Jeff Bridges didn't think he'd get back to work amid health woes

Jeff Bridges "didn't think he would be able" to return to work amid his cancer battle.

The 74-year-old actor came close to death in 2021 when he contracted COVID-19 while having treatment for non-Hogkin lymphoma and while he had reservations about resuming filming on 'The Old Man', he soon found it wasn't "particularly difficult.

He told People magazine: "I mean, I didn't think I was ... I thought, 'I'm not going to come back. I won't be able to come back.'

"As far as being back into the show again, everybody was so considerate about my condition.

"But I don't remember that as being particularly difficult. Even the fight scenes after I came back, I can't remember being upset about that."

However, his co-star John Lithgow recalled how "everyone" on set was looking out for Jeff, but his relaxed manner put them all at ease.

He said: "Everybody was watching Jeff. I mean, he needed oxygen occasionally.

"Early days, we really had to watch him.

"[But] he was so relaxed about it. He put everybody else at ease. Everyone at first was so watchful and nervous, and just put everyone at ease."

The 'Big Lebowski' actor was thankful for the support.

He said: "You just do your best and that's all you can do. It's something so great, actors working with actors, being a fraternity, a sorority ... You're looking out for each other."

Jeff previously likened his near-death experience to "a bizarre dream".

He told People magazine in 2022: "I was pretty close to dying.

"The doctors kept telling me, 'Jeff, you've got to fight. You're not fighting.' I was in surrender mode. I was ready to go. I was dancing with my mortality."

The 'Crazy Heart' actor admitted that his chemotherapy treatment made him particularly vulnerable to COVID.

He shared: "I had no defences. That's what chemo does - it strips you of all your immune system. I had nothing to fight it. COVID made my cancer look like nothing."