Lew Ayres

Lew Ayres

  • Born on
    • December 28th, 1908
  • Died on
    • December 30th, 1996
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.

Starring Lew Ayres on Plex


Acting (27 Credits)

1992MGM: When the Lion Roars
1984The World of Don Camillo as Doc
1979Salem's Lot as Jason Burke
1978Damien: Omen II as Bill Atherton
1978Battlestar Galactica as President Adar
1977End of the World as Com. Joseph BeckermanWatch Free
1976That's Entertainment, Part II as (archive footage)
1974The Questor Tapes as Vaslovik
1973The Stranger as Prof. Dylan MacAuley
1973Battle for the Planet of the Apes as Mandemus
1964The Carpetbaggers as 'Mac' McAllister
1962Advise & Consent as The Vice President
1953Donovan's Brain as Dr. Patrick J. Cory
1951New Mexico as Captain Erik HuntWatch Free
1950The Capture as Lin Vanner / Lindley BrownWatch Free
1948Johnny Belinda as Dr. Robert Richardson
1947The Unfaithful as Larry Hannaford
1946The Dark Mirror as Dr. Scott Elliott
1942Fingers at the Window as Oliver Duffy
1939The Ice Follies of 1939 as Eddie Burgess
1939Remember? as Sky Ames
1938Young Dr. Kildare as Dr. James Kildare
1938Holiday as Ned Seton
1933State Fair as Pat Gilbert
1930The Doorway to Hell as Louie Ricarno
1930All Quiet on the Western Front as Paul Bäumer
1929The Kiss as Pierre Lassalle


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