Biography

Lew Ayres was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and raised in San Diego, California. A college dropout, he was found by a talent scout in the Coconut Grove nightclub in Los Angeles and entered Hollywood as a bit player. He was leading man to Greta Garbo in The Kiss (1929), but it was the role of Paul Baumer in All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) that was his big break. He was profoundly affected by the anti-war message of that film, and when, in 1942, the popular star of Young Dr. Kildare (1938) and subsequent Dr. Kildare films was drafted, he was a conscientious objector. America was outraged, and theaters vowed never to show his films again, but quietly he achieved the Medical Corps status he had requested, serving as a medic under fire in the South Pacific and as a chaplain's aid in New Guinea and the Phillipines. His return to film after the war was undistinguished until Johnny Belinda (1948) - his role as the sympathetic physician treating the deaf-mute Jane Wyman won him an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor. Subsequent movie roles were scarce; an opportunity to play Dr. Kildare in television was aborted when the network refused to honor his request for no cigarette sponsorship. He continued to act, but in the 1970s put his long experience into a project to bring to the west the philosophy of the East - the resulting film, Altars of the World (1976), while not a box-office success, won critical acclaim and a Golden Globe Award. Lew Ayres died in Los Angeles, California on December 30, 1996, just two days after his 88th birthday.

Lew Ayres was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and raised in San Diego, California. A college dropout, he was found by a talent scout in the Coconut Grove nightclub in Los Angeles and entered Hollywood as a bit player. He was leading man to Greta Garbo in The Kiss (1929), but it was the role of Paul Baumer in All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) that was his big break. He was profoundly affected by the anti-war message of that film, and when, in 1942, the popular star of Young Dr. Kildare (1938) and subsequent Dr. Kildare films was drafted, he was a conscientious objector. America was outraged, and theaters vowed never to show his films again, but quietly he achieved the Medical Corps status he had requested, serving as a medic under fire in the South Pacific and as a chaplain's aid in New Guinea and the Phillipines. His return to film after the war was undistinguished until Johnny Belinda (1948) - his role as the sympathetic physician treating the deaf-mute Jane Wyman won him an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor. Subsequent movie roles were scarce; an opportunity to play Dr. Kildare in television was aborted when the network refused to honor his request for no cigarette sponsorship. He continued to act, but in the 1970s put his long experience into a project to bring to the west the philosophy of the East - the resulting film, Altars of the World (1976), while not a box-office success, won critical acclaim and a Golden Globe Award. Lew Ayres died in Los Angeles, California on December 30, 1996, just two days after his 88th birthday.

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Male

Known Credits 148

Birthday 1908-12-28

Day of Death 1996-12-30

Place of Birth Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • Lewis Frederick Ayre III

