Lew Ayres


Actor
Lew Ayres

About

Also Known As
Lewis Frederick Ayres Iii, Lewis Ayer
Birth Place
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Born
December 28, 1908
Died
December 30, 1996

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 ...

Photos & Videos

Young Dr. Kildare - Movie Poster
All Quiet on the Western Front - Movie Poster
Johnny Belinda - Scene Stills

Family & Companions

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

Notes

Served on the US National Committee for UNESCO.

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 "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.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

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

Cast (Feature Film)

Hart to Hart: Crimes of the Hart (1994)
Professor Kamen
MGM: When the Lion Roars (1992)
Cast the First Stone (1989)
Mr Martin
Of Mice and Men (1981)
Reunion (1980)
Letters From Frank (1979)
Dan Miller
Damien - Omen II (1978)
Battlestar Galactica (1978)
Suddenly, Love (1978)
End of the World (1977)
Francis Gary Powers: The True Story of the U-2 Spy Incident (1976)
Heatwave! (1974)
Dr Grayson
The Questor Tapes (1974)
Vaslovik
Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)
The Stranger (1973)
Professor Dylan Macauley
The Biscuit Eater (1972)
Mr. Ames
The Man (1972)
Noah Calvin
She Waits (1972)
Earth II (1971)
President Charles Carter Durant
The Carpetbaggers (1964)
McAllister
Advise & Consent (1962)
The Vice President
Donovan's Brain (1953)
Dr. Patrick J. Cory
No Escape (1953)
John [Howard] Tracy
New Mexico (1951)
Lt. Hunt, later Capt.
The Capture (1950)
[Linley] Vanner
Johnny Belinda (1948)
Dr. Robert Richardson
The Unfaithful (1947)
Larry Hannaford
The Dark Mirror (1946)
Dr. Scott Elliott
Fingers at the Window (1942)
Oliver Duffy
Dr. Kildare's Victory (1942)
Dr. James Kildare
Maisie Was a Lady (1941)
Bob Rawlston
Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day (1941)
Dr. James Kildare
The People vs. Dr. Kildare (1941)
Dr. James Kildare
Dr. Kildare's Crisis (1940)
Dr. James Kildare
Dr. Kildare's Strange Case (1940)
Dr. James Kildare
Dr. Kildare Goes Home (1940)
Dr. James Kildare
The Golden Fleecing (1940)
Henry Twinkle
Broadway Serenade (1939)
James Geoffrey Seymour
These Glamour Girls (1939)
Philip S. Griswold
Calling Dr. Kildare (1939)
Dr. James Kildare
The Secret of Dr. Kildare (1939)
Dr. James Kildare
The Ice Follies of 1939 (1939)
Eddie Burgess
Remember? (1939)
Sky Ames
Spring Madness (1938)
Sam Thatcher
Rich Man, Poor Girl (1938)
Henry Thayer
Young Dr. Kildare (1938)
Dr. James Kildare
Scandal Street (1938)
Joe McKnight
King of the Newsboys (1938)
Jerry Flynn
Holiday (1938)
Ned Seton
The Last Train from Madrid (1937)
Bill Dexter
Hold 'Em Navy! (1937)
Tommy Gorham
The Crime Nobody Saw (1937)
Nick Milburn
The Leathernecks Have Landed (1936)
Woody Davis
Murder with Pictures (1936)
Kent Murdock
Panic on the Air (1936)
Jerry [Franklin]
Shakedown (1936)
Bob Sanderson
Lady Be Careful (1936)
[Dud] Dynamite
Silk Hat Kid (1935)
Eddie Howard
Spring Tonic (1935)
Caleb Enix
Lottery Lover (1935)
Cadet Frank Harrington
Servants' Entrance (1934)
Eric Landstrom
Cross Country Cruise (1934)
Norman
She Learned About Sailors (1934)
Larry Wilson
Let's Be Ritzy (1934)
Jimmie Sterling
My Weakness (1933)
Ronnie Gregory
Don't Bet on Love (1933)
Bill McCaffrey
State Fair (1933)
Pat Gilbert
Okay America (1932)
Larry Wayne
The Impatient Maiden (1932)
Myron Brown
Night World (1932)
Michael Rand
The Cohens and Kellys in Hollywood (1932)
Many a Slip (1931)
Jerry [Brooks]
Heaven on Earth (1931)
States
Up for Murder (1931)
Robert Marshall
Iron Man (1931)
Kid Mason
The Spirit of Notre Dame (1931)
Bucky [O'Brien]
Common Clay (1930)
Hugh Fullerton
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Paul [Bäumer]
East Is West (1930)
Billy Benson
The Doorway to Hell (1930)
Louie [Ricarno, also known as Louie Lamarr]
The Kiss (1929)
Pierre

