Don Ameche

Actor, Singer, Circus ringmaster
With his good looks and trademark pencil thin moustache, Don Ameche specialized in musicals and comedies during the 1930s and 1940s, often cast as likeable, upper-class sophisticates. He earned his first notoriety on ... Read more »
Born: 05/31/1908 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA


Actor (67)

Corrina, Corrina 1994 (Movie)

Grandpa Harry (Actor)

Homeward Bound: the Incredible Journey 1993 (Movie)

of Shadow--The Golden Retriever (Voice)

Folks! 1992 (Movie)

Harry Aldrich (Actor)

1990 King Orange Jamboree Parade 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)


Oscar 1991 (Movie)

Father Clemente (Actor)

Our Shining Moment 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)


Oddball Hall 1990 (Movie)


Cocoon: the Return 1988 (Movie)

Art Selwyn (Actor)

Coming to America 1988 (Movie)

Mortimer Duke (Actor)

Things Change 1988 (Movie)

Gino (Actor)

Harry and the Hendersons 1987 (Movie)

Dr Wallace Wrightwood (Actor)

The 59th Annual Academy Awards Presentation 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)


The 12th Annual People's Choice Awards 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)


The American Film Institute Salute to Billy Wilder 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)


Cocoon 1985 (Movie)

Art Selwyn (Actor)

Not in Front of the Kids 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)


Trading Places 1983 (Movie)

Mortimer Duke (Actor)

Boston and Kilbride 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)


Shepherd's Flock 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)


Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came? 1970 (Movie)

Colonel Flanders (Actor)

The Boatniks 1970 (Movie)

Commander Taylor (Actor)

Picture Mommy Dead 1966 (Movie)

Edward Shelley (Actor)

A Fever in the Blood 1960 (Movie)

Senator A S Simon (Actor)

Too Young To Go Steady 1959 - 1960 (TV Show)


Heaven Can Wait 1942 (Movie)


Something to Shout About 1942 (Movie)


Hollywood Cavalcade 1939 (Movie)

Michael Linnett Connors (Actor)

Midnight 1938 (Movie)

Tibor Czerny (Actor)

Swanee River 1938 (Movie)

Stephen Foster (Actor)

Alexander's Ragtime Band 1937 (Movie)

Charlie Dwyer (Actor)

In Old Chicago 1937 (Movie)


One in a Million 1935 (Movie)


Ramona 1935 (Movie)


A Masterpiece of Murder (TV Show)


A Wing and a Prayer (Movie)

Flight Cmdr. Bingo Harper (Actor)

Clive of India (Movie)

Prisoner at Black Hole of Calcutta (Actor)

Coke Time With Eddie Fisher (TV Show)


Confirm or Deny (Movie)

Mitch (Actor)

Dante's Inferno (Movie)

Man in Stokehold (Actor)

Down Argentine Way (Movie)

Richardo Quintano (Actor)

Fifty Roads to Town (Movie)

Peter Nostrand (Actor)

Four Sons (Movie)

Chris Bernic (Actor)

Gateway (Movie)

Dick (Actor)

Gidget Gets Married (TV Show)


Greenwich Village (Movie)

Kenneth Harvey (Actor)

Guest Wife (Movie)

Joe (Actor)

Happy Landing (Movie)

Jimmy Hall (Actor)

It's in the Bag (Movie)

Guest (Actor)

Josette (Movie)

David Brossard Jr. (Actor)

Kiss the Boys Goodbye (Movie)

Lloyd Lloyd (Actor)

Ladies in Love (Movie)

Dr. Rudi Imre (Actor)

Lillian Russell (Movie)

Edward Solomon (Actor)

Love Is News (Movie)

Marty Canavan (Actor)

Love under Fire (Movie)

Tracy Egan (Actor)

Pals (TV Show)


Shadow Over Elveron (TV Show)


Sleep, My Love (Movie)

Richard Courtland (Actor)

Slightly French (Movie)

John Gayle (Actor)

Sunstroke (TV Show)


That Night in Rio (Movie)

Larry Martin (Actor)

That's My Man (Movie)

Joe Grange (Actor)

The Magnificent Dope (Movie)

Dwight Dawson (Actor)

The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (Movie)

Alexander Graham Bell (Actor)


With his good looks and trademark pencil thin moustache, Don Ameche specialized in musicals and comedies during the 1930s and 1940s, often cast as likeable, upper-class sophisticates. He earned his first notoriety on radio, which led to a contract with 20th Century Fox and such popular features as "In Old Chicago" (1937) and "Alexander's Ragtime Band" (1938). He achieved his pinnacle of fame with the titular part in the biography "The Story of Alexander Graham Bell" (1939), though "Midnight" (1939) and "Heaven Can Wait" (1943) were arguably his finest showcases as a comedic leading man. Ameche's film opportunities dried up in the late 1940s, but he still managed to keep busy with a variety of television and stage assignments, and briefly reignited his career in the following decade via some Broadway successes. However, it was not until his turn as an evil billionaire in the hit comedy "Trading Places" (1983) that the now elderly actor found himself truly in demand once again. Recognition from his peers finally came via his role in Ron Howard's fantasy hit "Cocoon" (1985) for which he received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Over a career spanning more than six decades, Ameche managed to make his mark in three different mediums and weathered significant career lulls with veracity and hard work, offering three of his most indelible performances well into his golden years.


