as Kyle Sackett from the trailer for the film
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
January 20, 1902
Portland, Indiana, U.S.
|Died||October 12, 1993
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Christine Gossett (1938-1993; his death; 2 children) (1912-2005)|
|Children||Shelley Ames (b. 1940)
Leon Ames Jr. (b. 1943)
Leon Ames (January 20, 1902 – October 12, 1993) was 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 his 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. His most famous role came as DA Kyle Sackett from the film The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946).
Life and career
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 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 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). 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,' as played by veteran character actor Leon Ameb, became the dominant figure in the whole show."
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 episodes of the NBC anthology series, The Barbara Stanwyck Show and on the short-lived CBS legal drama, Storefront Lawyers.
In 1980, after 50 years in show business, Leon Ames was presented with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.
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.
- Quick Millions (1931)
- The Famous Ferguson Case (1932)
- Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)
- That's My Boy (1932)
- Uptown New York (1932)
- Forgotten (1933) (as Leon Wycoff)
- Death in the Air (1936)
- Dangerously Yours (1937)
- Charlie Chan on Broadway (1937)
- Murder in Greenwich Village (1937)
- 45 Fathers (1937)
- International Settlement (1938)
- Island in the Sky (1938)
- Cipher Bureau (1938)
- Suez (1938)
- Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938)
- Man of Conquest (1939)
- Thunder Afloat (1939)
- Mr. Moto in Danger Island (1939)
- East Side Kids (1940)
- Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
- Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)
- The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)
- Son of Lassie (1945)
- Anchors Aweigh (1945)
- Week-End at the Waldorf (1945)
- Yolanda and the Thief (1945)
- They Were Expendable (1945)
- The Cockeyed Miracle (1946)
- The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
- Lady in the Lake (1947)
- Song of the Thin Man (1947)
- Alias a Gentleman (1948)
- On an Island with You (1948)
- The Velvet Touch (1948)
- A Date with Judy (1948)
- Little Women (1949)
- Any Number Can Play (1949)
- Battleground (1949)
- Ambush (1950)
- The Happy Years (1950)
- Dial 1119 (1950)
- The Big Hangover (1950)
- On Moonlight Bay (1951)
- Cattle Drive (1951)
- Angel Face (1952)
- By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953)
- Let's Do It Again (1953)
- Life With Father (1953) Television show
- Peyton Place (1957)
- From the Terrace (1960)
- The Absent-Minded Professor (1961)
- Son of Flubber (1963)
- The Misadventures of Merlin Jones (1964)
- The Monkey's Uncle (1965)
- The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1970)
- Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)
- Toklat (1971)
- Hammersmith Is Out (1972)
- Brother of the Wind (1973)
- Timber Tramps (1975)
- Just You and Me, Kid (1979)
- Testament (1983)
- Jake Speed (1986)
- Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
- Cameron-Wilson, James; Speed, F. Maurice (1994), Film Review 1994-5, Great Britain: Virgin Books, p. 162, ISBN 0-86369-842-5
- Lesser, Jerry (January 17, 1942). "Radio Talent: New York". Billboard. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
- Gray, M (March 3, 1962). "Father of Bride Dominant Figure". Simpson's Leader-Times. p. 10. Retrieved September 2, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Rieder, Ron (February 13, 1964). "Kidnap, Free Mrs. Leon Ames". The Van Nuys News. pp. 1, 18. Retrieved September 2, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Leon Ames at the Internet Movie Database
- Leon Ames at AllMovie
- Leon Ames at the TCM Movie Database
- Leon Ames at the Internet Broadway Database
|Awards and achievements|
|Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award