Environmentalist and actor Ed Begley Jr. took his daughter to the Oscars on public transit: 'My dad taught me growing up to live simply so others can simply live'

Environmentalist and actor Ed Begley Jr. took his daughter to the Oscars on public transit: 'My dad taught me growing up to live simply so others can simply live'
Hayden and her famous father taking LA public transportation to the Oscars.TikTok;@haydenbegley
  • Ed Begley Jr. and his daughter Hayden took LA public transportation to the Oscars over the weekend.
  • Hayden, who's a TikToker, documented it to her fans. It's been viewed almost 2 million times.

73-year-old actor and longtime environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. and his 23-year-old daughter, Hayden, went viral this weekend for catching a bus and an LA metro train to get to the 2023 Oscars.

In the March 13 TikTok, Hayden, a full-time content creator, took viewers along on their journey, which required a bus, the red line, and a walk around barricades.

She also gave viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the event. In contrast to the Instagram-friendly photos of celebrities posing in designer wear, Hayden showed viewers the relatable and anti-climactic side of attending the glossy event: a hole in her dress, lipstick on her teeth, and walking home in flip flops.

For Hayden, who's been to the Oscars three times with her famous dad — all via public transportation — it serves as a reminder that celebrities are people who "go home to find their garbage disposal doesn't work and their kid needs braces," she joked to Insider.

@haydenbegley Replying to @puffvick we took the subway back too but out phones died #oscars #oscars2023 #fy #fyp #fypシ #fypage #foryoupage #publictransport #publictransportation ♬ Chopin Nocturne No. 2 Piano Mono - moshimo sound design

The Oscars LA metro trip, which has been viewed almost 2 million times, was the culmination of a weeklong TikTok series in which Hayden used only public transportation to get around for a week. She wanted to raise awareness of the relative ease and extensivity of the city's public transportation system.


In 2019, transportation accounted for 33% of emissions in the United States. Using public transportation can drastically cut down on those emissions. But, ridership has dipped in LA, and Hayden said some people aren't even aware the city has a subway system.

"When I spoke about this to some of my friends ... the ones that are friends with the environmentalist didn't even know that there was a subway in Los Angeles and didn't know that the public transportation system was as expansive as it is," she told Insider.

Now, she's influenced people in the LA area to ditch their cars. "My neighbors are coming to me asking me to show them how to use the 240 bus," she said.

However well-intentioned, some viewers criticized Hayden as "playing at being poor." It prompted her to apologize and explain that she wanted to encourage people of all incomes to use public transportation. She said she hoped one day that one's "tax bracket won't be assumed by whether or not you take public transit."

@haydenbegley Replying to @rwesterman4 ♬ Chopin Nocturne No. 2 Piano Mono - moshimo sound design

Hayden's interest in environmentalism was nurtured by her actor dad. Growing up, she lived with 10,000-gallon rainwater tanks in the backyard and solar-panel-powered appliances throughout their home.


The first time she went to the Oscars with him, when she was 14, he asked her if she wanted to "make a statement" by taking public transportation. Nine years later, Hayden told viewers she simply wants to make him "proud."

@haydenbegley #fyp #fypシ #foryou #dad #dadsoftiktok #daddysgirl ♬ original sound - haydenbegley

Begley Jr.'s own childhood also impacted his environmental activism. His father, Begley Sr., lived through the Great Depression and despised superfluous waste. "He'd save tin foil," Hayden told Insider.

In 2018, Begley Jr. told the US Green Building Counsel that his environmentalism began as a way to "honor [his] father."

Before environmental consciousness became widely adopted, Begley Jr. told Page Six in February that his lifestyle cost him jobs in the 90s. His agents asked him to "back off a little bit" so he could keep working, fearing that directors would assume he'd refuse to drive cars on set or that he'd shame them for not biking to work.

@haydenbegley @The Problem With Jon Stewart #fyp #fypシ #fy ♬ original sound - haydenbegley

Now, Hayden is trying to use her dad's namesake and her TikTok presence to promote a similar green agenda. She knows a decent portion of her 127,000 followers first followed her for her father, whose most recent role in "Better Call Saul" endeared him to a new audience, but she doesn't mind. She does hope, however, that some will be interested in other future green-living series, like going zero-waste for a week.


She acknowledges that personal responsibility will not make as much of a dent in helping combat climate change as corporate responsibility, but she believes it's still impactful. For that reason, she still checks the wattage of the light bulbs in the 500-square-foot apartment she now lives in upon moving in. When she got a car, she got an electrical vehicle.

Hayden told Insider that, like her dad, environmental activism is less about doing things perfectly and more about trying to make sustainable options visible and accessible. So, for the LA metro system, that means increasing ridership so its coverage can expand.

"My dad taught me growing up to 'live simply, so others can simply live,'" she told Insider. "That was sort of his motto."