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Lew Ayres

Lew Ayres

Known For: Acting · Birthday: 1908-12-28

84 Movies · 5 TV Series

Biography

Lewis Frederick Ayres III (December 28, 1908 – December 30, 1996) was an American actor whose film and television career spanned 65 years. He is best known for starring as German soldier Paul Bäumer in the film All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) and for playing Dr. Kildare in nine movies. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in Johnny Belinda (1948).

Personal Life

Ayres was married three times. He was married to actress Lola Lane from 1931 until 1933; and to actress Ginger Rogers, whom he met while starring in the film Don't Bet on Love (1933), from 1934 until 1940. He was separated from both women considerably earlier than their legal divorces. His third marriage, to Diana Hall, lasted from 1964 until his death in 1996. Their son Justin was born in 1968.

Early Life

Ayres was born in Minneapolis to Irma Bevernick and Louis Ayres, who divorced when he was four. Louis, an amateur musician and court reporter, remarried soon afterwards. As a teen, he and his mother moved with his step-father, William Gilmore, and half brother and sister to San Diego, California.Leaving high school before graduating, he started a small band which traveled to Mexico. He returned months later to pursue an acting career, but continued working full-time as a musician. He played banjo and guitar for big bands, including the Henry Halstead Orchestra. He recorded one of the earliest Vitaphone movie shorts called Carnival Night in Paris (Warner Brothers, 1927). Ayres wrote, "I was a member of Henry Halstead's orchestra in 1927 at the Mission Beach Ballroom in San Diego, California for the summer. My instruments were tenor banjo, long-neck banjo and guitar. After a hiatus, I rejoined Mr. Halstead with a new group, including Phil Harris, on New Year's Eve the same year for the opening night of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, a memorable occasion."He left a national tour to pursue a career as an actor full-time.

Movies & TV Series

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