Ernie Lively, the father of Blake Lively who played her onscreen dad in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and boasted an almost 50-year acting career, has died. He was 74.
Lively died of cardiac arrest complications last Thursday in Los Angeles, his representative Julie Smith confirms to USA TODAY. The Hollywood Reporter stated Lively was surrounded by his wife and children.
Born on January 29, 1947 in Baltimore, Lively married talent manager Elaine Lively in 1979. He is father to Eric Lively, 39, and Blake Lively, 33, and step-father to Lori Lively, 54, Jason Lively, 53, Robyn Lively, 49, all of who followed in his footsteps to become actors.
USA TODAY reached out to representatives for Ernie Lively and Blake Lively for comment.
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Actress Blake Lively, center, poses with her parents Elaine and Ernie Lively at a Godiva press event on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012 in New York. (Photo: Evan Agostini, AP)
Across his long career Lively appeared in such films such as 1989’s “Shocker,” 1991’s “The Man in the Moon,” 1992’s “Passenger 57,” 2018’s “Looking Glass,” in addition to TV appearances on “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “The X-Files,” “Renegade” and “The West Wing.” One of his first credited roles is on a 1975 episode of “The Waltons.”
In 2005, Lively starred as Mr. Vreeland in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” the father of his daughter Blake Lively’s character Bridget Vreeland. He reprised his role alongside his daughter in the 2008 sequel “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.”
The father-daughter duo also appeared together in the 2006 slasher film “Simon Says.”
Prior to acting, THR reports Lively was an English professor and served as a lieutenant in Vietnam, returning as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps.
After a Hollywood career spanning nearly five decades, Lively retired in Utah “because of the outdoor life” but health issues following a heart attack in 2003 prevented him from “enjoying it,” he told The Salt Lake Tribune in a statement in 2013.
“I moved to Utah because of the snow, but I haven’t been able to ski. I literally didn’t have the heart to do it,” he told People the same year. According to the outlet, Lively had “only half of a functioning heart and had trouble walking up a flight of stairs” before undergoing surgery.
Lively had a groundbreaking heart procedure at the University of Utah in November 2013. He became the first person to be treated with an experimental retrograde gene therapy for the heart.
Afterwards, he told People that he hadn’t “felt this good in years” and was looking forward to “living the rest of my life instead of sitting around.”
Per People, in addition to his wife Elaine and their children, Lively is survived by nine grandchildren, his sister Judith, and three of his children’s spouses.
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