Actor Ed Begley, Jr., the son of the late Oscar winning actor Ed Begley, is often associated as Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the hit television series “St. Elsewhere” (NBC, 1982-1987), for which he was nominated for Emmy Awards six times and a Golden Globe Award once. A standup comedian and assistant cameraman prior to pursuing acting full time, Begley Jr. first appeared in front of the television camera in 1967 with a guest spot in the CBS sitcom “My Three Sons.” He began receiving notice with his role of Flight Sergeant Greenbean on “Battlestar Galactica” (6 episodes, 1978-1979) and has played regular roles in “Roll Out” (CBS, 1973-1974), “Parenthood” (1990-1991), “Winnetka Road” (1994), “Meego” (1997), “My Adventures in Television” (2002) and “Gary Unmarried” (2008-2009). He also had recurring roles in “7th Heaven” (1999-2003), “Providence” (2000), “Six Feet Under” (2001-2005), “Jack & Bobby” (2004-2005), “Arrested Development” (2005-2006), “Veronica Mars” (2006-2007) and “Boston Legal” (2006-2007). His one episode appearances include appearing in “Monk,” “Hannah Montana” and “Scrubs,” to name a few. He also costarred with his wife Rachelle Carson on the reality TV show “Living with Ed” (2007-2008).
On the big screen, Begley, Jr. won a Florida Film Critics Circle Award and a Phoenix Film Critics Society nomination for his performance in Christopher Guest's “A Mighty Wind” (2003). He also collaborated with Guest in “Best in Show” (2000) and “For Your Consideration” (2006). Other films in which Begley Jr. has acted in include “The Lottery” (1969), “This Is Spinal Tap” (1984), “Transylvania 6-5000” (1985), “The Accidental Tourist” (1988), “Auto Focus” (2002), “Pineapple Express” (2008) and “Whatever Works” (2009).
An environmental activist, Begley, Jr. was named to the Environmental Affairs Commission in 1993 and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy in 1994. He left his job as the Los Angeles Environmental Commissioner after realizing that he was ruining trees by all the paper the office was using. He also produces and sells an all-natural household cleaning product called “Begley's Best.” His house is solar powered and he primarily relies on public transportation and his bike to travel. Begley Jr. has supported many environmental organizations, including the Environmental Media Association, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, League of Conservation Voters, the Environmental Research Foundation, Earth Communications Office, Friends of the Earth, and Green Wish Inc.
Begley Jr. is the father of three. He has two children (a son and a daughter) with his former wife Ingrid Taylor and one daughter with his current wife, actress Rachelle Carson.
Son of Actors
Childhood and Family:
Edward James Begley Jr., who would later be popular as Ed Begley Jr., was born on September 16, 1949, in Los Angeles, California, to actor Ed Begley (born in 1901; died in 1970), who won an Academy Award for his supporting role in “Sweet Bird of Youth” (1962), and actress Allene Jeanne Sanders. He was raised in Merrick, Long Island, New York, and attended Stella Niagara Education Park Cadet School in Lewiston, New York. When he was 13, his family moved back to California, where he graduated from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks and Los Angeles Valley College in North Hollywood.
On October 31, 1976, Ed married Ingrid Taylor. They welcomed a daughter named Amanda Begley on October 3, 1977, and a son named Nicholas Taylor Begley on January 4, 1979. The couple divorced in October 1989. Ed married his second wife, actress Rachelle Carson, on August 23, 2000, in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is 11 years his junior. The pair's first child, daughter Hayden Carson, was born in 2000.
