Early Life & Career
Ernie was born Ernest Wilson Brown Jr. on January 29, 1947, in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, to Beatrice Gray and Ernest W. Brown Sr.
He started his acting career in 1975 when he was cast to play a railroad conductor in one of the episodes of the popular television series ‘The Waltons.’ In 1977, he made a brief appearance as a bartender in ‘NBC’ network’s police procedural series ‘McCloud.’ The following year, he played Danny in Russ Mayberry-directed television movie ‘The Million Dollar Dixie Deliverance.’
From 1979 to 1984, he played multiple roles in ‘CBS’ network’s action-comedy series ‘The Dukes of Hazzard.’ Meanwhile, he also played minor roles in television series, such as ‘CBS Schoolbreak Special,’ ‘Private Benjamin,’ and ‘Fantasy Island.’
He made his feature film debut in the 1980 Claudia Weill-directed romantic comedy-drama film, ‘It's My Turn.’
In 1985, he was seen in three television series, namely ‘Fame,’ ‘Scarecrow and Mrs. King,’ and ‘Misfits of Science.’ In the same year, he also played minor roles in films like ‘Secret Admirer’ and ‘Badge of the Assassin’ (TV movie). From 1985 to 1987, he was seen in ‘CBS’ network’s prime time soap opera ‘Falcon Crest.’
He received his breakthrough role in 1987, when he was cast to play Tom Burnside in Lesli Linka Glatter-directed television film ‘Into the Homeland.’
Thereafter, he then played a series of supporting roles in TV films, such as ‘Dead or Alive,’ ‘Scandal in a Small Town,’ and ‘The Secret Life of Kathy McCormick.’
In 1989, he made a guest appearance in the famous buddy cop comedy film ‘Turner & Hooch.’ In the same year, he appeared in several supporting roles in films, such as ‘An Innocent Man’ and ‘Shocker.’
From 1990 to 1996, Lively played multiple roles in ‘CBS’ network’s popular crime drama series ‘Murder, She Wrote.’ He also continued playing minor roles in several projects throughout the 90s.
The television films that he was part of during the early and the mid-90s include ‘Follow Your Heart,’ ‘Voices Within: The Lives of Truddi Chase,’ ‘The Knife and Gun Club,’ ‘Steel Magnolias,’ ‘For the Very First Time,’ ‘Dead in the Water,’ ‘Overkill: The Aileen Wuornos Story,’ ‘Accidental Meeting,’ ‘Legacy of Sin: The William Coit Story,’ and ‘A Stranger to Love.’
In 1996, he played Mr. Morrison in four episodes of ‘NBC’ network’s primetime teen drama series ‘Malibu Shores.’ Some of the projects that he was part of during the late-90s include ‘Fire Down Below,’ ‘The Legend of Cryin' Ryan,’ ‘The Wonderful World of Disney,’ ‘Dark Skies,’ and ‘Goodbye Lover.’
From 2000 to 2005, he was seen in ‘NBC’ network’s political drama series ‘The West Wing.’ In 2005, he played Bridget Vreeland’s father in Ken Kwapis-directed comedy-drama film ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.’ Interestingly, Bridget was played by his real-life daughter, Blake Lively. He reprised his role as Bridget’s father in the 2008 Sanaa Hamri-directed sequel ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.’
In 2019, he was cast to play Jack Sanders in Bryce Clark-directed mystery-thriller film ‘Phobic.’
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Family & Personal Life
Ernie married Elaine Lively on December 12, 1979. On July 31, 1981, the couple was blessed with their first child, a son, Eric Lawrence Lively Brown. Eric went on to become an actor.
On August 25, 1987, Elaine gave birth to their second child, a daughter named Blake Lively. Blake too followed in her father's footsteps to become an actress. She is best known for playing Serena van der Woodsen in the popular television series ‘Gossip Girl.’