the cigarettes...and the booze...and the pills...and the glue....

One of his final performances came as a hard-driving fitness trainer in Seinfeld last fall.

In the past year, Bridges also completed work on two films, Jane Austen's Mafia and Meeting Daddy--the latter with son Beau.

All told, Bridges starred in some 150 films during his standout career.

Bridges also actively promoted environmental causes, contributing to organizations such as the American Oceans Campaign and the Los Angeles-based Heal the Bay.

Flowers were placed on his Hollywood Walk of Fame star Tuesday night.

(UPDATED 6:35 p.m. PT)

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