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Leon Ames

Filmography

1931      

Quick Millions 

 

1932      

Cannonball Express 

Murders in the Rue Morgue 

Stowaway 

State’s Attorney 

The Famous Ferguson Case

Thirteen Women 

A Successful Calamity 

That’s My Boy 

Uptown New York 

Silver Dollar 

 

1933      

Parachute Jumper 

Forgotten 

Alimony Madness 

The Man Who Dared

Ship of Wanted Men 

Only Yesterday 

 

1934      

The Crosby Case

I’ll Tell the World 

Now I’ll Tell 

The Count of Monte Cristo 

 

1935      

Mutiny Ahead

Rescue Squad 

Reckless 

Strangers All 

Get That Man 

 

1936      

Death in the Air 

 

1937      

Charlie Chan on Broadway 

Dangerously Yours 

Murder in Greenwich Village 

45 Fathers 

 

1938      

The Spy Ring 

International Settlement 

Walking Down Broadway 

Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife 

Island in the Sky 

Come On, Leathernecks! 

Mysterious Mr. Moto 

Suez 

Cipher Bureau 

Strange Faces 

Secrets of a Nurse

 

1939      

Risky Business 

Blackwell’s Island 

I Was a Convict 

Panama Patrol

Mr. Moto in Danger Island 

Code of the Streets 

Man of Conquest 

Fugitive at Large 

Thunder Afloat 

Calling All Marines

Pack Up Your Troubles 

Marshal of Mesa City 

Legion of Lost Flyers 

 

1940      

East Side Kids 

 

1941      

No Greater Sin

Ellery Queen and the Murder Ring 

 

1943      

Crime Doctor 

The Iron Major 

 

1944      

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo

Meet Me in St. Louis

 

1945      

Between Two Women 

Son of Lassie 

Anchors Aweigh 

Week-End at the Waldorf 

Yolanda and the Thief 

They Were Expendable

The Thin Man Goes Home

 

1946      

The Postman Always Rings Twice 

No Leave, No Love 

The Cockeyed Miracle

The Show-Off 

The Great Morgan 

 

1947      

Lady in the Lake 

Undercover Maisie 

Song of the Thin Man 

Merton of the Movies 

 

1948      

Alias a Gentleman

On an Island with You 

The Velvet Touch

A Date with Judy 

 

1949      

Little Women 

Any Number Can Play

Scene of the Crime

Battleground 

 

1950      

Ambush 

The Big Hangover 

The Skipper Surprised His Wife

Crisis

The Happy Years

Dial 1119

Watch the Birdie

 

1951      

On Moonlight Bay

Cattle Drive 

It’s a Big Country 

 

1952      

Angel Face 

 

1953      

By the Light of the Silvery Moon 

Let’s Do It Again 

Sabre Jet 

 

1957      

Peyton Place 

 

1960      

From the Terrace

 

1961      

The Absent-Minded Professor 

 

1963      

Son of Flubber 

 

1965      

The Misadventures of Merlin Jones 

 

1965      

The Monkey’s Uncle 

 

1970      

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever 

Tora! Tora! Tora! 

 

1971      

Toklat

 

1972      

Hammersmith Is Out 

 

1973      

Brother of the Wind 

 

1975      

The Meal 

Timber Tramps

 

1977      

Claws 

 

1979      

Just You and Me, Kid 

 

1983      

Testament 

 

1986      

Jake Speed 

Peggy Sue Got Married

Awards

Leon Ames was never nominated for an Academy Award

Leon Ames: Learn more about him, review his filmography and more

Biographies, Actors

Leon Ames was born Harry Wycoff 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.

Ames made his film debut in Quick Millions (1931). During the 1940s, he was under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He played the important role of Mr. Smith in 1944’s massive hit and subsequent classic Meet Me in St. Louis.

Ames appeared in a featured role in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) as district attorney Kyle Sackett. He also appeared in the Doris Day-Gordon MacRae film On Moonlight Bay, its sequel, By the Light of the Silvery Moon, and Peyton Place (1957). He played the role of Samuel Eaton, Alfred Eaton’s (Paul Newman) father, in From the Terrace (1960). He appeared in the 1961 Walt Disney comedy The Absent-Minded Professor as Medfield College President Rufus Daggett and in the 1963 sequel, Son of Flubber. In 1970, he played Secretary of the 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). His presence in the latter program was such that, after the show had been on the air a few months, Ames’ role was increased because father, played by veteran character actor Leon Ames became the dominant figure in the whole show.

He joined the cast of Mister Ed (1963–66) as Wilbur Post’s neighbor, retired Colonel Gordon Kirkwood, after the death of actor Larry Keating, who had played Post’s original neighbor Roger Addison. Ames also appeared in episodes of the NBC anthology series, The Barbara Stanwyck Show, and on the short-lived CBS legal drama, Storefront Lawyers.

On February 12, 1964, Ames and his wife were held hostage in their home as an intruder demanded $50,000 before he would free them. Ames called his business partner, who obtained the money from a bank and delivered it to the house as instructed. After inspecting the cash, the kidnapper left Ames in the house, bound with tape, and instructed Mrs. Ames to drive him in the couple’s car. He also forced both the business partner and a guest in the Ames house into the trunk. Eventually, police (who had been alerted by the partner while he was picking up the money) surrounded the car and freed the hostages.

He was one of the founders of the Screen Actors Guild in 1933 and 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.

Ames died in 1993 of complications after suffering a stroke. He was buried at the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.