Lively's career began back in 1974 with an appearance on "The Waltons," before stints on "The Dukes of Hazzard," "Falcon Crest," "Murder, She Wrote," "The West Wing" and a number of TV movies in the '80s and '90s.
He also played the father to real life daughter Blake in the two "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" films and most recently appeared in the 2020 movie "Phobic."
Ernie married Elaine Lively in 1979 and took on her surname, which she got from her ex-husband. The two are parents to both Blake and Eric Lively, while he also adopted her children from a previous marriage: Robyn, Lori and Jason Lively, who are all also actors.
Lively suffered a massive heart attack in 2003 and told PEOPLE only half of his heart functioned properly. In 2013, he became the first recorded patient to undergo retrograde gene therapy for the heart in 2013 at the University of Utah.
"I live here because of the outdoor life, and I couldn't enjoy it," he said at the time. "I didn't have enough energy to do much of anything."
After the surgery, he said, "I woke up this morning and told my wife, 'I haven't felt this good in years."
Lively is survived by his wife, children, sister and nine grandchildren.