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Ed Begley Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: --
Date: Aug 1967

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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)



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.

Table of Contents

Correspondence (1964)

Scripts (1964)

Memorabilia (1964)

General files (1966)

Published material (1966)

Scripts (1966)

Miscellaneous (1966)