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Ed Begley Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Begley, Ed,1901-1970.
Title: Ed Begley Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1943-1965
Quantity: 6.5 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the American character actor of stage, screen, radio and television. Files, letters, photographs, telegrams, news clippings, scripts for radio, film, television and theatre. Of particular interest are the scripts, which document more than twenty years (roughly the mid-1940s through the mid-1960s) of drama in four different media, and the news clippings which describe the career of the American actor through these years.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Actor Ed Begley (1901-1970) was an American actor who performed on stage, screen, radio, and television. Born in Hartford, Connecticut on March 25, 1901, he attended St. Patrick's school in Hartford from 1907 to 1915. He made his stage debut at the age of nine at the Globe Theatre in Hartford in an amateur show. He has had roles in numerous well-known plays, including Joe Keller in All My Sons, Dad in All Summer Long, Matthew Harrison Brady in Inherit the Wind, W.O. Gant in Look Homeward, Angel, and Orrin Knox in Advise and Consent.

Begley's television and radio career includes over 1000 radio broadcasts and many guest spots on such television programs as Ben Casey, Route 66, Dr. Kildare, Burke's Law, and The Virginian.

His screen appearances include The Great Gatsby, Stars in My Crown, Twelve Angry Men, Sweet Bird of Youth, Odds Against Tomorrow, Sitting Pretty, and The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

Begley's performance as Matthew Harrison Brady in Inherit the Wind won him the Donaldson Award in 1955, and in 1962 he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Sweet Bird of Youth. Begley was married three times; his son Ed Begley, Jr. is an actor and environmental advocate. He was a member of the Actor's Equity Association, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Screen Actors Guild, as well as two theatrical social clubs, The Lambs and The Masquers.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Ed Begley Papers consist of two accessions which have not been integrated.

1964 accession

The 1964 accession consists of correspondence, scripts, and memorabilia.

Correspondence consists of seven letters. Scripts, by far the bulk of this accession, consist of movie (including Cain's Hundred, Deadline USA, Stars in My Crown, and The Unsinkable Molly Brown), television (Dr. Kildare, The Virginian, and others), and radio shows (Fibber McGee and Molly, Hallmark Playhouse, and more. Memorabilia contains photographs, clippings, and a copy of MAD magazine with a parody of Begley.

1966 accession

The 1966 accession consists of general files, published material, scripts, and miscellaneous material.

General files include art work, financial accounts, legal contracts, reviews of various productions, photographs, playbills, and telegrams. Published material contains magazine issues and news clippings relating to Begley's performances. Scripts encompasses television, radio, theatre, and film; notable scripts include the stage version of Inherit the Wind and the movie version of Twelve Angry Men. Miscellaneous material contains programs, awards, news clippings, drawings, and theatre posters.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The 1964 and 1966 accessions have not been integrated. All material is in alphabetical order; scripts are subdivided by type and then alphbetical by title.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

The library holds videotapes of several of Begley's performances. Please refer to the Classic Catalog for a complete listing and locations of this material.

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Subject Headings


Begley, Ed, 1901-1970 -- Archives.


Actors -- United States.
Motion picture actors and actresses.
Motion picture plays.
Radio actors and actresses
Radio scripts.
Television actors and actresses.
Television scripts.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Programs (documents)
Scripts (documents)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Ed Begley Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Ed Begley, 1964.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: --
Date: Aug 1967
Revision history: Aug 1978 - additions (JMB); 15 Oct 2008 - converted to EAD (MRC)

