The New York Times – The Actor Who Rides the Subway to the Oscars

Ed Begley takes metro to oscars

Hayden Begley, far left, made a video of her father, the actor Ed Begley Jr., taking public transportation to the Oscars and then shared it on TikTok, where it has received more than six million views. Credit: Hayden Begley


By Perri Ormont Blumberg
March 13, 2024

Ed Begley Jr. could be described as Hollywood royalty: The actor is a son of another actor, Ed Begley, who won a best supporting actor Oscar in 1963.

But the younger Mr. Begley, a longtime member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Oscars, commuted to this year’s ceremony like a plebeian by taking the Los Angeles Metro. His trip was filmed by his daughter Hayden Begley, who later shared the video on TikTok, where it has since received more than six million views.

The video opens with Ms. Begley, 24, asking her mother, Rachelle Carson, Mr. Begley’s wife and Oscars guest, how she is getting to the ceremony. “I’m driving,” Ms. Carson says, before asking, “And you’re what?” Off camera Ms. Begley replies, “Taking the subway.” Ms. Carson, who is wearing a black lacy gown, mutters, “Oh God, whatever,” as she waves her arms in exasperation.

Ms. Begley, who in a voice-over explains that she isn’t attending the ceremony with her father, then films his journey to the event on a 240 bus and the B line subway.

As Mr. Begley, 74, who has spent much of his career promoting environmentalism, talks to the camera about his fondness for public transit while riding the bus, he shows off two pins on the lapel of his dark suit jacket. One pin was shaped like an Oscar statuette and came from the Academy, where he served on the board of governors for 15 years. He said that the other pin, which had a capital M, was his “Metro pin for being a rider since 1962.”

Later in the video, Ms. Begley films her father’s full look, which includes a pair of black Nike sneakers with chunky white soles. “Thank God there are people like my dad who don’t mind wearing running shoes on a red carpet,” she says in a voice-over.

Mr. Begley, in an interview with The New York Times, said he bought the shoes for walking and that his wife had helped him pick them out. He bought the Cesarani suit he wore to the Oscars on the set of a production he was involved in decades ago. Wardrobe items are tailored to fit actors and then sometimes sold to them at a discount, he explained.

“I’m not a slave to fashion as you probably noticed,” said Mr. Begley, who recently published a memoir about his relationship with his father, who died in 1970, and his life and career in Hollywood.

Door to door, the trip from the Begleys’ home in Los Angeles to the Dolby Theater took an hour, partly because subway station closures resulted in about a half-mile of walking — and also because Mr. Begley spent time posing for pictures with fans and fellow commuters, his daughter said in an interview with The Times.

Ms. Begley, an actor, also works for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a job she started during the recent actors’ union strike. But she was not filming her father’s commute on behalf of the agency; she shared the video from her personal TikTok account.

Taking public transportation to the Oscars has become a sort of tradition for Mr. Begley and his daughter. They used it to get to the event in 2023, a trip she also filmed and shared on social media, as well as to others in prior years. A few days before the first ceremony they attended, Mr. Begley said, he walked into his daughter’s room and asked her if she wanted to make a statement. When she said that she did, he told her, “OK, we’re going to take the subway to the Oscars.”

Over the years, Mr. Begley’s commutes to the awards show have also involved bicycles and electric vehicles, like a Bradley car he and his friend Annette Bening took to the ceremony in 1991. “As a woman in a dress,” he said, “you’ve got to be a yoga master to get out of the car in a dignified manner.”

Bicycles and public transit, he added, are some of his favorite cost-effective and environmentally friendly ways to get around.

“I never feel that I’m wasting my time taking the bus or the subway somewhere because I bring my script with me or do Jumble or Wordle,” Mr. Begley said. “I do the L.A. Times and New York Times Crossword every day.”