Ed Ames, Singing Star Who Became a Familiar Face on TV, Dies at 95
Ed Ames, who first gained fame because the lead singer of the Ames Brothers, a chart-topping group whose success predated the rise of rock ’n’ roll, and who then turned to appearing as Fess Parker’s Indian companion on the favored NBC present “Daniel Boone,” died on Sunday at his dwelling in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 95.
His spouse, Jeanne (Arnold) Ames, mentioned the trigger was Alzheimer’s illness.
Mr. Ames’s introduction to the highlight was a household affair. With their easy, clear harmonies, the Ames Brothers — Ed, Gene, Joe and Vic — had hit information from the late Forties by the late ’50s with materials starting from pre-World War I faculty songs (“The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi”) to people songs (“Goodnight Irene”) to like songs (“I Love You for Sentimental Reasons”). The quartet had a two-sided No. 1 hit in 1950 with “Sentimental Me” and “Rag Mop.” Their “You, You, You” held the highest spot for eight weeks in 1953 and stayed on the charts for almost eight months. All instructed, the Ames Brothers bought greater than 20 million information.
The Ames Brothers carried out at main venues together with Ciro’s in Hollywood and the Roxy in New York. They appeared usually in Las Vegas and on tv, as visitors of Milton Berle, Perry Como, Jackie Gleason and Ed Sullivan. In 1956, they’d their very own syndicated TV sequence. In 1958, (*95*) journal named them the vocal group of the 12 months.
But by 1960, Ed Ames had had sufficient.
“I thought I’d go out of my skull if I had to sing the same song again,” he mentioned in 1964. “We were in a comfortable groove, but it was a merry-go-round for me and I was getting bored.” His brothers continued on the nightclub circuit with out him.
After taking appearing classes, Mr. Ames was forged in an Off Broadway manufacturing of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” for $50 a week. He made his Broadway debut as Jerry Orbach’s substitute within the 1961 musical “Carnival!”
He additionally continued recording. As a solo artist, he had hits with “Try to Remember” (1965), “Time, Time” (1967), “My Cup Runneth Over” (1967) and “Who Will Answer?” (1968).
Mr. Ames additionally starred within the 1963 Broadway manufacturing of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Dale Wasserman’s adaptation of the Ken Kesey novel. He performed Chief Bromden, an American Indian affected person in a psychological hospital who feigns being mute and finally ends up suffocating the lead character — the rebellious Randle Patrick McMurphy, performed by Kirk Douglas (and later, on movie, by Jack Nicholson) — as an act of mercy.
It wouldn’t be the final time Mr. Ames performed a Native American.
His efficiency in “Cuckoo’s Nest” led to his best-known role: opposite Fess Parker on “Daniel Boone” as Mingo, the Oxford-educated son of a Cherokee woman and an English nobleman who joins Boone in his expeditions on the Tennessee frontier. (Mingo’s father was the Earl of Dunmore, but Mingo chose to remain part of the Cherokee Nation rather than claim the title.)
Mr. Ames played Mingo for the first four of the show’s six seasons, from 1964 to 1968. But his most memorable moment during those years did not come on “Daniel Boone.” It happened on April 29, 1965, when he was Johnny Carson’s guest on “The Tonight Show.”
In a segment that soon became a staple of “Tonight Show” highlight reels, Mr. Ames set out to teach Mr. Carson how to toss a tomahawk, using a rudimentary drawing of a sheriff on a wooden panel as his target. He threw the tomahawk across the stage. When it embedded precisely in the sheriff’s crotch, the audience reacted with loud, sustained laughter.
Mr. Ames tried to retrieve the tomahawk, but Mr. Carson grabbed his arm. As another roar of laughter subsided, Mr. Carson looked at Mr. Ames and said, “I didn’t even know you were Jewish.”
Ed Ames was born Edmund Dantes Urick in Malden, Mass., on July 9, 1927, the youngest of nine surviving children born to David and Sarah (Zaslavskaya) Urick, Jewish immigrants from Ukraine. In their teens, Ed and his three brothers formed a singing group and won amateur contests in the Boston area.
Originally billed as the Urick Brothers, then the Amory Brothers, they became the Ames Brothers when they were signed by Coral Records. They began having hits after moving to RCA Records in 1953.
Ed was the final surviving member of the Ames Brothers; Vic died in a automotive accident in 1978, Gene in 1997 and Joe in 2007. His first marriage, to Sara Cacheiro, ended in divorce. In addition to his wife, whom he married in 1998, he is survived by two children from his first marriage, Ronald and Sonya; a stepson, Stephen Saviano; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. His daughter Marcella Ames died before him.
In the 1980s and ’90s, Mr. Ames performed in regional productions of musicals including “South Pacific,” “Man of La Mancha” and “Carousel.” He was also seen occasionally on television, on “Murder, She Wrote,” “In the Heat of the Night” and — as himself — on the sitcom “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.”
Dennis Hevesi, a former reporter for The Times, died in 2017. Shivani Gonzalez contributed reporting, and Kristen Noyes contributed research.