Steve Bridges

Impersonator of George W. Bush

Steve Bridges, 48, a comic actor and impersonator who was best known for his mimicry of President George W. Bush and appeared alongside the chief executive at the 2006 White House Correspondents Assn. dinner, was found dead Saturday at his home in Los Angeles.

Bridges had recently returned home from China, where he had been performing, said his brother Phillip. He appeared to have died of natural causes, but an autopsy is scheduled. The Los Angeles County coroner's office said foul play was not suspected.

Born in Dallas on May 22, 1963, Bridges began doing impersonations as a child, starting with the Three Stooges. "Anything I saw on TV, I imitated," he told Larry King in a CNN interview in 2006.

A regular on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," Bridges was invited to the White House to meet President Bush in 2003. According to Bridges, Bush said, "I tell you: You see a videotape where someone looks like you, acts like you, talks like you — that's weird."

Then in 2006 the two performed a comic bit together at the annual White House Correspondents dinner.

"I try to become that person in a funny way," Bridges told the Washington Post in 2006. "I try to act like him, from the mannerisms to the phraseology."

He also described undergoing a process lasting more than two hours to have makeup and prosthetics applied to complete the illusion.

Besides George W. Bush, Bridges also impersonated former President Clinton, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other public figures.

Ronnie Montrose

Guitarist launched Sammy Hagar's career

Ronnie Montrose, 64, a hard rock guitarist who was a session musician for Van Morrison and others before forming the band Montrose and launching Sammy Hagar's singing career, died Saturday at his home in Millbrae, Calif. He had prostate cancer, according to his booking agent, Jim Douglas.

Born in San Francisco on Nov. 29, 1947, Montrose grew up in Denver and taught himself to play guitar as a teenager. He returned to San Francisco in 1968 and began playing professionally.

He was hired to play mostly acoustic guitar on Morrison's albums "Tupelo Honey" (1971) and "St. Dominic's Preview" (1972) and also worked as a sideman for Boz Scaggs, the Pointer Sisters and Herbie Hancock.

With the Edgar Winter Group he played on the 1973 album "They Only Come Out at Night," featuring the singles "Free Ride" and "Frankenstein."

Later that year Montrose formed his band featuring Hagar on lead vocals. The group's debut album yielded hits in "Rock Candy" and "Bad Motor Scooter." Hagar left the group after a second album was released and went on to a successful career as a solo artist and with Van Halen.

The band Montrose broke up in 1976 and the guitarist went on to record albums on his own and with a new band, Gamma.

Carl Q. Christol