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Lew Ayres
Birth: Dec. 28, 1908
Minneapolis
Hennepin County
Minnesota, USA
Death: Dec. 30, 1996
Los Angeles
Los Angeles County
California, USA

Actor. Born in Minneapolis and raised in San Diego, Lew Ayres was a college dropout, dance-band musician, still in his teens, when he was discovered by Hollywood talent scouts and made his film debut in The Sophomore (1929) and appeared opposite Greta Garbo in The Kiss that same year. His greatest role and one that had a profound affect on the actor in real life, was playing the patriotic, young German soldier in All Quiet on the Western Front (1930). Under contract to Universal, Ayres starred in Iron Man, Spirit of Notre Dame, (both 1931), The Impatient Maiden, Night World, Okay America! (all in 1932) and Donít Bet on Love (1933), where he played opposite his soon to be wife, Ginger Rogers. A series of undistinguished films followed until 1938 when Ayres went to MGM to play an idealistic intern in Young Dr. Kildare, which launched a long and profitable series of films. Ayres teamed with Lionel Barrymore, who played his cantankerous mentor, and Laraine Day, as the nurse who loves him. The role seemed to suit Ayresí thoughtful, quiet nature and he appeared in eight subsequent Kildare films, along with a few other MGM films, until the studio dropped him in 1942 when he announced that he was a conscientious objector, which was tantamount to treason during WWII. Americans were outraged and movie theatres vowed never to show his films again, but Ayres served with the Army as a medic, distinguishing himself under fire in the South Pacific and as a chaplainís aid in New Guinea and the Philippines. His religious beliefs, not an aversion to danger, had compelled him to seek a non-combat role in the war. After the war, Ayres regained public favor in several fine films, including The Dark Mirror (1946), The Unfaithful (1947), and most notably, Johnny Belinda (1948), for which he received a best actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal as a kindly small-town doctor. He also reprised the role of Dr. Kildare for a radio series with Lionel Barrymore. Other notable film appearances include Advise and Consent (1962), The Carpetbaggers (1964), Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973) and Battlestar Galactica (1979). He also appeared in several television movies including The Questor Tapes (1973), Of Mice and Men (1981) and Cast the First Stone (1989). (bio by: Craig Johnson) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Ginger Rogers (1911 - 1995)*
 
*Calculated relationship

Cause of death: Complications from a coma
 
Burial:
Westwood Memorial Park
Los Angeles
Los Angeles County
California, USA
GPS (lat/lon): 34.05823, -118.4416
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 1823
Lew Ayres
Added by: A.J. Marik
 
Lew Ayres
Added by: A.J. Marik
 
Lew Ayres
Added by: Jim Tipton
 
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You were wonderful in Johnny Belinda with Jane Wyman and Agnes Moorhead. You should have won the Best Actor Oscar for your role. May you be at peace.
- Sue Gartman
 Added: Sep. 13, 2014

- Tom Carroll
 Added: Aug. 21, 2014
Since We've Never Met, I Came To Visit You Today Lew, May You Rest In Eternal Peace.
- Robert David Miller
 Added: Jul. 28, 2014
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Current ranking for this person: (4.1 after 230 votes)
 

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