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Leon Ames Overview:

Character actor, Leon Ames, was born Leon (or Harry) Waycoff on Jan 20, 1902 in Portland, IN. Ames appeared in over 155 film and TV roles. His best known films include Meet Me in St. Louis (as Mr. Alonzo Smith, Judy Garland's father), On Moonlight Bay (as George Winfield, Doris Day's dad), 1949's Little Women (as Mr. March) and From the Terrace (Alfred Eaton, Paul Newman's father). He also co-starred on the Mister Ed TV series from 1963 to 1966 as Wilbur's neighbor, Gordon "The Colonel" Kirkwood. Ames died at the age of 91 on Oct 12, 1993 in Laguna Beach, CA and was laid to rest in Forest Lawn (Hollywood Hills) Cemetery in Los Angeles, CA.

MINI BIO:

Stocky and moustachioed, Leon Ames began his career in semi-leading roles, but never seemed quite at home in them, and moved from dapper, man-about-town types in the 1930s to faintly harassed fathers in later years. His two most successful television series reflected this: Life with Father and Father of the Bride. Ames was still active into his early eighties, having returned from retirement in 1970. He acted as Leon Waycoff in all his early films, up to and including Reckless in 1935.

(Source: available at Amazon Quinlan's Illustrated Dictionary of Film Character Actors).

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Leon Ames Quotes:

Rose Smith, Esther Smith: [singing] Meet me in St. Louie, Louie, meet me at...
Mr. Alonzo Smith: For heaven's sake, stop that screeching!
Rose Smith: We're sorry, Papa.
Mr. Alonzo Smith: The fair won't open for seven months, and that's all anybody ever sings about or talks about. I wish they would all meet at the fair and leave me alone.


Esther Smith: Papa, if losing a case depresses you so, why don't you quit practicing law and go into another line of business?
Mr. Alonzo Smith: That's a good idea. Starting tomorrow, I intend to play first base for the Baltimore Orioles. I'm sorry, Anna, if I was a little bombastic.
Mrs. Anna Smith: That's all right, dear, you'll feel better once you've had your dinner.
Mr. Alonzo Smith: I suppose so, but right now I'm going to soak in that cool bathtub for one solid hour.
Esther Smith: But that's impossible. Dinner's being served in five minutes.
Mr. Alonzo Smith: It's only five twenty-five, not six twenty-five.
Mrs. Anna Smith: We've planned on eating an hour early tonight.
Mr. Alonzo Smith: Well, the plans have just been changed. I'm taking a bath.
Mrs. Anna Smith: We're eating early for Katie's sake. Family trouble. She wants to go over there as soon as we've finished eating. Her sister's fighting with her husband.
Mr. Alonzo Smith: I see. And I suppose they'll stop fighting if I don't take a bath?
Mrs. Anna Smith: Now she's been with us for ten years, and she never asks favors. We don't want to risk losing her.
Esther Smith: No, nowadays you can't get a maid for less than twelve dollars a month.
Mr. Alonzo Smith: I don't care if we have to pay a maid fifteen dollars a month! Dinner's at six-thirty, and if Katie wants to hand in her notice, she can reach me in the bathtub!


The Chaplain: [at an interfaith service for the soldiers] Now it's nearly Christmas... and here we are in beautiful Bastogne enjoying the winter sports. And the $64 question is: "Was this trip necessary?" I'll try to answer that. But my sermons, like everything else in the army... depend on the situation and the terrain. So I assure you this is going to be a quickie. Was this trip necessary? Let's look at the facts. Nobody wanted this war but the Nazis. A great many people tried to deal with them, and a lot of them are dead. Millions have died... for no other reason except that the Nazis wanted them dead. So, in the final showdown, there was nothing left to do except fight. There's a great lesson in this. Those of us who've learned it the hard way aren't going to forget it. We must never again let any force dedicated to a super-race... or a super-idea, or super-anything... become strong enough to impose itself upon a free world. We must be smart enough and tough enough in the beginning... to put out the fire before it starts spreading. My answer to the sixty-four dollar question is yes, this trip was necessary. As the years go by, a lot of people are going to forget. But you won't. And don't ever let anybody tell you you were a sucker to fight in the war against fascism. And now, Jerry permitting, let us pray. Almighty God...
[artillery drowns him out]
The Chaplain: The organist is hitting those bass notes a little too loud for me to be heard. So let each of us pray in his own way, to his own God.


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Leon Ames Facts
President of Screen Actors Guild (SAG). [1957-1958]

Appeared sporadically on Broadway from late 1933-1958.

Leon Ames also owned the Ames Ford Dealership on Francisco Blvd in San Rafael, California in the 60s and 70s.

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