Acting TV ShowsMovies

1994 Hart to Hart: Crimes of the Hart as Prof. Cabel
1992 MGM: When the Lion Roars (3 episodes)
1989 Cast the First Stone as Martin
1986 Outlaws (1 episode)
1986 L.A. Law (1 episode)
1986 Under Siege as John Pace
1985 Lime Street (8 episodes)
1984 Finder of Lost Loves (1 episode)
1984 Highway to Heaven (3 episodes)
1984 Geschundenes Zelluloid - Das Schicksal des Kinoklassikers 'Im Westen nichts Neues' as Himself
1983 Don Camillo as Doc
1983 The A-Team (1 episode) as Bernie Greene
1982 Hotel (1 episode)
1982 Cagney & Lacey (1 episode)
1982 Fame (1 episode)
1981 Simon & Simon (1 episode)
1980 Magnum, P.I. (1 episode)
1979 Knots Landing (1 episode)
1979 Salem's Lot (2 episodes) as Jason Burke
1979 Trapper John, M.D. (1 episode)
1978 Suddenly, Love as Mr. Graham
1978 The Story of Noah as Noah
1978 Flying High (1 episode)
1978 Battlestar Galactica as President Adar
1978 Damien: Omen II as Bill Atherton
1977 The Love Boat (1 episode)
1977 End of the World as Com. Joseph Beckerman
1977 The Fantastic Journey (1 episode)
1976 Quincy, M.E. (1 episode)
1976 Francis Gary Powers: The True Story of the U-2 Spy Incident as Allen Dulles
1976 That's Entertainment, Part II as (archive footage)
1976 The Bionic Woman (2 episodes)
1975 Wonder Woman (1 episode)
1974 Little House on the Prairie (1 episode)
1974 Heatwave! as Dr. Grayson
1974 The Questor Tapes as Vaslovik
1973 The Magician (1 episode)
1973 Battle for the Planet of the Apes as Mandemus
1973 Hawkins (1 episode)
1973 The Stranger as Prof. Dylan MacAuley
1972 Kung Fu (1 episode)
1972 The Streets of San Francisco (1 episode)
1972 The Man as Noah Calvin
1972 The Biscuit Eater as Mr. Ames
1972 She Waits
1971 Earth II as President Charles Carter Durant
1971 McMillan & Wife (1 episode)
1971 Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law (1 episode)
1971 Columbo (1 episode) as Prof. Nicholson
1970 San Francisco International Airport (1 episode)
1970 The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1 episode)
1970 The Interns (1 episode)
1968 Here Come the Brides (1 episode)
1968 Hawaii Five-O (3 episodes)
1966 ABC Stage 67 (1 episode)
1965 Hollywood My Home Town as Himself
1965 The F.B.I. (1 episode)
1965 The Big Valley (2 episodes)
1964 Slattery's People (1 episode)
1964 The Carpetbaggers as 'Mac' McAllister
1963 Kraft Suspense Theatre (1 episode)
1963 Hollywood Without Make-Up
1962 The Virginian (1 episode)
1962 Saints and Sinners (1 episode)
1962 Advise & Consent as The Vice President
1961 Ben Casey (1 episode)
1961 Bus Stop (1 episode)
1960 Route 66 (1 episode)
1960 My Three Sons (1 episode)
1960 The Barbara Stanwyck Show (1 episode)
1959 The DuPont Show with June Allyson (1 episode)
1959 Laramie (1 episode)
1958 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse (1 episode)
1956 Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater (3 episodes)
1955 Screen Director's Playhouse (1 episode)
1955 Gunsmoke (1 episode)
1954 Climax! (1 episode)
1953 Donovan's Brain as Dr. Patrick J. Cory
1953 No Escape as John Howard Tracy
1952 Omnibus (1 episode)
1952 This Is Your Life (1 episode)
1952 Cavalcade of America (1 episode)
1951 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars (1 episode)
1951 New Mexico as Captain Erik Hunt
1950 The Capture as Lin Vanner / Lindley Brown
1950 The Ken Murray Show (1 episode)
1948 Johnny Belinda as Dr. Robert Richardson
1947 The Unfaithful as Larry Hannaford
1947 The Way of Peace as Narrator (voice)
1946 The Dark Mirror as Dr. Scott Elliott
1946 Blow-Ups of 1946 as Himself
1942 Fingers at the Window as Oliver Duffy
1942 Dr. Kildare's Victory as Dr. James 'Jimmy' Kildare
1941 Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day as Dr. James Kildare
1941 The People Vs. Dr. Kildare as Dr. James Kildare
1941 Maisie Was a Lady as Robert 'Bob' 'Bobby' Rawlston
1940 Dr. Kildare's Crisis as Dr. James Kildare
1940 Dr. Kildare Goes Home as Dr. James Kildare
1940 The Golden Fleecing as Henry Twinkle
1940 Hollywood: Style Center of the World as Himself
1940 Dr. Kildare's Strange Case as Dr. James 'Jimmy' Kildare
1940 The Miracle of Sound as Himself
1939 Remember? as Sky Ames
1939 The Secret of Dr. Kildare as Dr. James 'Jimmy' Kildare
1939 These Glamour Girls as Philip S. Griswold III
1939 From the Ends of the Earth
1939 Calling Dr. Kildare as Dr. James 'Jimmy' Kildare
1939 Broadway Serenade as James Geoffrey 'Jimmy' Seymour
1939 The Ice Follies of 1939 as Eddie Burgess
1938 Spring Madness as Sam Thatcher
1938 Young Dr. Kildare as Dr. James Kildare
1938 Rich Man, Poor Girl as Henry Thayer
1938 Holiday as Ned Seton
1938 King of the Newsboys as Jerry Flynn
1938 Scandal Street as Joe McKnight
1937 Hold 'Em Navy as Tommy Graham
1937 The Last Train from Madrid as Bill Dexter
1937 The Crime Nobody Saw as Nick Milburn
1936 Murder with Pictures as Kent Murdock
1936 Lady Be Careful as Chester aka Dynamite
1936 Panic On The Air as Jerry Franklin
1936 The Leathernecks Have Landed as Woodruff 'Woody' Davis
1935 Silk Hat Kid as Eddie Howard
1935 Spring Tonic as Caleb Enix
1935 The Lottery Lover as Cadet Frank Harrington
1934 Servants' Entrance
1934 She Learned About Sailors as Larry Wilson
1934 Cross Country Cruise as Norman Winthrop
1933 My Weakness as Ronnie Gregory
1933 Don't Bet on Love as Bill McCaffery
1933 State Fair as Pat Gilbert
1932 Okay, America! as Larry Wayne
1932 Night World as Michael Rand
1932 The Cohens and Kellys in Hollywood as Lew Ayres
1932 The Impatient Maiden as Dr. Myron Brown
1931 Heaven on Earth as States
1931 The Spirit of Notre Dame as Buck O'Brien
1931 Up for Murder as Robert Marshall
1931 Iron Man as Kid Mason
1930 East Is West as Billy Benson
1930 The Doorway to Hell as Louie Ricarno
1930 Common Clay as Hugh Fullerton
1930 All Quiet on the Western Front as Paul Bäumer
1929 The Kiss as Pierre Lassalle
1929 Big News as Copyboy (uncredited)
1929 The Sophomore as Sophomore Fraternity Brother (uncredited)

Directing

1976 Altars of the World Director
1936 Hearts in Bondage Director

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