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Lew Ayres was born in Minnesota in 1908, but he was raised in San Diego, California. After two minor roles in 1929 he landed the plum role of the young man who gives Greta Garbo the "kiss" in her movie "The Kiss", and that got him noticed, and his very next picture was the starring role in Lewis Milestone's anti-war classic, All Quiet on the Western Front, which made him a major star. He starred in over 20 movies through the early and mid 1930s. In 1937 Paramount had made Internes Can't Take Money, a "young doctor" picture starring Joel McCrea as Dr. Kildare, and MGM decided to make a series about that character the following year, but McCrea was a Paramount star, so they cast Ayres, who was under contract to MGM, in the lead in the first of these, Young Dr. Kildare, and he was very popular, and EIGHT sequels were cranked out in just four years! But then Ayres was drafted in WWII, and he declared himself a conscientious objector, which was a wildly unpopular thing to do at that time, and the public and MGM said they would never view another Lew Ayres movie. But he joined the Medical Corps and served as both a medic and a chaplain's aid, and slowly he was rehabilitated with the public, as news of his service was reported. After the war he starred in a few movies, including a notable role in Johnny Belinda, where he was nominated for Best Actor. But like so many other aging leading men, starring roles grew scarce for Ayres, and after taking the lead in the low budget Donovan's Brain, Ayres turned to TV, where he made scores of appearances. He completely turned his back on making movies, but he did have one notable appearance, looking as handsome as ever, in the small but important role as Vice President Harley Hudson in Advise and Consent in 1962. He made a few TV appearances all the way up to 1994, and he passed away in 1996 at the age of 88.
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