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Image: Eddie Murphy
Kevin Winter  /  Getty Images file
Eddie Murphy's "Party All the Time" was a hit in 1985, but he's wisely mainly stuck to acting since then.
By
TODAY contributor
updated 8/15/2011 5:08:20 PM ET 2011-08-15T21:08:20
COMMENTARY

Jeff Bridges has a new album. And no, it’s not what you’re thinking. Remember, this is the man who convincingly and Oscar-winningly played a country musician in “Crazy Heart.”

Video: ‘Little Bit of Love’ for Jeff Bridges (on this page)

More evidence: the self-titled release arrives in stores thanks to respected Blue Note records, it’s produced by the impeccably tasteful T Bone Burnett and features appearances by singer-songwriter credibility machines Roseanne Cash and Sam Phillips. So get those William Shatner thoughts out of your head. Bridges will still probably always be more known for his acting, but this isn’t a joke.

Story: Jeff Bridges is country solid on new album

Of course, the same cannot be said for every actor turned singer (or vice versa). Let's take a look.

Jennifer Lopez
Uses both acting and singing muscles with equal aggression, but chooses fewer hit film roles than hit singles. “Selena,” and her best film, Steven Soderbergh’s “Out of Sight,” are notable exceptions, but have you seen “The Back Up Plan” or “Gigli?”
Stick To: Singing and being a surrogate mama to “American Idol” kids.

Slideshow: Jennifer Lopez's rise to fame (on this page)

Eddie Murphy
At the height of his 1980s powers, he released the Rick James-adjacent jam “Party All The Time” and it moved insane copies in spite of how bad it really was. Since then he’s only had serious opportunity to prove his vocal abilities in the movie “Dreamgirls.”
Stick To: Acting

Gwyneth Paltrow
Like no one else in recent memory, this Oscar winner has managed a complete 180-degree image makeover from humorlessly chilly to loose, funky “Glee” MVP, selling the PG edit of that Cee-Lo song with the unrepeatable name and killing at hilariously impersonating historical figures like Wallis Simpson.
Stick To: Whatever she wants. The woman has a cookbook now, too.

Slideshow: Unforgettable images from 'The Big Lebowski' (on this page)

Kevin Bacon
He’s grown up on screen and we’ve followed every step he’s taken. Except for those side trips to Bacon Brothers-land.
Stick To: Acting. Even when you’re miscast in an “X-Men” movie.

Should Will Smith return to rapping?

Scarlett Johansson
Who could have imagined that the young sex symbol/serious actor possessed a husky alto singing voice this compelling?
Stick To: Acting. But keep on surprising us with music from time to time, OK?

Slideshow: Scarlett Johansson over the years (on this page)

Kevin Costner
Yes, he put out two country CDs. He also sang a duet with Amy Grant over the closing credits of “The Postman.” You don’t want to know about any of this.
Stick To: Acting

theGrio: Athletes who should stay out of rap

Justin Timberlake
He started out as a child variety show performer on “The Mickey Mouse Club” and sidestepped into pop stardom before returning to non-musical, mostly comedic, appearances in movies and TV. But he’s kind of great at both now so it’s not like leaving him off this list was even an option.
Stick To: Everything except a Paltrow-like cookbook.

Slideshow: Justin Timberlake's many roles (on this page)

Jamie Foxx
He’s a comic. He’s an actor. He’s a singer. He’s a talk radio host. He has an Academy Award. He’s had a number one album. You know who else has accomplished that? Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Bing Crosby. And that’s it. And even they never had talk shows. So if you have something to say about this, make sure you mention that fact.
Stick To: Whatever he wants.

Dave White is the movies critic for movies.com.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Photos: Unforgettable images from 'The Big Lebowski'

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  1. White Russians

    One of the most iconic images from "The Big Lebowski" is The Dude's (Jeff Bridges) ever-present White Russian, a mix of vodka, Kahlua and half and half. He's very protective of them ("careful, man, there's a beverage here!") and can be creative about ordering one. ("Another Caucasian, Gary.") (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. The rug

    When mixed-up would-be thugs break into The Dude's home by mistake, one of them urinates on his rug as a show of force. It's ridiculous, yes, but for The Dude, that makes things personal. He ends up getting a replacement rug from the real "Big Lebowski," which is good because as fans know, it really tied the room together. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. The robe

    Let's say The Dude's sense of style is a little laid-back. He's as likely to be seen at the grocery store in slippers and his ever-present robe as he is relaxing in them at home. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Bowling

    When asked what he does for recreation, The Dude tells Maude "Oh, the usual. I bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback." Bowling is a vital part of the Dude's social life, and it's where he and Walter (John Goodman), center, and Donny (Steve Buscemi), right, attempt to get a handle on their oddly complicated lives. Walter, of course, will not roll on Shabbos. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. The marmot/ferret and the Nihilists

    German Nihilists have an odd sense of how to torture someone. In one memorable scene, they drop a live animal into The Dude's bathtub while he's in it. He calls it a marmot, but we're pretty sure it's a ferret. Whatever it is, it doesn't like bathing. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. The toe

    When The Dude doesn't deliver on his promises, The Big Lebowski hands him a gauze-wrapped little toe sent to him by the supposed kidnappers. As we learn in the end, the toe doesn't belong to Bunny Lebowski, but toes in general are a theme of the movie. In one scene, Bunny flirts with The Dude by asking him to blow on her toenail polish, and in another, Walter almost kills a fellow bowler for letting his toe slip over the foul line. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. THE BIG LEBOWSKI
    Everett Collection
    Above: Slideshow (6) Unforgettable images from 'The Big Lebowski'
  2. Premiere Of Lionsgate's "What To Expect When You're Expecting" - Red Carpet
    Kevin Winter / Getty Images
    Slideshow (46) Jennifer Lopez's rise to fame
  3. Image:
    AP
    Slideshow (59) Seeing Scarlett
  4. Image: iTunes Festival 2013 Day 29 - Justin Timberlake
    Christie Goodwin / Getty Images
    Slideshow (43) Justin Timberlake

Video: ‘Little Bit of Love’ for Jeff Bridges

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