Living with Ed
Ed Begley Jr. launched his acting career at age 18 when he landed a spot on the CBS sitcom “My Three Sons” (1967). He made his feature debut in “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes,” a 1969 family comedy directed by Robert Butler that starred Kurt Russell and Cesar Romero. Also that year, he portrayed Jack Watson in the short film adaptation of Shirley Jackson's “The Lottery” and began a series of guest appearances on James L. Brooks' “Room 222,” where he played different characters in 6 episodes until 1972. Other television series he appeared in during the early 1970s included “The Immortal,” “Adam-12,” “The F.B.I.,” “Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law,” “Nanny and the Professor,” “Maude,” “Ironside,” “Wait Till Your Father Gets Home,” “Love, American Style,” “Happy Days” and “Baretta.” He also spent part of the 1970s working as a camera assistant for television commercials and B-movie productions and as a standup comedian in the Los Angeles area. He and Michael Richards were a comedy team in the 1960s.
After appearing in two unsold TV series pilots, Begley Jr. made his television movie debut with the ABC drama “Family Flight” (1972) and debuted as a series regular with the short lived series “Roll Out” (CBS, 1973-1974), in which he played Lt. Robert W. Chapman. He was also cast in such movies as “Now You See Him, Now You Don't” (1972), “Charley and the Angel” (1973, starred Fred MacMurray and Harry Morgan), “The Golden Evenings of Summer,” “Showdown” (1973), Disney's live-action “Superdad” (1973, starred Bob Crane, Kurt Russell, Barbara Rush, Kathleen Cody and Joe Flynn) and Monte Hellman's “Cockfighter” (1974, with Warren Oates, Harry Dean Stanton and Richard B. Shull). Ed remained busy throughout the reminder of the 1970s with recurring roles in the series “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” (5 episodes, 1976), “The New Adventures of Wonder Woman” (2 episodes, 1978) and “Laverne & Shirley” (2 episodes, 1979). He also guest starred in “Starsky and Hutch,” “The Concorde,” “M*A*S*H” and “Charlie's Angels” and acted in the TV films “Dead of Night” (1977), “Mixed Nuts” (1977), “Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill” (1979), “Elvis” (1979), “Hot Rod” (1979) and “A Shining Season” (1979). Notably, it was his portrayal of pilot Greenbean on the original “Battlestar Galactica” TV series (6 episodes, 1978-1979) that put him in the spotlight. The actor also worked in several movies, including “Lust of a Eunuch” (1977), “Handle with Care” (1977), “The One and Only” (1978), “Blue Collar” (1978), “Record City” (1978), “Goin' South” (1978), “Hardcore” (1979) and “The In-Laws” (1979).
In the early 1980s, Begley Jr. landed guest spots in “Barnaby Jones,” “Quincy M.E.,” “Fantasy Island,” “Riker,” “Voyagers,” “Insight” and “The New Leave It to Beaver,” among other shows, before eventually gaining a huge break with the popular NBC medical series “St. Elsewhere” (1982-1988), created by Joshua Brand and John Falsey. Costarring with Ed Flanders, William Daniels, David Birney, Denzel Washington, Mark Harmon, David Morse, Howie Mandel and Norman Lloyd, Ed enjoyed critical praise with his good portrayal of neurotic, gifted surgeon Dr. Victor Ehrlich and was handed six consecutive Emmy nominations in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (1983-1988) and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV for his efforts. While on the series “St. Elsewhere,” Begley Jr. portrayed Jack Travis in “Private Lessons” (1981), Amos Tucker in “Tales of the Apple Dumpling Gang” (1982, TV), Joe Creigh in “Cat People” (1982), Lyle August in “Young Doctors in Love” (1982), Colin Beverly in “Get Crazy” (1983), Matt Randolph in “An Uncommon Love” (1983, TV), John 'Stumpy' Pepys in “This Is Spinal Tap” (1984), Hassler in “Protocol” (1984), Gil Turner in “Transylvania 6-5000” (1985), Jake Foreman in “Celebration Family” (1987, TV), Paul Sutton in “The Incredible Ida Early” (1987) and Leonard Lupo in “Roman Holiday” (1987). After the show's demise, he delivered notable performances in the TV film “The Absent-Minded Professor” (1988) and Lawrence Kasdan’s “The Accidental Tourist” (1988). He then costarred with Jacqueline Bisset, Ray Sharkey, Mary Woronov, Robert Beltran, Wallace Shawn and Arnetia Walker in Paul Bartel's comedy “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills” (1989) and was cast as Roseanne Barr's lost husband, Bob Pattchet, in “She-Devil” (1989), a film adaptation of Fay Welson's novel “The Life and Loves of a She-Devil,” helmed by Susan Seidelman. The latter film also starred Meryl Streep.
