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Patricia Hansen cheers as she watches Bridges win best actor during the Academy Awards from her Fargo home Sunday. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

Bridges' Oscar touches Fargo woman, his mother-in-law

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Patricia Hansen's face beamed like that of a proud parent as Jeff Bridges took the prize for best actor at the Oscars on Sunday night.

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"Oh, wonderful. Congratulations, baby!" Hansen, 79, said.

"I feel great. I feel just great," she said.

The south Fargo resident has more than a passing fan interest in Bridges' work. He just happens to be her son-in-law. Bridges married Hansen's daughter, Susan Geston Bridges, in 1974.

Bridges took the honor for the lead role in last year's "Crazy Heart." It was his first Oscar and his fifth nomination.

He looked up to the sky as he accepted the Oscar, acknowledging his famous show-biz parents, Lloyd and Dorothy.

"Thank you, Mom and Dad, for turning me on to such a groovy profession," Bridges said.

"And I especially want to thank my gorgeous wife, Sue," Bridges said near the close of the speech.

Hansen is one mother-in-law who's pretty crazy about her son-in-law.

"I love that man," Hansen said of the 60-year-old actor. She says he calls every year on his wife's birthday to thank her for "giving birth to the love of his life."

Bridges and Geston will celebrate their 33rd anniversary in June. But it wasn't an immediate sell. It would seem Susan wasn't overcome with a case of starry eyes when Bridges, who'd already had an Oscar nomination by that time, asked her out. She turned him down three times.

Hansen actually happened to be around the fourth time Bridges asked her out. Susan asked her mom what she thought. Hansen told her daughter it wasn't like she had to spend the rest of her life with him. Actually, it looks like mom will turn out to be wrong about that.

And, in another odd twist to the story, the first time Bridges asked Geston out, she had two black eyes and a broken nose from being a car accident.

Of course, maybe it's not so surprising that Hansen's daughter would end up married to someone in film. Hansen taught English and film at Minnesota State University Moorhead for 28 years.

Of course, Sunday night's Oscars were anything but academic.

"I think it's wonderful," Hansen said of Bridges' win. "I think it will mean everything to him."

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Pioneer staff reports
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