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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:||Cast ... actor filmmaker musician author|
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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