Blake Lively’s dad Ernie, who famously played her father in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, passed away last Thursday at 74 years old. His representative told People he died of cardiac complications in Los Angeles, but did not offer further information.
While certainly known as Blake’s pops, the LA native had a long acting career of his own starting in 1975 when he snagged a role in The Waltons. After a stint of television guest appearances, he finally landed bigger characters on The Dukes of Hazzard, Turner & Hooch, Falcon Crest, Malibu Shores, The X-Files, The West Wing, That ‘70s Show, and Murder, She Wrote! A lot of really well-known series there!!
But his credits weren’t limited to the small screen. Aside from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and its sequel, Ernie is known for Mulholland Falls, The Beverly Hillbillies, Passenger 57, The Man in the Moon, Showdown in Little Tokyo, Air America, and Shocker.
Before acting, the father of five was also a lieutenant in the Vietnam War and, later, a captain in the US Marine Corps. Given that he became known as a well-respected mentor in Hollywood, it’s no surprise he also started as an English professor in his early days, according to The Hollywood Reporter!
Perezcious readers may also remember Ernie as the man who made medical history in 2013. At the time, he underwent heart surgery in Utah after realizing his organ was only partially functioning. With the help of Dr. Amit Patel, he became the first patient known to undergo retrograde gene therapy for the heart. He recalled the procedure, which involved injecting his stem cells into his heart to repair muscles and arteries, in an interview with People:
“I woke up the other morning and told my wife, ‘I haven’t felt this good in years.’ 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. Now, I’m excited about living the rest of my life instead of sitting around. Dr. Patel saved my life.”
Sadly, Ernie leaves behind his wife of 42 years, Elaine, as well as kids Eric, Robyn (of Teen Witch fame), Lori, Jason, and, of course, Blake. He is also survived by nine grandchildren, his sister Judith, and three of his children’s spouses. May he rest in peace…