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60 Seconds With Actor and Environmentalist Ed Begley Jr.

Exclusive interview by Karen Beishuizen

Photo credit for portrait shot in the red shirt: Russell Baer

TV audience will know Ed as Dr. Victor Ehrlich in the hospital series St. Elsewhere. He has a recurring role as Dr. Linkletter in Young Sheldon. Since 1970 he has been an environmentalist starting with his first electric vehicle and becoming a vegan. He has his own environmental friendly product line called Begley’s Earth Responsible Products. He lives with his wife in Lons Angeles.

KB: We all know you best as Dr. Victor Ehrlich in St. Elsewhere : How did you get this role and what did you like about Victor Ehrlich?

I went in to audition for Dr. Peter White which was a regular on the show. I did not get the part. They liked the way I read but threw me a bone and gave me a very small part named Dr. Victor Ehrlich which had only two lines in the pilot and was not a regular character. They saw something in Dr. Ehrlich especially with the relationship with Dr. Mark Craig played by William Daniels and they started to write for Ehrlich more than any other character. The part of Dr. Peter White ended after three seasons when he was shot and killed. What I have gotten in life has always been better than what I wanted. I liked that Victor had a lot of funny scenes but also some very touching and serious moments as well as the fact that he struggled to be a better doctor.

KB: You are a recurring guest in the mockumentaries of Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy : What do you like about these and is there something new coming? Last one was in 2020?

Sadly, Chris does not have any new projects in the pipeline. I always love getting the call from Chris to do another project because he does all the heavy lifting by writing the treatment. We just come in and have an improv party after he has done all the work.

KB: You are a climate and environmental activist : You drive electric, your house has solar panels. How would you persuade people to do the same?

I recommend that people do it exactly the way I did it back in 1970. I was a broke and struggling actor and hadn’t a lot of resources for expensive items so I did what I could on a modest budget. Today there is so much that you can do that is quite affordable and will save you money in the first month or two. Some of these are energy saving thermostats, weather stripping, energy efficient light bulbs, recycling, bike riding when weather and fitness permit, public transportation if it is available, home gardening, home composting and so many more. All these things are quite inexpensive and will save you money very quickly.

KB: Can you tell me a bit more about your Begley’s Earth Responsible Products which are environmental friendly ? Where can people buy these products?

Begley’s Earth Responsible Products are third party certified non-toxic products but they also clean incredibly well. They work every bit as good as the harsh cleansers but without harming the environment. Currently we make a Waterless Pet Shampoo, Pet Stain and Odor Remover, Yoga Mat Cleaner, Hardwood Floor Cleaner, Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner, Household Stain and Odor Remover and a Wrinkle Release.

KB: I love your product that cleans a dog’s coat. I have a dog myself. How did you come up with this idea?

I have had pets for years and I wanted them to only be in contact with non-toxic cleaners. They are constantly down on the floor licking their paws and if you use toxic products they can get your animal friends very sick. Our products are safe for pets, babies, adults and everyone. You can buy them at Walmart and Amazon.

KB: Are there any a movie or current actors/actresses/directors you would like to do a tv show with?

I have worked with some of the best people in tv, stage and film for five and a half decades. I don’t want to be greedy so I really can’t say who else I want to work with. There are too many. I am certain that I will work with many talented people in my productive years that remain.

KB: What have you been doing and how did you spend your time for the last 2 years when the world was in lock down due to the pandemic?

During Covid lockdown we had a very comfortable situation at my home in Studio City, California. We have a productive vegetable garden, hot water from the sun, 10,000 gallons of stored rainwater and 9 kilowatts of solar. We were very lucky to be able to stay home and stay safe. Not everyone had that good fortune so we tried to help in any way we could.

Check out Ed’s website: HERE