Leon AmesShow Count: 4
Series Count: 0
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Born: January 20, 1902
, Portland, Indiana, U.S.
Died: October 12, 1993, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
An American film and television actor. He is best remembered for playing father figures in such films as Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) with Judy Garland as one of daughters, 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.
Leon Ames was born Harry Wycoff on January 20, 1902 in Portland, Indiana, the son of Cora A. (née De Moss) and Charles Elmer Wycoff. Some sources list his original last name as "Wykoff" or "Waycoff," and in his early films he acted under the name Leon Waycoff.
He made his film debut in Quick Millions (1931). During the 1940s he was under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
He appeared in a featured role in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) as district attorney Kyle Sackett. Leon Ames also appeared in the Doris Day-Gordon MacRae film On Moonlight Bay and in its sequel, By the Light of the Silvery Moon; and Peyton Place (1957). He played the role of Samuel Eaton, Alfred Eaton (Paul Newman)'s father, in From the Terrace (1960). In 1970, he played Secretary of Navy Frank Knox in the action war film Tora! Tora! Tora!. His last film role was in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), as Kathleen Turner's character's grandfather Barney Alvorg.
His television roles included leads in the adaptations of Life With Father (1953–55) and Father of the Bride (1961–62). He co-starred on Mister Ed(1963–66) as Wilbur Post's neighbor, Gordon "The Colonel" Kirkwood, after Larry Keating's death. He also appeared in the NBC anthology series, The Barbara Stanwyck Show.
He was one of the founders of the Screen Actors Guild in 1933. He served as its president in 1957.
In 1980, after 50 years in show business, Leon Ames was presented with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.