|Lew Ayres in 1930's publicity photo|
|Birthname:||Lewis Frederick Ayres III|
|Born:||December 28, 1908|
|Birthplace:||Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.|
|Died:||December 30, 1996(aged 88)|
|Deathplace:||Los Angeles, CA, U.S.|
|Appeared as:||Lem McCary|
|Appeared on/in:||Little House on the Prairie|
|No. of appearances:||"Welcome to Olesonville" in Season 9|
A venerable Hollywood actor whose film and television career spanned 65 years, Lew is best known for starring as German soldier Paul Bäumer in the film classic All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) and for playing Dr. Kildare in nine movies. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in Johnny Belinda (1948).
His final film as Dr. Kildare, Born to Be Bad, was re-edited after he was drafted and declared himself a conscientious objector in March 1942. This stance almost destroyed Ayres' reputation until it was revealed that he had served honorably as a non-combatant medic from 1942 to 1946. He returned to acting in the films The Dark Mirror (1946) with Olivia de Havilland and The Unfaithful (1947) with Ann Sheridan. For his role in Johnny Belinda (1948) he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, while co-star Jane Wyman won Best Actress.
Ayres gradually moved to television, appearing in several anthology series in guest roles. In the summer of 1958, he hosted eleven original episodes of a CBS Western anthology television series called Frontier Justice, a production of Dick Powell's Four Star Television. He was offered the part of Dr. Kildare in an NBC series but his prescient request that the show have no cigarette advertising led to the offer being withdrawn, and the part going, in 1961, to Richard Chamberlain. He appeared as the Vice-President in Advise & Consent (1962), and in The Carpetbaggers (1964), but he was by then primarily a television actor, with only occasional film work. For a guest role in Kung Fu ("The Vanishing Image", 1974) he was nominated for an Emmy.
Lew Ayres died December 30, 1996, just two days after his 88th birthday. He was survived by his wife of 32 years, actress Diana Hall, and their son, Justin Ayres.