Ed Begley, Jr.

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For his father, see Ed Begley.
Ed Begley, Jr.
Begley at the 81st Academy Awards in February 2009
Born Edward James Begley, Jr.
(1949-09-16) September 16, 1949 (age 69)
Los Angeles, California
Education Notre Dame High School
Alma mater Los Angeles Valley College
Occupation Actor
Years active 1967–present
Home town Sherman Oaks, California
Spouse(s) Ingrid Taylor (m. 1976-89)
Rachelle Carson (m. 2000)
Children 3
Parent(s) Ed Begley, Sr.
Website edbegley.com

Edward James "Ed" Begley, Jr. (born September 16, 1949) is an American actor and environmentalist. Begley has appeared in hundreds of films, television shows, and stage performances. He is best known for his role as Dr. Victor Ehrlich, on the television series St. Elsewhere, for which he received six consecutive Emmy Award nominations, and his most recent reality show about green living called Living With Ed on Planet Green with his wife.

Early life

Begley was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Allene Jeanne Sanders and Academy Award-winner Ed Begley, both actors. At the time of Ed, Jr.'s birth, his father was married to Amanda Huff, who died when he was seven; he believed Amanda to be his biological mother until he was sixteen, and only later became acquainted with Allene.[1][2] His paternal grandparents were Irish immigrants. Begley grew up in Buffalo, New York, and attended Stella Niagara Education Park Cadet School in Lewiston, New York. In 1962 the family moved back to California, where he graduated from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California, and Los Angeles Valley College in North Hollywood.[3]

Acting career

Begley and Penny Marshall on the red carpet at the 40th Primetime Emmy Awards, August 28, 1988

Begley's numerous works in television and film include one of his earliest appearances as a guest actor on Maude. He had recurring roles on Mary Hartman, 7th Heaven, Arrested Development, Meego and Six Feet Under and starring roles in Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital, St. Elsewhere, and Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central). He has played significant roles in the mockumentary films Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration. Additionally, Begley played Viper pilot Greenbean on the original Battlestar Galactica TV series, Boba Fett in the radio adaptation of Return of the Jedi, and Seth Gillette, a fictional Democratic U.S. senator from North Dakota in the television drama The West Wing. In 1995, he played The Riddler's boss in Batman Forever but is uncredited[citation needed]. Since 2000, he has been a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In 1996, Begley appeared in a TV movie called The Late Shift, where he played real-life CBS executive Rod Perth. Perth himself appears briefly in a cameo role (as a man Howard Stringer mistakes for Perth in the CAA lobby). Begley Jr. and Perth share an extraordinary physical resemblance, something the film makers milk for humor in the scene.

He has guest-starred on shows such as Scrubs, Boston Legal, and Star Trek: Voyager (Future's End, parts I and II). He had a recurring guest role in season three of Veronica Mars. Most recently, he appeared in the 2008 HBO film Recount, which profiled the 2000 Presidential Election and its aftermath, which was decided by the state of Florida's electoral votes. Begley also made an appearance on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Season 3, Episode 3, as a spokesman for Cinco.

In 2003, Begley wrote and directed the musical Cesar and Ruben. It was performed at the El Portal Theatre in Los Angeles and was revived in 2007.

One of Begley's recent acting roles was in the CBS sitcom Gary Unmarried. Begley played Dr. Walter Krandall, the protagonist's former marriage counselor and fiancé of his ex-wife.

Since 2008, he has appeared in a series of DirecTV commercials as a "Cable Corp Inc." executive.[4] In 2013, he appeared on the reality television show Beverly Hills Pawn.

Personal life

Begley has three children, a daughter and son from his first marriage, and a daughter from his current marriage.

