Monday, March 19, 2018
The Life and Times of Ed Ames
Ed Ames (born Edmund Dantes Urick; July 9, 1927) is an American popular singer and actor. He is known for his pop hits of the 1960s including "My Cup Runneth Over", "Who Will Answer?" and "When the Snow is on the Roses". He was also part of the popular 1950s singing group with his siblings, The Ames Brothers.
Early life and career
Ames was born in Malden, Massachusetts, to Jewish parents Sarah (Zaslavskaya) and David Urick (Eurich), who had immigrated from Ukraine. He was the youngest of nine children, five boys and four girls.
Ames grew up in a poor household. He attended the Boston Latin School and was educated in Classical and Opera music, as well as literature.
While still in high school, the brothers formed a quartet and often won competitions around the Boston area. Three of the brothers later formed the Amory Brothers quartet and went to New York City, where they were hired by bandleader Art Mooney. Playwright Abe Burrows helped the brothers along the way, suggesting the siblings change their group's name to the Ames Brothers.
The Ames Brothers were first signed on with Decca Records in 1947, but because of the Musician Union's ban in 1948, Decca only released three singles by the brothers and one backing Russ Morgan. As the ban was ending, they signed on with another label, Coral Records, a subsidiary of Decca. They had their first major hit in the 1950s with the double-sided "Rag Mop" and "Sentimental Me". The Brothers joined RCA Victor records and continued to have success throughout the 1950s with many hits like "It Only Hurts For a Little While", "You, You, You", and "The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane". The brothers made regular appearances on network television variety programs, and in 1955 briefly had a15-minute show of their own.
Ames' dark complexion and facial bone structure led to his being cast regularly as a Native American. He played Chief Bromden in the Broadway production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, opposite Kirk Douglas.
Talent scouts at 20th Century Fox saw Ames in the production and invited him to play the Cherokee tribesman, Mingo on the NBC television series, Daniel Boone, with Fess Parker, Patricia Blair, Darby Hinton, and Veronica Cartwright. His character's father was an English officer, the Fourth Earl of Dunmore, played in the show by the eminent actor Walter Pidgeon. In that show, Mingo was the Earl's eldest son and thus entitled to claim the title as the fifth Earl but decided in preference to remain part of the Cherokee nation. In an episode of Season One, Ames also portrayed Mingo's evil twin brother, Taramingo. Ames' main character was actually named Caramingo, but went by Mingo throughout the entire series. Ames played a Mexican bandit on a 1962 The Rifleman episode and guest-starred as Kennedy in the 1963 episode "The Day of the Pawnees, Part 2" on ABC's The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters, with Kurt Russell in the title role. He guest-starred in 1963 on Richard Egan's NBC modern western series, Redigo.
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
During the 1960s, Ames returned to singing, this time as a solo artist. He released his first RCA Victor chart single, "Try to Remember", in 1965. The song barely made the charts. A bigger success came in 1967 with "My Cup Runneth Over". The song was both a Pop hit and an Adult Contemporary radio hit. He had less success on the Pop charts soon after, and only had Adult Contemporary hits with "Time, Time", "When the Snow Is on the Roses", and "Timeless Love", the latter written by Buffy Sainte-Marie. He did make the Pop Top Twenty one last time in his singing career with "Who Will Answer" in 1968. "Apologize" reached #47 in the Canadian RPM Magazine hot singles chart.
Ames's distinctive baritone is a regular radio presence during Christmas season, as well, thanks to his version of "Do You Hear What I Hear?" The song received its best-selling treatment from Bing Crosby in 1962, but Ames' version, recorded a few years later, is in frequent holiday rotation.
Ames sang the "Ballad of the War Wagon" in the John Wayne/Batjac Productions movie, The War Wagon in 1967.
While maintaining his career, he attended UCLA, receiving his degree in theater and cinema arts in 1975. At the age of 47, Ames, saying "I am a secular Jew, but I feel strongly about Israel and the Jewish communities of Europe" became president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Zionist Organization of America. From 1968 until 1987, he also maintained partial ownership of the Phoenix Suns.
Additional Career Info
Source: Wikipedia and imdb
The Life and Times of Fess Parker
Fess Elisha Parker Jr. (August 16, 1924 – March 18, 2010) was an American film and television actor best known for his portrayals of Davy Crockett in the Walt Disney 1955–1956 TV miniseries and as Daniel Boone in a television series from 1964 to 1970. He was also known for being a winemaker and resort owner-operator.
Early yearsParker was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and raised on a farm in Tom Green County near San Angelo. His father, a tax assessor, had the same first name which had been given to him in honor of the educator and politician Simeon D. Fess. The middle name “Elisha” was chosen by the future actor himself, when he was a teenager (around 1937), because it sounded rhythmic and matched his middle initial.
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in the latter part of World War II, hoping to become a pilot. He was turned down because he was too tall at 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m). He then tried to become a radioman gunner, but he was found too big to fit comfortably into the rear cockpit. He was finally transferred to the Marine Corps as a radio operator and shipped out for the South Pacific shortly before the atom bomb ended the war.