Cinematography (Feature Film)

Altars of the World (1976)
Cinematographer

Producer (Feature Film)

Altars of the World (1976)
Producer

Editing (Feature Film)

Altars of the World (1976)
Editor

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Altars of the World (1976)
Other

Cast (Special)

Savage: In the Orient (1983)
Allan Clydesdale (Guest)
Josephine Little: Adventures in Happiness (1961)
Dr Paul Harris (Guest)
Johnny Risk (1958)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Salem's Lot (1979)

Life Events

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

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"

Photo Collections

Young Dr. Kildare - Movie Poster
Here is the American One-Sheet Movie Poster from MGM's Young Dr. Kildare (1938). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
All Quiet on the Western Front - Movie Poster
Here is the original-release one-sheet movie poster for Universal's All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), starring Lew Ayres. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Johnny Belinda - Scene Stills
Here are some scene stills from Warner Bros' Johnny Belinda (1948), starring Jane Wyman and Lew Ayres.
Dr. Kildare's Strange Case - Glass Slide
Here is a Glass Slide for the MGM film Dr. Kildare's Strange Case (1940), starring Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore. Glass slides were used by many theaters to promote coming attractions during slide shows between movie screenings.
The People vs. Dr. Kildare - Title Lobby Card
Here is the Title Lobby Card from MGM's The People vs. Dr. Kildare (1941), starring Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Dr. Kildare's Crisis - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Dr. Kildare's Crisis (1940), starring Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Fingers At The Window (1942) - You Must Not Forgive Chicago is all-but shut down due to a wave of unsolved axe murders so actor Oliver (Lew Ayres), still in costume, saunters home after his play closed, and a bird-shop owner (Charles Waggenheim) is visited by not-quite seen Basil Rathbone, and Laraine Day happens by, early in MGM’s Fingers At The Window, 1942.
Fingers At The Window (1942) — Can You Stand A Shock? With Chicago terrorized by axe murderers we viewers know are not random maniacs, surprisingly intrepid unemployed actor Oliver (Lew Ayres) has snuck into smitten potential girlfriend Edwina's (Laraine Day) apartment, aiming to lure the one who’s been after her (Charles Wagenheim), in Fingers At The Window, 1942.
Fingers At The Window (1942) — There Are No Evil Spirits Ever more clever unemployed actor Oliver (Lew Ayres) poses as one of the the paranoid schizophrenics being rounded up in Chicago, so he can see files linking the already captured axe-murderers to the psychiatric clinic, Miles Mander his enthused doctor, then wangles a ride back to his girlfriend, in Fingers At The Window, 1942.
Young Dr. Kildare (1938) - Bring Me A Tourniquet! Back at the hospital, new intern Lew Ayres (title character) examines his still-unconscious patient (Jo Ann Sayers) whom he revived from a gas suicide attempt, drawing conclusions and barbs from his crusty boss Gillespie (Lionel Barrymore), in the first in the MGM series, Young Dr. Kildare, 1938.
Young Dr. Kildare (1938) - I'm Strong As A Horse Pace suggesting a shortage of film, the first scene minus one from the first picture in the series, girlfriend Alice (Lynne Carver) with parents Dr. Steve and Martha (Samuel S. Hinds, Emma Dunn) greet the title character Lew Ayres on his return from med school, in MGM’s Young Dr. Kildare, 1938.
Young Dr. Kildare (1938) - The Irish Do Well With Horses Fresh from medical school and his Connecticut home town, Lew Ayres (title character) arrives at the big New York hospital where Dr. Carew (Walter Kingsford) is introducing other interns (Truman Bradley et al) to intimidating top-billed Lionel Barrymore as Gillespie, in the first film in the MGM series, Young Dr. Kildare, 1938.
All Quiet On The Western Front (1930) - Death Is Not An Adventure Prologue from Erich Maria Remarque's novel of Germany in World War I, opening scene introducing postman Himmelstoss (John Wray), and ambitious shooting from director Lewis Milestone, from All Quiet On The Western Front, 1930.
All Quiet On The Western Front (1930) - I'll Not Neglect You! German army recruits including Peter (Owen Davis Jr.) and Paul (Lew Ayres) discover their once mild-mannered postman Himmelstoss (John Wray) is their new drill instructor, in Lewis Milestone's All Quiet On The Western Front, 1930.
Advise & Consent (1962) - A Vice President Shouldn't Ask First scene for Washington hostess Dolly (Gene Tierney), joining senator Munson (Walter Pidgeon), who's managing a nomination fight, making time for anxious colleague Van Ackerman (George Grizzard), and visiting the timid Vice President (Lew Ayres), in Otto Preminger's Advise & Consent, 1962.
Remember? (1939) - Ho-Hum, Silver! Jeff (Robert Taylor), best pal of the groom-to-be (Lew Ayres), though not to the manor born, is clicking with bride to-be Linda (Greer Garson), but not her father (Reginald Owen) or mother (Billie Burke), at the prenuptial fox hunt, in MGM's Remember?, 1939.
Remember? (1939) - I'm Going To Marry Her Too! Sky (Lew Ayres), just returned from a cruise, is introducing his best bachelor pal Jeff (Robert Taylor) to his new girl Linda (Greer Garson), doing her best in MGM's box-office failure follow-up to her hit debut Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Remember?, 1939.
State Fair (1933) - All Women Want Thrills Iowa farm girl Margy (Janet Gaynor), venturing out into the fairgrounds because her escort brother didn't show up, meets citified newsman Pat (Lew Ayres) on the roller-coaster, camera by Hal Mohr, Henry King directing, in State Fair, 1933.

