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Lew Ayres

Next stretch: Josef Von Sternberg
Previous star: Dorothy Gish

Biography

Ayres in the 1940s

Source: nndb.com

Lew Ayres was an American actor. A college dropout, Ayres was found by a talent scout in the Coconut Grove nightclub in Los Angeles and entered Hollywood as a bit player in 1927. It was not before long that he was a leading man opposite Greta Garbo in The Kiss (1929). However, 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, Ayres, the popular star of Young Dr. Kildare (1938) and subsequent Dr. Kildare films, was drafted, he was a conscientous objector. The American public was outraged, and theaters vowed to never 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 his role in Johnny Belinda (1948) won him an Academy Award nomination as best actor. He continued to act, but in the 1970's put his long experience into a project to bring Eastern philosophy to the West: the resulting film Altars of the World (1976) won critical acclaim and a Golden Globe Award.

Fact file

  • Born: Lewis Frederick Ayres III December 28, 1908 Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
  • Died: December 30, 1996 (aged 88) Los Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Cause of death: Complications from a coma
  • Resting place: Westwood Village Park Cemetery in Brentwood, California
  • Occupation: Actor
  • Years active: 1929-1994
  • Spouse(s): Lola Lane (m. 1931–33) (divorced) Ginger Rogers (m. 1934–40) (divorced) Diana Hall (m. 1964–96) (his death)

Read more about Lew Ayres at Wikipedia or at the Internet Movie Database

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In the news

Old Hollywood's Lew Ayres served his country as a conscientious objector
LA Times Entertainme, 2017-01-17 13:30:00
Mel Gibson’s acclaimed World War II drama “Hacksaw Ridge” tells the fact-based story of Desmond T. Doss, the first conscientious objector to win the Medal of Honor after saving 75 men at the Battle of Okinawa without using a gun. For religious reasons, the movie shows us, Doss refused to ...

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