According to a feature on the Bio Channel television program Celebrity Close Calls, Begley nearly died in 1972, after being stabbed multiple times while being mugged by a street gang. His attackers were teenagers, who were later apprehended by police.[5]



Since 1970, he has been an environmentalist, beginning with his first electric vehicle (a Taylor-Dunn, golf cart–like vehicle),[6] recycling, and becoming a vegan.[7] He promotes eco-friendly products like the Toyota Prius, Envirolet composting toilets and Begley's Best Household Cleaner.

Begley's home is 1,585 square feet (147.3 m2) in size using solar power and also uses wind power via a PacWind vertical-axis wind turbine, an air conditioning unit made by Greenway Design Group, LLC., and an electricity-generating bicycle used to toast bread, and he pays around $300 a year in electric bills.[8] Arguing that the suburban lawn is environmentally unsustainable, especially in Southern California, owing to water shortage, he has converted his own to a drought-tolerant garden composed of native California plants.[9] Though he is noted for riding bicycles and using public transportation, he owns a 2003 Toyota RAV4 EV electric-powered vehicle.

His hybrid electric bicycle was often featured on his television show Living With Ed. Begley also spoofed his own environmentalist beliefs on "Homer to the Max", an episode of The Simpsons by showing himself using a nonpolluting go-cart that is powered by his "own sense of self-satisfaction" and on an episode of Dharma and Greg. Later, he appeared in "Gone Maggie Gone", another episode of The Simpsons, in Season 20. In the episode, during a solar eclipse, he drives a solar-powered car that stops running on train tracks as a train approaches, but the train also stops because it is an Ed Begley Jr. Solar Powered Train. According to Groening's other comedy series, Futurama, Ed Begley Jr.'s electric motor is "the most evil propulsion system ever conceived" as stated in "The Honking" (19 minutes in).

Begley and friend Bill Nye are in a competition to see who can have the lowest carbon footprint.[10]

Begley also appeared in the Earth Day edition of The Price Is Right. He announced the final showcase, which included an electric bicycle, a solar-powered golf cart and a Toyota Prius.

Begley was featured during The Jay Leno Show's Green Car Challenge. Various celebrities drove an electric Ford Focus automobile and tried to set records on an outdoor track. During the second lap, cutouts of Begley and Al Gore would pop out, and if the celebrity had hit either of them, one second was added to his or her time.

Begley is the author of Living Like Ed: A Guide to the Eco-Friendly Life (2008) and Ed Begley, Jr.'s Guide to Sustainable Living: Learning to Conserve Resources and Manage an Eco-Conscious Life (2009) both published by Random House.[11][12] He also wrote A Vegan Survival Guide for the Holidays (2014) with Jerry James Stone.[13]

Environmental affiliations

From 2007–2010, Begley and his wife Rachelle Carson starred in their own reality television series, Living With Ed on HGTV and Discovery's Planet Green channel.[18] He, his wife and daughter Hayden are currently filming "On Begley Street", a Web series chronicling the deconstruction of his current home and the "building of North America’s greenest, most sustainable home".[19]

He received the Thomas Alva Edison Award for Energy Independence from the American Jewish Congress, the first one to be presented. Begley has been a leader in this field and was recognized in November 2007 for his lifelong work in environmentalism.


Begley was also on the advisory committee for the group 2004 Racism Watch, founded by fellow actor Ed Asner. The group was formed to respond to the advertisement campaign of the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney presidential campaign that they claimed were encouraging racism. The advertisement in question, “100 Days”, made a reference to terrorism and terrorists while highlighting a photograph of an anonymous man of Middle-Eastern descent.[20][21]

Water fluoridation

On April 19, 2013, two public service announcements about the hazards of water fluoridation were released featuring Begley made in conjunction with the Fluoride Action Network.[22][23]

Friendship with Norman Lloyd

Before St. Elsewhere, in the early 1980s, the struggling, unfamiliar Begley Jr. met Norman Lloyd, who became a mentor to him, while Lloyd was directing an episode of Tales of the Unexpected. The two became friends. Begley said he enjoyed working with the man, who in turn, had greater respect for him. In a 2014 interview with Jimmy Falcon of Cloverleaf Radio, he said about working with Lloyd, for all six seasons on St. Elsewhere, and seeing him, once the series came to a close was:

