The Dude from ‘The Big Lebowski’
The Character: In the Coen Brothers ‘The Big Lebowski,’ Jeff Bridges plays The Dude, a laid-back guy whose love of bowling and smoking weed (and area rugs that really bring the room together) is interrupted when he finds himself mistaken for a millionaire and gets mixed up in a web of crime.
The Inspiration: The Coen brothers based The Dude on Jeff Dowd, an independent film promoter and producer from Los Angeles. Dowd was also a member of the Seattle Seven, the group that was jailed following their violent protest of the Vietnam war. Upon release from prison, a reporter asked Dowd about his future plans, to which he replied that he wanted to “launch a counterculture to oppose short hair.” Dowd, like his fictional counterpart, has a fondness for drinking White Russians and prefers to be called “The Dude.”