Phoenix attorney Robert Begam, the author
of the gripping courtroom thriller, Long Life?,
became interested in the field of cryonics
several years ago. His curiosity was aroused
after a member of the Ted Williams family
approached him about some possible legal
The body of Williams, a Hall of Fame base-
ball player, lies in cryonic suspension at the
Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scotts-
dale, Ariz. Bob never became involved in the
case, but cryonics grabbed his imagination
and eventually served as the touchstone for
his second novel, Long Life? As part of his
research for the novel, Bob spent time
with the staff at Alcor to learn more about the
science and the economics of cryonics.
A flair for the dramatic ran in the family
The lawyer's love of literature and the arts has deep roots. He grew up in the New York boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan. He was the son of a Jewish lawyer who became a director of sales for DuPont. Like Bob, his father had a flair for the dramatic.
"Dad graduated from the New York School of Law but found work in sales with DuPont, first for its Atlas Powder subsidiary and then for a division that sold plastic car finishes for cars. The product was called Darko, and it came in a dozen different colors," Bob said. "Dad painted different sections of his car with the different colors to create a rolling billboard for Darko. He'd drive the car to Michigan to show off his paints firsthand to the buyers. That's how he made the sale."
Bob followed his father's legal path by graduating from Yale Law School. Along the way, he spent his undergraduate years as an English major at Yale, taking most of his required courses at the Yale School of Drama. He studied under such noted writers and directors as Thornton Wilder and Elia Kazan, and he paid his way through school by acting in summer stock throughout New England.
Acting or law?
After graduation, Bob was torn between pursuing acting or law. By this time, he was married to the former Helen Clark, a Yale drama student who gave him some simple advice: Do both. Bob earned his law degree but maintained a lifelong involvement with literature and drama. In Phoenix, his adopted home, he has acted in numerous Phoenix Theatre productions and has directed more than 30 plays. Helen, who died in 2007, was even more heavily involved in Phoenix Theatre.
The Begams moved to Phoenix in the 1950s to fulfill Bob's military obligation. He had begun a promising law career at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, a premier New York City law firm for nearly two centuries. His draft notice came as a total surprise to him. The military knew what it was doing, however. It gave Bob the option of being an Army private or joining the Air Force as a Judge Advocate General. The choice was easy, and Bob and his young family ended up living in Arizona, where Bob was based at Luke Air Force Base.
When Bob's military service ended, the Begams decided to stay in Arizona. It was a good place to raise a family, and Bob believed the opportunities to practice law were attractive.
After a brief sojourn in state government, Bob became partners with attorney Sam Langerman to form the law firm of Langerman & Begam. The firm is known today as Begam, Lewis & Marks, and it is widely respected as one of Arizona's premier personal injury law firms.
Robert Begam at a glance
Past president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (now the American Association for Justice).
Member of the board of governors of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.
Grew up in Brooklyn and Manhattan, with a brief childhood stint in Connecticut.
First graduate of the Bronx High School of Science to be accepted at Yale.
Worked his way through Yale University and Yale Law School by acting in summer stock in New England.
Served in the Air Force as a JAG officer.
Worked on a U.S. Supreme Court case early in his career. He was part of a team arguing Arizona's case in the California-Arizona lawsuit that led to the Central Arizona Project. The suit secured the water rights needed for Arizona's long-term expansion.
Wife, Helen, briefly acted in Circle in the Square, a New York theater company that claims such alumni as Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Ben Gazzara.
Content copyright . Robert Begam. All rights reserved.