Ed Begley

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This article is about the mid twentieth century actor. For his son, see Ed Begley, Jr..
Ed Begley, Sr.
Ed Begley 1958.jpg
Begley in 1958
Born Edward James Begley
(1901-03-25)March 25, 1901
Hartford, Connecticut, USA
Died April 28, 1970(1970-04-28) (aged 69)
Hollywood, California, USA
Cause of death
Heart attack
Occupation Film, television, radio actor
Years active 1917–1970
Spouse(s) Amanda Huff (1922-1957)
Dorothy Reeves (1961-1963)
Helen Jordan (1963-1970)
Children Ed Begley, Jr.

Edward James "Ed" Begley, Sr. (March 25, 1901 – April 28, 1970) was an American actor of theatre, radio, film, and television.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Begley was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Hannah (née Clifford) and Michael Joseph Begley, Irish immigrants.[2][3][4] Begley began his career as a Broadway and radio actor while in his teens. He appeared in the hit musical Going Up on Broadway in 1917 and in London the next year. He later acted in roles as Sgt. O'Hara in the radio show The Fat Man. His radio work included a period as Charlie Chan and Stroke of Fate amongst other roles. He also starred in the 1950s radio program Richard Diamond, Private Detective, playing Lieutenant Walter Levinson, head of homicide at the 5th Precinct, Manhattan. In the late 1940s, he began appearing regularly in supporting film roles. Elected a member of The Lambs (www.The-Lambs.org) in 1943.

In the 1952-1953 television season, Begley co-starred with Eddie Albert in the CBS sitcom Leave It to Larry. Begley, though only five years older than Albert, played the father-in-law and employer of Albert's character, Larry Tucker, a shoe salesman, who with his young family lives with Begley. In 1954 Begley starred in the NBC Television show called Big Boy. He starred as Joe Grant, an engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad living in Cheyenne, Wyoming, who worked on the famous Union Pacific Big Boy steam locomotives. The show is about how Begley's character copes with the transition from steam locomotives to diesel locomotives in the 1950s.

Begley (right) with Monte Markham in 1969.

He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Sweet Bird of Youth (1962). Some of his other notable films include 12 Angry Men (1957) as juror #10, The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) and Wild in the Streets (1968). One notable role Begley played both on television (twice in 1955) and in the theatrical film (1956) is William (Bill) Briggs, one of the three primary characters in Rod Serling's Patterns.

His other television work included appearances on Justice, Empire, The Virginian, Bonanza, The Fugitive, Target: The Corruptors, The Invaders, The Wild Wild West, and Going My Way, with Gene Kelly.

Begley married three times. He is the father of the actor and environmental advocate Ed Begley, Jr.

Among his many Broadway credits were All My Sons and Inherit the Wind.

Begley died of a heart attack in Hollywood, California.[5] He is buried at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, California.


Year Film Role Notes
1947 Body and Soul Party leader uncredited
The Web Man uncredited
Boomerang Paul Harris
The Roosevelt Story Narrator Documentary
1948 Sorry, Wrong Number James Cotterell
Deep Waters (film) Josh Hovey
The Street with No Name Chief Bernard Harmatz
Sitting Pretty Horatio J. Hammond
1949 The Great Gatsby Myron Lupus
It Happens Every Spring Edgar Stone
Tulsa John J. 'Johnny' Brady as Edward Begley
1950 Stars in My Crown Lon Backett
Backfire (1950 film) Captain Garcia
Saddle Tramp Mr. Hartnagle
Convicted Mackay, Head of Parole Board
Wyoming Mail Prison Warden Haynes
Dark City Barney
1951 The Lady from Texas Dave Blodgett
You're in the Navy Now Port Commander
1952 The Turning Point Neil Eichelberger
Deadline - U.S.A. Frank Allen
On Dangerous Ground Captain Brawley
Lone Star Anthony Demmet
Boots Malone Howard Whitehead
1954 Big Boy Joe Grant
1956 Patterns William Briggs
1957 12 Angry Men Juror #10
1959 Odds Against Tomorrow Dave Burke
1961 The Green Helmet Bartell
1962 Sweet Bird of Youth Tom 'Boss' Finley Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Laurel Award for Top Male Supporting Performance (3rd place)
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
1964 The Unsinkable Molly Brown Shamus Tobin Laurel Award for Top Male Supporting Performance (2nd place)
1965 Inherit the Wind Brady Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama
1966 The Oscar Grobard
1967 The Violent Enemy Colum O'More
Warning Shot Captain Roy Klodin
Do Not Fold, Staple, Spindle, or Mutilate
Billion Dollar Brain General Midwinter
1968 Firecreek Preacher Broyles
Hang 'Em High Captain Wilson, Cooper Hanging Party
Wild in the Streets Senator Allbright
A Time to Sing Kermit Dodd
1969 The Monitors President
1970 Neither Are We Enemies Annas Hallmark Hall of Fame Easter special
Road to Salina Warren
The Dunwich Horror Dr. Henry Armitage


Date Show Episode Role Notes
1949 Let George Do It The Man Under the Elm Tree Darrell [6]
1951 Tales of the Texas Rangers Blind Justice Unknown [7]
No Living Witnesses
Paid In Full
The Blow Off
1952 Tales of the Texas Rangers Birds Of A Feather
Prelude To Felony


External links[edit]