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Correspondence (1964)
Box 1 6 incoming letters, 1 outgoing letter in verse
Scripts (1964)
Movie scripts
Box 1 Cain's Hundred - mimeograph copy
Box 1 Dark City - mimeograph copy
Deadline USA
Box 1 Script - mimeograph copy
Box 1 Revised production cast and credits
Box 1 Fine 110 - mimeograph copy (2 copies)
Box 1 It Happens Every Spring - mimeograph copy
Box 1 Lone Star - mimeograph copy
Box 1 Policemen Die Alone - mimeograph copy
Box 1 Somewhere In The City - mimeograph copy
Stars In My Crown
Box 2 Final version - mimeograph copy
Box 2 Temporary version
Box 2 Miscellaneous section
Box 2 Ad lib lines - mimeograph copy
Box 2 The Corruptors - mimeograph copy
Box 2 The Farmer's Daughter - mimeograph copy
Box 2 The Invaders - mimeograph copy
Box 2 The Unsinkable Molly Brown - mimeograph copy
Box 2 The Sure Thing - mimeograph copy
Box 2 This Is Dynamite - mimeograph copy
Box 3 Tulsa - mimeograph copy
Box 3 Wyoming Mail - mimeograph copy
Box 3 Miscellaneous sections
Television scripts
Box 3 Doctor Kildare - mimeograph copy (2 copies)
Box 3 Hang No Hats On Dreams - mimeograph copy
Box 3 The Dick Powell Show - mimeograph copy
Box 3 The Virginian - mimeograph copy
Box 3 Ulysses S. Grant - mimeograph copy
Radio scripts
Box 3 Ford radio commercial - mimeograph copy
Box 3 Miscellaneous sections
Box 3 Fibber McGee and Molly - mimeograph copy
Box 3 Hollywood In Person - typescript copy
Box 3 The Hallmark Playhouse - mimeograph copy
Box 3 The Line-Up - mimeograph copy
Box 4 The Red Danube - mimeograph copy
Box 4 Miscellaneous scripts
Memorabilia (1964)
Box 4 Copy of MAD Magazine containing parody of Ed Begley
Box 4 Ed Begley and family
Box 4 from Middle Of The Night
Box 4 from All My Sons
Box 4 from Inherit The Wind
Box 4 from Ulysses S. Grant
Box 4 Miscellaneous, Ed Begley and others
Box 4 Miscellaneous clippings
Box 4 Playbill
Box 4 Miscellaneous magazines
Box 4 Sweet Bird of Youth
General files (1966)
Box 5 Art work
Box 5 Biography, Ed Begley
Box 5 Dramatic readings
Box 5 Financial accounts
Box 5 Fragments
Box 5 Legal contracts
Box 5 Business
Box 5 Handwritten
Box 5 Miscellaneous (4 folders)
Magazine reviews
Box 5 of All My Sons
Box 5 General
Box 5 of Inherit the Wind
Box 5 Patterns
Box 5 Miscellaneous
Box 5 Notes
Box 5 Begley
Box 5 General
Box 5 Playbills
Box 5 Telegrams (2 folders)
Box 5 Theatre programs (5 folders)
Published material (1966)
Box 6 The Call Board
Box 6 Radio Directors Guild Yearbook 1947
Box 6 Radio Row
Box 6 Television
Box 6 Theatre Arts
Box 6 The Travelers Beacon
Box 6 Tune In
Box 6 WTIC, Hartford, Connecticut
Box 6 News clippings (13 clippings)
Scripts (1966)
Box 6 Television
Box 7 Television (20 folders)
Box 8 Television (18 folders, 1 volume)
Box 9 Radio (6 folders)
Box 9 General
Box 9 All My Sons
Box 9 All Summer Long
Box 9 Inherit the Wind (2 volumes)
Box 9 Look Homeward Angel
Box 9 A Shadow of My Enemy
Box 9 Ballad Number One
Box 9 The Bitch Goddess Success
Box 9 Deep Water (2 volumes)
Box 9 Make It Fifty Dollars and Add Love to Nona
Box 9 Odds Against Tomorrow (2 volumes)
Box 9 Sitting Pretty
Box 9 The Street With No Name (2 volumes)
Box 10 The Street With No Name (2 volumes)
Box 10 Twelve Angry Men
Miscellaneous (1966)
Oversize 1 Awards (3 certificates, 1 rolled up in tube)
Oversize 1 Programs
Oversize 1 News clippings
Oversize 1 Drawings
Oversize 1 Theatre posters

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