Ned Beatty

Submitted by on Oct 16, 2015

AKA Ned Thomas Beatty

Gender: Male

Race or Ethnicity: White

Sexual orientation: Straight

Occupation: Actor

Nationality: United States

Executive summary: Deliverance

Ned Beatty is a chubby, cherubic character actor who rarely gets the girl, but almost always has the audience’s sympathy, even when he plays bad guys. Raised in a religious family, he first planned on becoming a minister. He sang in the church choir, and sang with a barber shop quartet to earn extra money for his dirt poor Kentucky family. His singing earned him a college scholarship, and he became an actor almost by default when he was in the choir for a song-and-dance review, and the director asked him to take a tiny acting part — not because of any innate talent, but just because Beatty had a booming voice that could be heard in the back rows. To his surprise, Beatty liked giving life to his lines, and it was not long after that when he dropped out of college to become an actor.

Working day jobs to support himself and his family, Beatty went from small parts in local plays to regional productions. He worked his way to Broadway in his early 30s, joining the cast of The Great White Hope. first with James Earl Jones and later with Yaphet Kotto. When moviemaker John Boorman saw the play, he thought Beatty would be perfect as the buggered insurance salesman in Deliverence with Jon Voight. Burt Reynolds. and Ronny Cox. Rarely has any actor had a more memorable first role, but when shown on commercial television the film is often edited so Beatty’s character is only ridiculed by the hillbillies. Incidentally, Beatty’s second wife was actress Belinda Beatty, who played Voight’s wife in Deliverence .

For decades, Beatty has been a familiar character actor in movies, sometimes appearing in up to five films in a year, though his pace has slowed in recent years. Among his more impressive movie roles, he was Lily Tomlin ‘s fundraising husband in Nashville. Gene Hackman ‘s bumbling sidekick Otis in Superman. the TV CEO even more insane than his newscaster in Network with Peter Finch. a corrupt cop in The Big Easy with Dennis Quaid. the reporter who dug up Nixon ‘s Mexican money-laundering in All the President’s Men with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. shrimpy football player Sean Astin ‘s dad in the inspirational Rudy. a parks department philosopher in Spring Forward with Liev Schreiber. a village elder and cold-hearted banker in Sweet Land with Alan Cumming. and in perhaps his best performance, he played the tax-evading tenor in the Irish independent film Hear My Song .

In addition to numerous TV movies and guest star turns, he played the slovenly Detective Stanley Bolander in early seasons of Homicide: Life on the Street. He was featured in a pair of quickly-cancelled sitcoms, as a retired Marine who works as a playground supervisor on Szysznyk. and as Christopher Meloni ‘s grumpy neighbor on The Boys. Beatty also had a recurring role as John Goodman ‘s father on Roseanne .

He suffers from bipolar disorder, but unlike most manic depressives he is a well-trained actor with decades of work feigning feelings. Beatty says he can glide through a stage performance or a day in front of the cameras, even at the depths or heights of his mood swings, and only his closest friends can sense something is wrong.

Fifty years after his change of career, Beatty sang again, recording a CD of Christian music, In the Beginning was the Word. He also sang, quite pleasantly, in Hear My Song .

After being asked many, many times whether they were related, Beatty once joked to a reporter that Warren Beatty was his “illegitimate uncle.” The comment has been repeated many times by many people who take it seriously, including occasional articles in mainstream newspapers, but the two Beattys are not related.

Father: Charles William Beatty

Mother: Margaret “Maggie” Fortney Lennis Beatty (high school lunch lady)

Sister: Mary Margaret Beatty Gwinner

Wife: (div. four children)

Son: Douglas Beatty (with first wife)

Son: Charles Beatty (with first wife, twin)

Son: Lennis Beatty (with first wife, twin)

Son: Wallace Beatty (with first wife)

Wife: Belinda Rowley (actress, m. 1971, div. two children)

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