Not only did I enjoy working with him, but I see him, fairly regularly, I just had dinner with him, 4 nights ago. We had dinner together at Sarah Nichols's house, his neighbor of mine and friend of his. We had a lovely time and reminisced – he's unbelievable. He's going to be 100 years old, this year, and still very active, getting around on his own. He's a force of nature, so Norman Lloyd was somebody I idolized. When I was quite young, wow James Dean is great and this is one and that. Now look at Janis Joplin, what a great voice and Jim Morrison, those people left us so young, like my point of view has change somewhere, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, saying, 'No, you idolized Jimmy Stewart, Gloria Swanson.' The people that have families and happiness and a long, economy life. You know, Norman Lloyd, he wasn't much older than me, when I did 'St. Elsewhere,' and I went 'These are my rolemodels, now, people had a long/happy life and continued to be creative.' Those are my rolemodels, not the people that left us, so early and I'm sorry they did, I don't mean to trifle with that, but, my rolemodels changed from the people who had an incredible, brief spurt of creativity and life, but to people that went the distance, they became my rolemodels at some point in my early 30s really.[24]

Also, on November 9, 2014, along with former St. Elsewhere co-stars Howie Mandel, David Morse and Stephen Furst, Begley attended the 100th Birthday of their acting mentor and decades-long friend, Norman Lloyd, in Los Angeles, California. Upon celebrating Lloyd's centenarian birthday, Begley said, "I worked with Norman Lloyd the actor, and Norman Lloyd the director, and no one informed me better on the art of storytelling than that talented man. He is a constant inspiration and my eternal friend."[25]



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  2. Koenenn, Connie (April 14, 1996). "Rooted to the Cause; Ed Begley Jr. shines in a world in which some stars are environmentalists only when the cameras are on. He lives what he preaches".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Hollywood.com, Ed Begley, Jr. at the Wayback Machine (archived March 21, 2008)
  4. Actor and environmental activist Ed Begley Jr. talks the talk and drives the drive, New York Daily News, 13 October 2008.
  5. Celebrity Close Calls, retrieved on 19 June 2011.
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  7. "Ed Begley Jr.: Actor and Environmentalist". VegFamily. Retrieved 2008-08-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 25 April 2008.
  9. Begley, Ed Jr. "Twelve Things the World Should Toss Out: Lawns", Slate, 8 May 2010.
  10. ABC News. "Eco-Friendly Competition: Who Can Go Greener?". ABC News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Living Like Ed: A Guide to the Eco-Friendly Life at RandomHouse.com
  12. Ed Begley, Jr. Author Bookshelf - Random House - Books - Audiobooks - Ebooks. Random House. Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  13. Andrews, Avital (March 2015). "Taste Test: 9 Chefs who are Changing the World". Sierra.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "EMA - EMA". ema-online.org.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Oceana – Protecting the World’s Oceans: International Protection and Restoration
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  17. "GreenWishing". greenwishing.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Living With Ed". HGTV.com. Archived from the original on 2006-12-21. Retrieved 2006-12-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "About". OnBegleyStreet.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "2004 Racism Watch Calls On Bush-Cheney Campaign to Change or Pull Offensive Ad". Common Dreams. Retrieved 2008-10-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. 2004 Racism Watch. Commondreams.org (2004-03-31). Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  22. Ed Begley Jr: Many Studies Link Fluoride to Reduced IQ on YouTube (2013-04-19). Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  23. Ed Begley Jr: Fluoridation is a "Clumsy Form of Medicine" on YouTube (2013-04-19). Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  24. "Cloverleaf Radio Presents: Actor Ed Begley Jr "St. Elsewhere"!". BlogTalkRadio. 17 February 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "Happy 100th to Norman Lloyd: The Ultimate Pro". yesweekly.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links