Trailer

People vs. Dr. Kildare, The - (Original Trailer) Is nothing sacred? Even Dr. Kildare is being sued for malpractice in The People vs. Dr. Kildare (1941).
Secret of Dr. Kildare, The - (Original Trailer) Kildare (Lew Ayres) tries to help a woman suffering from psychosomatic blindness in the third of the series, The Secret of Dr. Kildare (1939).
Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day - (Original Trailer) The eighth entry in the series reaches Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day (1941) but things don't work out as planned.
Dr. Kildare's Crisis - (Original Trailer) For the sixth "Kildare" movie, Dr. Kildare's marriage could be called off when the bride's brother is diagnosed with epilepsy.
Dr. Kildare Goes Home - (Original Trailer) For the fifth movie in the series Dr. Kildare Goes Home (1940) after his practitioner father collapses from overwork.
Carpetbaggers, The - (Original Trailer) George Peppard stars in the movie version of Harold Robbins' The Carpetbaggers (1964), loosely based on Howard Hughes' early Hollywood career.
Calling Dr. Kildare - (Original Trailer) For the second "Kildare" movie, Dr. Kildare treats a gangster and falls for the man's kid sister.
Broadway Serenade - (Original Trailer) Career conflicts threaten the marriage of a singer (Jeanette MacDonald) to a young composer (Lew Ayres) in this MGM musical.
All Quiet On The Western Front - (Re-release trailer) The third Academy Award for Best Picture went to this searing saga of a young German soldier in World War I.
Fingers At The Window - (Original Trailer) A magician uses hypnosis to create an army of murderers in Fingers at the Window (1942) starring Basil Rathbone.
Johnny Belinda - (Original Trailer) Jane Wyman won a Best Actress Award portraying a deaf-mute girl who learns to communicate with the help of a small town doctor (Lew Ayres) in Johnny Belinda (1948), directed by Jean Negulesco.
Spring Madness - (Original Trailer) A Harvard man (Lew Ayres) romances a coed (Maureen O'Sullivan) from a nearby college and comes down with Spring Madness (1938).

Family

Justin Bret Ayres
Son
Survived him.

Companions

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

Bibliography

Notes

Served on the US National Committee for UNESCO.