Lew Ayres was an American actor.
Born in Minneapolis and raised in San Diego, Ayres began his movie career in 1929 and soon became well-known as Dr. Kildare in a series of films. His stance as a conscientious objector during World War II was partly inspired by his starring role in the pacifist film All Quiet on the Western Front, but it almost ended his career. However, he served with great distinction as a combat medic in New Guinea and the Phillipines, receiving several citations, and he once again became a respected actor after the war and earned a best actor Oscar nomination in 1949. He turned down the chance to reprise the role of Dr. Kildare on TV in 1961 because he objected to cigarette company sponsorship, the part going instead to Richard Chamberlain.
Lew Ayres starred in his first science-fiction movie - the macabre Donovan's Brain - in 1953 with the future Nancy Reagan, and was cast as the suitably pacifist orangutan Mandemus in the 1973 movie Battle for the Planet of the Apes. He also played the doomed 'President Adar' in the pilot movie of another sci-fi franchise, Battlestar Galactica, in 1978, and continued to act until shortly before his death at 88.
- Lew Ayres was buried next to musician Frank Zappa in Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles.
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