For all that his children have accomplished, actor Ernie Lively had a pretty impressive career of his own. Over the course of 50 years, Lively earned more than 110 acting credits and raised an entire generation of children who followed in his footsteps. Tragically, Lively passed away of cardiac complications this week at the age of 74.
The Lively family’s impact is undeniable. Among his children are “Teen Witch” star Robyn Lively and, of course, “Gossip Girl” actress Blake Lively. But Ernie was acting long before his kids made it onto the scene. And fans may recognize him from the days before he changed his name.
As Ernie Brown, the talented actor appeared in no less than five different episodes of “The Dukes of Hazzard” from 1979 to 1984. He played a handful of characters, ranging from Dobro Doolan to Clyde the Guard and Longstreet B. Davenport on the classic show.
After “The Dukes of Hazzard,” Ernie landed small parts in feature films and continued making guest appearances on television shows. One of his more memorable appearances came in the 1989 Tom Hanks-led crime comedy “Turner & Hooch.”
Throughout his career, he found success playing small character roles. And he continued acting all the way up to this past year. Some of his most notable roles came in “Mulholland Falls,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” “Seinfeld,” and “The Beverly Hillbillies (1993).”
Ernie Lively’s Life Outside of Acting
Ernest Brown Junior was born in Baltimore in 1947. Hard as it is to believe, considering his decorated acting résumé, Ernie’s first career saw him working as an English professor. But eventually, his life was uprooted by the Vietnam War.
Ernie Brown left for Vietnam as a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He returned a captain. And as that type of experience is wont to do, the war changed his perspective. When he came home, Ernie decided to pursue a career in acting.
On the side, however, he never lost his passion for teaching. It just took a new form. Instead of English, Ernie Lively acted as an acting coach and mentor to handfuls of recognizable names such as Brittany Murphy, Alyson Hannigan, Ian Bohen, and Eric Balfour.
That’s not even including his favorite students – an entire brood of children he raised and mentored to successful acting careers of their own. The Lively kids are easily recognizable these days.
His sons Jason Lively (“National Lampoon’s European Vacation,” “The Possessed”) and Eric Lively (“Modern Men,” “A Madea Christmas”) and daughters Robyn Lively (“Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street,” “Twin Peaks”) and Lori Lively (“ER,” “I Kissed A Vampire) all carry on Ernie’s legacy.
Our condolences to the Lively family for their loss.