Begley Jr. returned to series television with the NBC sitcom “Parenthood” (1990), which was based on the 1989 film of the same name and directed by Ron Howard. The show aired from August 1990 to August 1991. In the series, Begley Jr. played Gil Buckman, a role portrayed by Steve Martin in the film. He also worked with Stockard Channing in “Meet the Applegates” (1990), a comedy film directed and co-written by Michael Lehmann, starred as Stephen Bradley in the television film “Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less” (1990), supported Joanna Kerns in the NBC drama “The Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake” (1990), played the husband of Meg Tilly in CBS' “In the Best Interest of the Child” (1990), teamed up with Betty White and Leslie Nielsen in NBC's “Chance of a Lifetime” (1991) and had a supporting role in the NBC family film “The Story Lady” (1991), starring Jessica Tandy. In 1992, he provided the voice of Germs in “Batman: The Animated Series” and appeared in several movies and television films, such as “Cruise Control,” “In the Line of Duty: Siege at Marion,” “Dark Horse,” “Running Mates,” “Exclusive” and “Mastergate.”
Begley Jr. next portrayed Principal Alexander in an episode of “Roseanne” called “Crime and Punishment” (1993) and Judd Campbell in the episode “Death of Some Salesmen” (1993) of “Tales from the Crypt.” He then hosted the TV show “Today's Environment” (1993) before landing a regular role on the brief lived NBC primetime soap “Winnetka Road” (1994), opposite Meg Tilly, Harley Venton, Paige Turco and Sandy McPeek. He was cast as Jack Martin in Penny Marshall's “Renaissance Man” (1994), opposite Danny DeVito, Gregory Hines and James Remar, and costarred with Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins and John Lithgow in the TV film “World War II: When Lions Roared” (NBC, 1994).
In 1995, Begley Jr. received a costarring role in the off-Broadway production of David Mamet's “The Cryptogram” and played the unaccredited part of Fred Stickley in Joel Schumacher's commercially successful “Batman Forever,” which starred Val Kilmer as Batman. The rest of the decade saw roles in the films “For Goodness Sake II” (1996), “Santa with Muscles” (1996), “The Lay of the Land” (1997), “Ms. Bear” (1997), “Joey” (1997) and “I'm Losing You” (1998). He also appeared in a number of TV movies as well, among them “Project: ALF” (1996), “Not in This Town” (1997, starred Kathy Baker and Adam Arkin), “Alone” (1997) and “Murder She Purred: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery” (1998). Begley Jr. scored his next regular role in the CBS sitcom “Meego” (1997), where he played Dr. Edward Parker opposite Bronson Pinchot as Meego. He also had a recurring role in “Star Trek: Voyager” (2 episodes, 1996) and one episode stints on the hit shows “Touched by an Angel,” “3rd Rock from the Sun,” “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “The Nanny” and “The Practice.” He resurfaced as Dr. Hank Hastings on the family drama “7th Heaven” from 1999 to 2003 (16 episodes).
