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Lew Ayres - Wikipedia
Recommended for readers interested in celebrity biographies, World War II, and conscientious objectors. Reviewed by Sally Bryant, Pepperdine Univ.
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Lew Ayres: Hollywood's Conscientious Objector
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Lew Ayres: Hollywood's Conscientious Objector (Hollywood Legends Series)
Lew Ayres became known to the public when he portrayed the leading character in the epic war film All Quiet on the Western Front. The role made him a household name, introduced him to his closest friends, brought him to the attention of his first two wives, and would overshadow the rest of his career.
To be a movie star was his first and only ambition as a chil Lew Ayres became known to the public when he portrayed the leading character in the epic war film All Quiet on the Western Front. To be a movie star was his first and only ambition as a child, but once he found success, he was never fully satisfied in his choice of profession. Although lacking a formal education, Ayres spent the rest of his life pursuing dozens of intellectual studies, interests, and hobbies.
He even considered ended his acting career after just a few years to pursue a more "respectable and fulfilling" path as a director. Ayres was given not one but two comeback opportunities in his acting career, in and He was cast in the film series Dr. Kildare where he showed his abilities in comedy and his unique strength at bringing a level of sincerity to even the most outlandish or idealist character.
But he was willing to give up his star status in order to follow his moral compass, first as a conscientious objector and ultimately as a noncombat medic during World War II. To everyone's surprise, he was welcomed back to Hollywood with open arms and new opportunities despite his objector status. Biographer Lesley L. Coffin presents the story of a man of quiet dignity, constantly searching for the right way to live his life and torn between the public world of Hollywood and secluded life of spiritual introspection.
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the diary of a film history fanatic
Friend Reviews. Louis B. Mayer liked his performance and signed him for the title role in the Dr. Kildare series. He was now a success. Then came World War II.
Films as Actor:
Ayres declared himself a conscientious objector, and Hollywood was quick to denounce him. While the industry hailed the stars who, with maximum publicity, entered the armed forces yet never saw active service, Lew Ayres quietly went about his work as a medical orderly at the South Pacific battlefront. There is a haunting photograph of the actor taping up the wounds of a Japanese prisoner in the Philippines, which appeared in Life magazine 25 December On his return from the war, Ayres had aged.
He looked more assured, more dignified, less a pretty face and more a figure with character and personality. A new phase of his career began, as he immediately appeared in The Dark Mirror as a doctor , The Unfaithful as an attorney , and Johnny Belinda in one of his all-time-best roles, as a compassionate small-town doctor. From the s, his film work has been sporadic, with his most notable credits being Advise and Consent and The Carpetbaggers.
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And his commitment to a spiritualist philosophy remained a constant, as evidenced by his involvement in the documentaries Altars of the East and Altars of the World. Toggle navigation. Kildare Bucquet title role Dr. Film as Director: Hearts in Bondage.
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