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Lew Ayres

Lew Ayres

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Also Known As: Lewis Frederick Ayres Iii, Lewis Ayer Died: December 30, 1996
Born: December 28, 1908 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA Profession: actor, filmmaker, musician, author

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This earnest, boyishly handsome star of the pacifist classic "All Quiet on the Western Front" (1930) was extremely prolific during the 1930s, at first primarily at Universal Studios, and then also at Fox and Paramount. Although a very talented and sensitive actor, Ayres found his early stardom fade during the decade as he was cast in either trivial light comedies which suited his gentle manner or in films which called for tough, streetwise characterizations which didn't always suit him. He gave an excellent performance, though, as Katharine Hepburn's drunken brother in George Cukor's "Holiday" (1938) and enjoyed considerable popularity in a series of Dr. Kildare films at MGM in the late 30s and early 40s. His career faded during WWII after he declared himself a conscientious objector, but he received renewed respect when he served bravely in a non-combat medical capacity.After the war Ayres was able to resume his career--and his sometimes typecasting as doctors--in such films as "The Dark Mirror" (1946) and "Johnny Belinda" (1948), for which he received a Best Actor Oscar nomination, though he did little acting in film after the mid-50s. He did, however, do notable work as the vice president in...

This earnest, boyishly handsome star of the pacifist classic "All Quiet on the Western Front" (1930) was extremely prolific during the 1930s, at first primarily at Universal Studios, and then also at Fox and Paramount. Although a very talented and sensitive actor, Ayres found his early stardom fade during the decade as he was cast in either trivial light comedies which suited his gentle manner or in films which called for tough, streetwise characterizations which didn't always suit him. He gave an excellent performance, though, as Katharine Hepburn's drunken brother in George Cukor's "Holiday" (1938) and enjoyed considerable popularity in a series of Dr. Kildare films at MGM in the late 30s and early 40s. His career faded during WWII after he declared himself a conscientious objector, but he received renewed respect when he served bravely in a non-combat medical capacity.

After the war Ayres was able to resume his career--and his sometimes typecasting as doctors--in such films as "The Dark Mirror" (1946) and "Johnny Belinda" (1948), for which he received a Best Actor Oscar nomination, though he did little acting in film after the mid-50s. He did, however, do notable work as the vice president in "Advise and Consent" (1962) and as a sympathetic resident of the vampire-ridden TV-miniseries town of "Salem's Lot" (1979). A student of comparative theology, Ayres later produced the religious documentaries "Altars of the East" (1955) and "Altars of the World" (1976), also serving as director of the latter.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Altars of the World (1976) Director
2.
  Hearts in Bondage (1936) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Hart to Hart: Crimes of the Hart (1994) Professor Kamen
3.
 Cast the First Stone (1989) Mr Martin
4.
 Of Mice and Men (1981) Candy
5.
 Reunion (1980) Bob Hollander
6.
 Letters From Frank (1979) Dan Miller
7.
 Damien - Omen II (1978) Bill Aherton
8.
 Battlestar Galactica (1978) President Adar
9.
 Suddenly, Love (1978) Mr Graham
10.
 End of the World (1977) Beckerman
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1929:
Made film acting debut in "The Kiss", starring Greta Garbo
1930:
Landmark film and performance for Ayres, "All Quiet on the Western Front"; film also began his association with Universal Pictures
1934:
Last films under Universal contract, "Cross Country Cruise" and "Let's Be Ritzy"
1936:
Directed a feature film, "Hearts in Bondage", for Republic Studios
1938:
First played Dr. Kildare in "Young Dr. Kildare"
1941:
Last Dr. Kildare film, "Dr. Kildare's Victory"
1942:
Last film for four years, "Fingers at the Window"
1942:
Was interred in a labor camp for conscientious objectors after offering to do "non-combatant service" in the army during WWII
:
Later served with distinction in the military medical services, sometimes under dangerous conditions; was awarded several medals
1946:
Returned to film acting after the war in "The Dark Mirror"
1953:
Last films for nearly a decade, "No Escape" and "Donovan's Brain"
1958:
Hosted the TV series "Frontier Justice"
1962:
Returned to features to act supporting roles in several films, beginning with "Advise and Consent"
1968:
TV-movie debut in the pilot for "Hawaii Five-O"
1972:
Returned to feature films after an eight-year absence in "The Man" and "The Biscuit Eater"; continued acting in feature films until the end of the 1970s
1976:
Directed the religious documentary, "Altars of the World"
1978:
Made final feature appearances in "Battlestar Galactica" and "Damien--Omen II"
1985:
TV series debut as regular on the short-lived ABC adventure series "Lime Street"
1994:
Last TV-movie, "Hart to Hart: Crimes of the Hart"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Arizona: Tucson , Arizona -

Notes

Served on the US National Committee for UNESCO.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Lola Lane. Actor. Married in 1931; divorced in 1933.
wife:
Ginger Rogers. Actor, dancer, singer. Married in 1934; divorced in 1941.
wife:
Diana Hall. Married in 1964; survived him.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Justin Bret Ayres. Survived him.

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