Ed Begley Jr. Says Late Co-star John Belushi 'Begged' Him to Stop Drinking: 'Lucky to Be Alive'
Ed Begley Jr. was fortunate to have found a concerned friend in his Goin' South co-star John Belushi. The 74-year-old credited John Belushi, who "begged" Begley Jr. to stop excessive alcohol consumption in the 1970s. While speaking about his newly released memoir To the Temple of Tranquility…and Step On It, the actor recalled his struggle with alcohol.
While addressing the audience, Begley Jr. said, 'he's lucky to be alive,' and knew he was headed for trouble with alcohol. All thanks to his co-star Belushi, who cautioned him to go easy, reported Page Six. The actors were filming their 1978 movie Goin' South in Mexico when his now-late co-star asked him to be mindful.
Begley Jr. recalled Belushi telling him, "This is too much. You're going to kill yourself, man." He recounted how the Neighbor's actor and his wife, Judy Belushi, "dragged me out of the bar at the El Presidente Hotel in Durango, Mexico" while the Veteran was severely drunk. He told him [Begley Jr.] to "get outside, see some of the town here," and "sober up [because] you're headed for trouble."
Although Belushi saved Begley Jr. from taking his life due to alcohol, the former (in)famously injected copious amounts of drugs into his body throughout his career. Unfortunately, the OG Saturday Night Live cast tragically died of a drug overdose in 1982 when he was barely thirty-three.
Begley Jr. also highlighted the moment he had the epiphany, a "moment of clarity" when he couldn't hold his oldest daughter, Amanda (now 46 years old), in his arms because he was hospitalized due to alcoholism. "My first-born Amanda was one year old, and she wanted to hold me," reminisced the actor.
"But the problem was I was in the hospital with all these needles and tubes going in me that are trying to keep me alive, and I couldn't hold my daughter because of the tubes," he continued. And that was it. He was through with his drinking habit. "I said, 'You know? Deal me out. I'm done with this."
Adding, "And thank God it's been since the 70s since I've had a drink or anything like that. And I am very lucky to still be around." Begley Jr. was also one of the earliest environmental activists in Hollywood. So, being "vegan" and knocking booze contradicted his role as an advocate using his voice to save the planet.
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The Young Sheldon star added, "I never saw the contradiction at all," recounting, "I thought it was perfectly reasonable and normal, marveling at waiters who took orders of organic tofu along with a couple of Bloody Marys." He also believed that the restaurant staff must have laughed at him.
The 74-year-old joked, "I am sure they went through the swinging doors in the kitchen and stuffed a napkin in their mouth to keep me from hearing the gales of laughter." His memoir includes the actor's encounters with Bill and Hillary Clinton, meeting all four Beatles, serving as a pallbearer at Cesar Chavez's funeral, and even smoking a joint with Charles Manson.
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The memoir also has a personal touch where the actor writes about his complicated relationship with his father, Oscar-winner Ed Begley. The longtime environmental activist advised, "Get out of your car as much as you can," adding, "That could mean walking more, could be taking the bus, could be riding your bike."
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