Bonnie Ameche


Connie Ameche


Don Ameche Jr


Larry Ameche


Ronald Ameche


Thomas Ameche


Burt Ameche


Anne Ameche


Mary Jane Ameche


Felix Ameche

grew up outside Rome Anglicized original surname "Amici" to "Ameche" when he came to the United States

Barbara Ameche

of Irish-German extraction

James Ameche


Honore Prendergast

were high school sweethearts married in 1932 until her death in 1978


Columbia College

Dubuque , Iowa
college later renamed Loras College

Columbia Academy

Dubuque , Iowa
an all-boy's Roman Catholic school

University of Wisconsin at Madison

Madison , Wisconsin
did not finish studies

Georgetown University

Washington D.C.
studied briefly

Marquette University

Milwaukee , Wisconsin
attended briefly



Finished shooting a major supporting role opposite Whoopi Goldberg and Ray Liotta in "Corrina, Corrina" just weeks before he died; played Liotta's father; filmed released posthumously


Supplied the voice of Shadow, the Golden Retriever, for "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey"


Was diagnosed with prostate cancer which had already spread considerably 13 months before he died


Last feature film appearance in a work released during his lifetime, "Folks!"


Last TV-movie, "Sunstroke"


Made last Broadway appearance replacing Spalding Gray as the Stage Manager in a revival of "Our Town"; production also featured Helen Hunt and Jason Gedrick


Feature film career revived with role in "Trading Places"


Reunited with Alice Faye for a national tour of the musical, "Good News"


Made first TV movie, "Shadow Over Elveron" (NBC)


Returned to feature films to act in "A Fever in the Blood"


Hosted the syndicated drama anthology program, "The Don Ameche Theater"


Returned to Broadway; played first leading role onstage in the musical "Silk Stockings"


Hosted (via the role of the "stage manager") the ABC variety series revamp of "Holiday Hotel" entitled "Don's Musical Playhouse"


Hosted the short-lived ABC game show, "Take a Chance"


Made last films under 20th Century-Fox contract, "A Wing and a Prayer" and "Greenwich Village"; began freelancing


Played signature role in "The Story of Alexander Graham Bell"


Made first of six films opposite Alice Faye, "You Can't Have Everything"


Signed by 20th Century-Fox at $1500 a week after studio head Daryl F Zanuck saw Ameche's screen test for MGM (date approximate)


Made film acting debut in a dual role (the two sons of Jean Hersholt) in "The Sins of Man"


Made screen test at MGM; test was considered unsuccessful and Ameche was not signed by the studio


Made first film appearance in a promotional short entitled "Beauty at the World's Fair"


Began performing on the radio at age 22; acted in "The First Nighter" and "Grand Hotel", among other shows


Toured briefly with singer and entertainer Texas Guinan as part of her vaudeville act


Made Broadway debut in a small role as a butler in "Jerry for Short"

Ringmastered the popular NBC circus variety show, "International Showtime"

Was a regular on the NBC 15-minute variety show, "Coke Time with Eddie Fisher"

Was regularly on "The Chase & Sanborn Hour" in the mid-1930s; worked opposite W C Fields and Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, among others

Co-hosted (with Frances Langford) the DuMont network's variety show, "Startime"

Moved with his family to New York; worked on his singing and speaking voice with trainers so that he would not need a microphone

Stage appearances in the 1950s and 60s include roles in the shows "Holiday for Lovers", "Goldilocks" and "Henry, Sweet Henry"

Was a regular on the NBC variety show, "The Jack Carson Show"

Moved to New York to begin professional career

Co-hosted (with Frances Langford) the ABC variety show, "The Frances Langford-Don Ameche Show"

Played a leading role on the radio series, "The Bickersons", opposite Frances Langford

Was cast in a college production while at the University of Wisconsin; began acting in stock theater in Madison

Hosted (via the role of the "hotel manager") the ABC variety show, "Holiday Hotel", set in that fictional hotel's "Pelican Room"

Starred in TV adaptations of such stage shows as the musical "High Button Shoes" (1956) and the comedy "Junior Miss" (1957)

Bonus Trivia


He was given the National Italian American Foundation Award at Atlantic City's Trump Castle, NJ (1991)