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Leon Ames

Leon Ames

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Also Known As: Leon Waycoff, Leon Wykoff, Leon Waycoff Died: October 12, 1993
Born: January 20, 1902 Cause of Death: complications resulting from a stroke
Birth Place: Portland, Indiana, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Pleasant-looking, dapper, often mustachioed character actor best known for his paternal roles and a wide variety of professional types. Ames, who early in his career used the surname of "Waycoff", made his screen debut as the romantic hero in Robert Florey's striking horror film, "Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1932). Shortly afterward, Ames played a role as important as any he played onscreen when, in 1933, he was one of 19 actors who met to form the Screen Actors Guild. In an organization whose ranks eventually swelled to well over 80,000, Ames, card number 15, served long and well as a member of the board for over 30 years and also as recording secretary (1947-48), first vice president (1952-56) and president (1957-58).Waycoff adopted the surname "Ames" beginning with the film "Strangers All" (1935) and continued his long stage ("It Pays to Sin" 1933, "Bright Honor" 1936) and screen ("The Mysterious Mr. Moto" 1938, "Man of Conquest" 1939) apprenticeship in dozens of minor and then supporting roles. Ames gained increased prominence at MGM in the 1940s after he gave a marvelous performance as the harassed head of the Smith household in Vincente Minnelli's delightful period musical, "Meet Me in St....

Pleasant-looking, dapper, often mustachioed character actor best known for his paternal roles and a wide variety of professional types. Ames, who early in his career used the surname of "Waycoff", made his screen debut as the romantic hero in Robert Florey's striking horror film, "Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1932). Shortly afterward, Ames played a role as important as any he played onscreen when, in 1933, he was one of 19 actors who met to form the Screen Actors Guild. In an organization whose ranks eventually swelled to well over 80,000, Ames, card number 15, served long and well as a member of the board for over 30 years and also as recording secretary (1947-48), first vice president (1952-56) and president (1957-58).

Waycoff adopted the surname "Ames" beginning with the film "Strangers All" (1935) and continued his long stage ("It Pays to Sin" 1933, "Bright Honor" 1936) and screen ("The Mysterious Mr. Moto" 1938, "Man of Conquest" 1939) apprenticeship in dozens of minor and then supporting roles. Ames gained increased prominence at MGM in the 1940s after he gave a marvelous performance as the harassed head of the Smith household in Vincente Minnelli's delightful period musical, "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944). Thereafter he was immediately typecast as forceful, but warm and benevolent, fathers and professional men in films ranging from "Yolanda and the Thief" (1945) to "Battleground" (1949). Although he gave a strong performance as the shrewd prosecuting attorney in "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (1946), Ames returned to his paternal role on the television series, "Life With Father" (1953-55) and "Father of the Bride" (1961-62). He also later played neighbor Gordon Kirkwood in TV's "Mr. Ed" (1961-66). In a film and TV career spanning hundreds of credits covering more than half a century (his last feature part was as Kathleen Turner's grandfather in "Peggy Sue Got Married" 1986), the always-welcome Ames brought to his roles his attractive, commanding voice and a smooth professionalism.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Jake Speed (1986) Pop
2.
 Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) Barney Alvorg
3.
 Testament (1983) Henry Abhart
4.
 Just You And Me, Kid (1979) Manduke The Magnificent
5.
 Sherlock Holmes in New York (1976) Daniel Furman
6.
 Meal, The (1975)
7.
 Timber Tramps (1975)
8.
 Hammersmith Is Out (1972) General Sam Pembroke
9.
 Toklat (1971) Narr/Old man
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1925:
Joined Charles K Champlin Company in Lansford, Pennsylvania; first as general business manager, then as actor in small parts
:
Toured with stock companies
1932:
First film as actor, "Murders in the Rue Morgue"
1933:
Broadway debut in "It Pays to Sin"
1933:
Was one of the founding members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG)
1934:
Gave up his membership on SAG's board of directors because he was too busy with acting roles (date approximate)
1935:
Changed name to Ames, with film "Strangers All"
1943:
Signed to seven-year contract with MGM; first film under contract, "Meet Me in St. Louis"
1945:
Rejoined board of directors of SAG, replacing actor Charles Boyer
1947:
Served as recording secretary of SAG
:
Became businessman on the side as owner and vice president of Studio City Ford Company
:
Served as first vice president of SAG
:
Served as president of SAG
1979:
Named a president emeritus of SAG
1986:
Last feature credit, "Peggy Sue Got Married"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Christine Gossett. Actor. Married in 1938; met on Hollywood sound stage.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Shelley Ames. Former actor, advertising executive. Born in 1941; played receptionist in father's TV series, "Father of the Bride" (1962).
son:
Lee Ames. Stage actor. Born in 1944.

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