Lew Ayres - Rotten Tomatoes

Lew Ayres



The son of a court reporter, actor Lew Ayres began his performing career upon high school graduation when he attempted to make a living as a banjo player. Ayres' college-boy good looks led to extra work in the movies, and before he was 21 the young actor was starring opposite Greta Garbo in The Kiss (1929).

Director Lewis Milestone, recognizing Ayres' natural talent and precocious self-confidence, cast him in the demanding role of disillusioned German soldier Paul Baumer in All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), an intensely powerful antiwar film which went on to win an Academy Award. Ayres was superb, but his gentle demeanor and callow handsomeness resulted in his being stereotyped in film roles as a spoiled rich boy (though one of these roles, as Katharine Hepburn's perennially drunken younger brother in Holiday (1938), was among the actor's best work).

Ayres' star status was boosted in 1938 when he was hired to play Dr. Kildare in MGM's long-running series of Kildare B-pictures. After appearing in nine Kildare films, he declared himself a conscientious objector and refused to bear weapons when called upon to serve in World War II; the actor was publicly perceived to be a coward, and MGM dropped his contract. After the war, the public learned of Ayres' bravery under fire as a non-combatant medical corpsman, and he was permitted to resume his career. He continued to work in character roles throughout the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s; he even portrayed one of Mary Richards' dates on a 1976 episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. As active socially as he was professionally, Ayres was married three times; his second wife was Ginger Rogers. Two days after celebrating his 88th birthday, Ayres died in his sleep in his Los Angeles home.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Don Camillo (The World Of Don Camillo)
  • Actor
2013
No Score Yet Cast the First Stone
  • Martin
1989
No Score Yet Of Mice and Men
  • Actor
1981
85% Salem's Lot
  • Jason Burke
1979
No Score Yet Greatest Heroes of the Bible
  • Actor
1979
31% Battlestar Galactica
  • Adar
1978
No Score Yet End of the World
  • Beckerman
1978
41% Damien---Omen II
  • Bill Atherton
1978
No Score Yet Altars of the World
  • Director
  • Actor
1976
No Score Yet Francis Gary Powers: Story of the U-2 Spy Incident
  • Allen Dulles
1976
No Score Yet Altars of the World: The Western Religions
  • Producer
  • Director
1976
No Score Yet Altars of the World: The Eastern Religions
  • Producer
  • Director
1976
38% Battle For The Planet Of The Apes
  • Mandemus
1973
No Score Yet The Stranger
  • Actor
1973
No Score Yet The Man
  • Harley
1972
No Score Yet The Biscuit Eater
  • Mr. Ames
1972
No Score Yet Earth II
  • President Charles Carter Durant
1971
No Score Yet She Waits
  • Actor
1971
33% The Carpetbaggers
  • McAllister
1964
82% Advise and Consent
  • The Vice-President
1962
55% Donovan's Brain
  • Dr. Patrick Cory
1953
No Score Yet New Mexico
  • Capt. Hunt
1951
No Score Yet New Mexico
  • Actor
1951
No Score Yet The Capture
  • Lin Vanner / Lindley Brown
1950
88% Johnny Belinda
  • Dr. Robert Richardson
1948
No Score Yet The Unfaithful
  • Larry Hannaford
1947
No Score Yet The Dark Mirror
  • Dr. Scott Elliott
1946
No Score Yet Fingers at the Window
  • Oliver Duffy
1942
No Score Yet The People vs. Dr. Kildare (My Life Is Yours)
  • Dr. James Kildare
1941
No Score Yet Dr. Kildare's Crisis
  • Dr. James Kildare
1940
No Score Yet Doctor Kildare Goes Home
  • Dr. James Kildare
1940
No Score Yet Dr. Kildare's Strange Case
  • Dr. James Kildare
1940
No Score Yet Doctor Kildare's Strange Case
  • Actor
1940
No Score Yet The Secret of Dr. Kildare
  • Dr. James Kildare
1939
No Score Yet Calling Dr. Kildare
  • Dr. James 'Jimmy' Kildare
1939
No Score Yet Ice Follies of 1939
  • Eddie Burgess
1939
No Score Yet Broadway Serenade
  • James Geoffrey 'Jimmy' Seymour
1939
No Score Yet These Glamour Girls
  • Philip S. 'Phil' Griswold III
1939
No Score Yet Young Dr. Kildare
  • Dr. James Kildare
1938
100% Holiday
  • Ned Seton
1938
No Score Yet King of the Newsboys
  • Jerry Flynn
1938
No Score Yet The Last Train from Madrid
  • Bill Dexter
1937
No Score Yet The Crime Nobody Saw
  • Nick Milburn
1937
No Score Yet Murder with Pictures
  • Kent Murdock
1936
No Score Yet Shakedown
  • Bob Sanderson
1936
No Score Yet Hearts in Bondage
  • Director
1936
No Score Yet Servants' Entrance
  • Eric Landstrom
1934
No Score Yet She Learned About Sailors
  • Larry Wilson
1934
No Score Yet My Weakness
  • Ronnie Gregory
1933
No Score Yet State Fair
  • Pat Gilbert
1933
No Score Yet Night World
  • Michael Rand
1932
No Score Yet Impatient Maiden
  • Dr. Myron Brown
1932
No Score Yet Okay, America!
  • Actor
1932
No Score Yet The Spirit of Notre Dame (Vigour of Youth)
  • Bucky O'Brien
1931
No Score Yet Iron Man
  • Young Mason
1931
No Score Yet Doorway to Hell
  • Louie Ricarno
1930
98% All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Paul
1930
No Score Yet Common Clay
  • Hugh Fullerton
1930
No Score Yet The Kiss
  • Pierre
1929
No Score Yet Big News
  • Copy Boy
1929

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet Wonder Woman (1976)
1975-1979
  • Dr. Wilson
No Score Yet Little House on the Prairie
1974-1984
  • Actor

Quotes from Lew Ayres' Characters