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Leon Ames
Leon Ames
Credits
Role Howard McMann
Biographical Information
Birthdate January 20, 1902
Birthplace Portland, Indiana, United States
Death Date October 12, 1993 (age 91)
Death Place Laguna Beach, California, United States[1]

Leon Ames played Howard McMann, Chairman of the Board of McMann & Tate, in the sixth season episode, "What Makes Darrin Run?" (1970).

Biography[]

Leon Ames was an American stage, film and television actor. He is best remembered for playing father figures in such films as Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Little Women (1949), On Moonlight Bay (1951), and By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953). The fathers whom Ames portrayed were often somewhat stuffy and exasperated by the younger generation, but ultimately kind and understanding. One of his best-known roles was as District Attorney Kyle Sackett in the film, The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946).

Leon Ames was born on January 20, 1902, in Portland, Indiana, son of Charles Elmer Wycoff and his wife Cora A. De Moss. Some sources list his original last name as "Wykoff" or "Waycoff", and in his early films, he acted under the name "Leon Waycoff". In 1935, Ames explained that he changed his name because Waycoff was often misspelled and mispronounced. Ames was his mother's maiden name.

He attended Indiana University at Bloomington, and he served in World War I, first in field artillery and later in the flying corps.

Ames debuted on Broadway in It Pays to Sin (1933). His other Broadway credits include Howie (1958), Winesburg, Ohio, (1958), Slightly Married (1943), The Russian People (1942), Little Darling (1942), Guest in the House (1942), The Land Is Bright (1941), The Male Animal (1940), Thirsty Soil (1937), A House in the Country (1937), and Bright Honor (1936).

Ames' first film appearance was in the sombre, expressionistic Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932), an Edgar Allan Poe adaptation, in which he played the dependable love interest of heroine Sidney Fox. For the next three years, he appeared under his birth name (Leon Waycoff) in a variety of B-movies for "Poverty Row" studios like Mayfair, Showmen's Pictures, World-Wide, Empire and Majestic. His first film as 'Leon Ames' was the Shirley Temple vehicle, Stowaway (1932). For the next few years he played a variety of stalwart characters and the occasional bad guy in such cheerful potboilers as the anemic Murder in Greenwich Village (1937) and the amusing Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938). There were also occasional highlights: he popped up in Ernst Lubitsch's last film at Paramount, Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938), with Gary Cooper and Myrna Loy, and even starred as the leading man of Cipher Bureau (1938) and Panama Patrol (1939), albeit at Grand National.

Ames' career improved dramatically after playing Judy Garland's father Alonzo in MGM's classic, Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), directed by Vincente Minnelli. For the first time, his acting abilities were well employed, especially his ability to deliver dryly humorous one-liners.

Signed to a contract at MGM, Ames was now cast in pivotal character roles in more important A-grade output, usually as put-upon, loving fathers. He appeared in the Doris Day-Gordon MacRae film On Moonlight Bay (1951), in its sequel By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953), and in Peyton Place (1957). He appeared in a featured role in the film noir The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), portraying the District Attorney Kyle Sackett. Other film roles include From the Terrace (1960), The Absent-Minded Professor (1961), Son of Flubber (1963), Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970). His last screen role was in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986).

Ames' first radio broadcast was in January 1942 on Grand Central Station. His television roles included Life With Father (1953-1955) and Father of the Bride (1961-1962). Ames had the title role of judge John Cooper in the syndicated series Frontier Judge (1958-1959, 1961) and played Howard McMann in Bewitched (1970). Other television appearances include Mister Ed (1963-1966), NBC Anthology Series, The Barbara Stanwyck Show (1960-1961), and Storefront Lawyers (1970-1971).

Ames was one of nineteen actors, who - after a clandestine meeting in June 1933 - established the Screen Actor's Guild. For thirty years (commencing in 1945) he held a senior executive position as recording secretary. He served as its president in 1957-1958. In 1980, after fifty years in show business, Leon Ames received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. He also served on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Ames wed actress Christine Gossett in 1938. The couple had a daughter, Shelley, and a son, Leon. Christine retired early from acting to raise their family. They remained married until Ames' death in 1993.

On October 12, 1993, Ames died in Laguna Beach, California, of complications after suffering a stroke. He was 91.[2][3]

References[]

  1. Leon Ames on the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on March 29, 2020.
  2. Leon Ames on Wikipedia. Retrieved on March 29, 2020, edited.
  3. Leon Ames biography on the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on March 29, 2020, edited.
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