Entering the new millennium, Begley Jr. reprised his role of Dr. Victor Ehrlich from “St. Elsewhere” on “Homicide: The Movie” (NBC), voiced Dr. Peter Corso in an episode of “Batman Beyond,” played the recurring role of Chuck Chance on the NBC drama “Providence” and was featured as a hotel manager in Christopher Guest's comedy film “Best in Show” (all 2000). He went on to appear in episodes of “The West Wing,” “Gideon's Crossing,” “Titus,” “Family Law” (all 2001), “The Agency” (2 episodes, 2001-2002) and “Scrubs” (2002) and played the role of Hiram Gunderson in six episodes of HBO's “Six Feet Under” (2001), a role he would reprise in two episodes in 2005. In January 2002, he joined the cast of the short lived ABC comedy series “My Adventures in Television” in the role of Paul Weffler. Begley Jr. also worked in a number of films during 2001 to 2003, including the Kirsten Dunst and Ben Foster vehicle “Get Over It” (2001), director Paul Schrader's “Auto Focus” (2002), where he played Mel Rosen, and “A Mighty Wind” (2003), a reunion with Christopher Guest. He jointly received a Florida Film Critics Circle award for Best Ensemble Cast and a Phoenix Film Critics Society nomination for the same category for his efforts in “A Mighty Wind.”
In 2004, Begley Jr. was cast as hospital administrator Dr. Jesse James in “Kingdom Hospital,” an ABC 13 episode miniseries adapted from Lars von Trier's “The Kingdom.” Costars of the show included Andrew McCarthy, Bruce Davison, Jack Coleman, Diane Ladd and Jodelle Micah Ferland. The same year, he costarred in the TV film “Life on Liberty Street” (as Richard Spencer), voiced Rev. Sidney Cheddar in the animated movie “Hair High” (directed and written by Bill Plympton) and played the voice role of Dr. Donald Todd in two episodes of “Static Shock.” In addition, he portrayed Father Concoff in “Stateside,” a romance written and directed by Reverge Anselmo, Dr. Curly Weeks in “Raising Genius,” opposite Justin Long and Wendie Malick, and Detective Tom Burroughs in the short film “The First Person.”
Ed next played Reverend Belknap in five episodes of The WB drama “Jack & Bobby” (2004 to 2005), Stan Sitwell in five episodes of FOX's “Arrested Development” (2005 to 2006) and Clifford Cabot in three episodes of “Boston Legal” (2006 to 2007). He also portrayed Cyrus O'Dell in six episodes of UPN's “Veronica Mars” from October 2006 to February 2007 and guest starred in “Center of the Universe” (2005), “Las Vegas” (2006) and “Three Moons Over Milford” (2006). He also appeared in the films “True” (2005, TV), “Alone in a Crowd” (2005), “Desolation Sound” (2005), “Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story” (2005, TV), “Relative Strangers” (2006) and “The Elder Son” (2006). In Christopher Guest's “For Your Consideration” (2006), he costarred as Sandy Lane.
In 2007, Begley Jr. headlined the reality television series “Living with Ed” with his wife Rachelle Carson. The show was broadcasted for three seasons on the Home & Garden Television channel and Discovery's Planet Green channel. Still in 2007, he also portrayed Scott O'Shay in two episodes of “CSI: Miami” and acted with his wife in the movie “One Long Night.” He remained busy with roles in the films “Reaper,” “Next of Kin,” “Fatal Secrets,” “Fly Me to the Moon 3D” (as the voice of Poopchev), “Recount” (HBO), “Pineapple Express” and an episode of “King of the Hill” (voiced Stephens Davies). He next landed the supporting role of Dr. Walter Krandal in the CBS series “Gary Unmarried,” starring Jay Mohr as Gary Brooks. In 2009, he made guest appearances in “Hannah Montana,” “Party Down,” “Easy to Assemble,” “Monk” and “The Suite Life on Deck” and costarred in such movies as Woody Allen's “Whatever Works,” “He's Such a Girl” (opposite wife Carson), Marcus Nash's “Tripping Forward” and Chris McIntyre's “21 and a Wake-Up.”
Recently, in 2010, Begley Jr. played Pastor Ed in the episode “Sweet Charity” of “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and costarred in the comedy “The Penthouse” for director Chris Levitus. He will portray Simmons in “Making Change” (2010), a drama from director and writer Wesley Wittkamper, and lend his voice to the animated film “Sammy's Adventures: The Secret Passage” (2010).
Florida Film Critics Circle (FFCC): Best Ensemble Cast, “A Mighty Wind,” 2004