Ed Begley Jr. says he is ‘lucky’ to be alive after late ‘Goin’ South’ co-star John Belushi begged him to stop drinking

Ed Begley Jr. knows he’s very lucky to be alive after drinking far too much alcohol in the 70s.

Speaking to Page Six exclusively while promoting his newly released memoir, “To the Temple of Tranquility…and Step On It!, the actor told us he knew he was “headed for trouble” when his “Goin’ South” co-star John Belushi cautioned him to take it easy.

At the time, the two were filming the 1978 movie in Mexico when Begley Jr. recalled Belushi telling him, “This is too much. You’re going to kill yourself, man.”

Ed Begley Jr. (left) sad he is very lucky to “still be around” after his raging alcoholism in the 70s.
Getty Images for TCM
Begley Jr. (top right) told Page Six that his “Goin’ South” co-star John Belushi begged him to stop drinking.
©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

He recounted that John “and [his wife] Judy Belushi dragged me out of the bar at the El Presidente Hotel in Durango, Mexico” before the actor told him to “get outside, see some of the town here” and “sober up [because] you’re headed for trouble.”

For more Page Six you love …

John was infamous for the copious amounts of drugs he ingested during his career. He later died from an overdose at the age of 33 in 1982.

Belushi died at the age of 33 from a drug overdose.
©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

However, the “St. Elsewhere” star revealed that his “moment of clarity” came when he couldn’t hold his oldest daughter, Amanda, now 46, because he was in the hospital due to his alcoholism.

“My first-born Amanda was one year old and she wanted to hold me,” he told us. “But the problem was I was in the hospital with all these needles and tubes going in me that are trying to keep me alive and I couldn’t hold my daughter because of the tubes.”

“I said, ‘You know? Deal me out. I’m done with this,’” he continued. “And thank God it’s been since the 70s since I’ve had a drink or anything like that. And I’m very lucky to still be around.”

In his newly released memoir, Begley Jr. (pictured here in 1986) talks more about his alcoholism.
Getty Images

Begley Jr. — who was one of the earliest environmental activists in Hollywood — also knew that it was slightly incongruent that he was a vegetarian while still knocking back booze.

“I never saw the contradiction at all,” the “Young Sheldon” star, 74, said. “I thought it was perfectly reasonable and normal, marveling at waiters who took orders of organic tofu along with a couple of Bloody Marys.”

“I’m sure they went through the swinging doors in the kitchen and stuffed a napkin in their mouth to keep me from hearing the gales of laughter,” he noted.

Begley Jr. is best known for his role in “St. Elsewhere.”
©NBC/Courtesy Everett Collection

His memoir teems with encounters and friendships Begley has had along the way, including playing Trivial Pursuit with Bill and Hillary Clinton, meeting all four Beatles, serving as a pallbearer at Cesar Chavez’s funeral and even smoking a joint with Charles Manson.

For more Page Six you love …

He also writes about his complicated relationship with his father, Oscar-winner Ed Begley.

When Ed Jr. was 16, his father told him that his mother, who had died of cancer, was not his biological mother. His real mom was actually a page at NBC named Sandy.

He has also become well-known for his environmental activism.

The “Better Call Saul” star — who has established himself as a reliable character actor in scores of movies and TV shows — also writes of hitting a very rough patch during the 90s when he appeared in barely any movies and had sporadic television appearances.

Ed Jr. got through the slump with guest spots on shows like “Six Feet Under” and low-budget schlock “Santa with Muscles” while simplifying his lifestyle.

“I was growing my own food,” he explained. “I didn’t have an electric bill because of my solar [panels] …You know, all that stuff that I did for the environment also saved me a lot of money so I could get by on next to nothing for a long time.”

The memoir includes encounters with a slew of celebrities and famous people.
Hachette Books

The longtime environmental activist also proffered some advice for those looking to become more climate-conscious.

“Get out of your car as much as you can,” he said. “That could mean walking more, could be taking the bus, could be riding your bike.

“Also, diet is a big one. Try ‘Meatless Monday.’ Just eat plant-based food one day a week. If you like it, do it more … You feel good about it and then maybe you’ll be doing stuff every day of the week and doing a lot of things that will also save you money.”