Discharged in 1946, he enrolled at Hardin–Simmons University on the GI Bill. After an automobile collision, he was stabbed in the neck by the other driver during an argument. He was an active member of the H-SU Players Club and transferred to the University of Texas in 1947 as a history major and continued to be active in drama. Parker graduated from UT in 1950 with a degree in history. He had been initiated into the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Having one year remaining on his GI Bill, he studied drama at the University of Southern California, where he studied for a master's degree in theater history.
CareerParker began his show-business career in summer 1951 when he had a $32-a-week job as an extra in the play Mister Roberts, although he is credited with the voice of Leslie, the chauffeur, in the 1950 film Harvey. Within months, he was on location with a minor part in Untamed Frontier with Joseph Cotten and Shelley Winters.
Parker became a contract player with Warner Bros., appearing in small roles in several films such as Springfield Rifle (1952), Island in the Sky, The Bounty Hunter and Battle Cry. In 1954, he appeared as Grat Dalton in the Jim Davissyndicated Western anthology series Stories of the Century in the episode The Dalton Brothers. The below picture shows many of his onscreen efforts.
According to Parker himself, when the Walt Disney Company was seeking an actor to play Davy Crockett, James Arness, later cast as Marshal Matt Dillon on CBS's Gunsmoke, was first considered for the title role. Parker had recently graduated to being a contract weekly actor, but listened to his agent and appeared in a Warner Bros. science fiction film about giant ants called Them!, which required only one day's work. He had a small scene as a pilot put into an insane asylum after claiming his plane had been downed by giant flying insects. Arness appeared in a larger role in the same film.
During the screening of this film, Walt Disney looked past Arness and discovered Parker. Disney was impressed by Parker's portrayal of a man who was unswerving in his belief in what he saw despite the forces of authority against him. Parker was asked to drop by the Disney Studio. When he did, he brought his guitar, met Disney, sang a song, and then said goodbye. Several weeks later, Parker was informed that he had been selected over Arness and several others for the role, including Buddy Ebsen, who eventually played Crockett's sidekick, George Russell.
Disney's three-episode version of Crockett depicted his exploits as a frontiersman, congressman, and tragic hero of the Alamo. The episodes have been called the first television miniseries, though the term had not yet been coined. Davy Crockett (1954–55) was a tremendous hit and led to a merchandising frenzy for coonskin caps and all things Crockett.
Parker became a contract star for Disney and appeared in The Great Locomotive Chase, Westward Ho, the Wagons!, Old Yeller, and The Light in the Forest. He complained that they were all basically the same role. Disney refused to loan Parker for roles outside that persona, such as Jeffrey Hunter's role opposite John Wayne in The Searchers and Marilyn Monroe's leading man in Bus Stop.
Fess Parker was nominated for best new personality Emmy in 1954, but lost to George Gobel.
After Walt Disney, Parker made guest appearances on many television programs, and composed and sang. He performed the occasional role of Tom Conrad, editor of the Diablo Courier in the syndicated western series, Annie Oakley (1954–1957), starring Gail Davis, Brad Johnson, and Jimmy Hawkins.
Parker was contracted to Paramount Pictures from 1958 to 1962. He appeared in a small assortment of Paramount movies, including a cameo as an unnamed frontiersman in Bob Hope's Western comedy Alias Jesse James and supporting roles in The Hangman (1959) with Robert Taylor, The Jayhawkers! (1959) with Jeff Chandler, and Hell Is for Heroes (1962) with Steve McQueen.
In 1962, he starred in the title role of the TV series Mr Smith Goes to Washington, portraying the same idealistic character that James Stewart had played in the 1939 film. Parker took to the stage in 1963, in a traveling production of Oklahoma! as Curly. The movie roles he sought were elusive. In 1966, Parker starred in the movie Smoky, directed by George Sherman where he played the role of Clint Barkley, who finds a black stallion named Smoky a wild stallion who eventually becomes a wonderful cutting horse and the best friend an old cowboy could ever want.
Parker's Daniel Boone television series portraying another historic figure of America's frontier days began filming in 1964. Over its six years (1964 to 1970) as one of the highest-rated shows of its time, Parker was not only the star of the series, but also the co-producer and director of five of its most popular episodes. It first aired on the NBC network on Thursdays and, in its prime, was estimated to have over 30 million viewers!!!
Parker became interested in opening a Davy Crockett-themed amusement park. In the late 1960s, he optioned land in northern Kentucky at the confluence of Interstates 71 and 75, with the intention of building Frontier World. However, when the Taft Broadcasting Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, began building Kings Island Amusement Park in nearby Mason, Ohio, less than a 2-hour drive from Parker's site, financing for Parker's venture dried up.
Turning down the title role of McCloud, Parker retired from acting at the age of 49 after a sitcom pilot called 'The Fess Parker Show' was broadcast on March 28, 1974, but was not subsequently picked up by the network.
In 1991, he was named a Disney Legend. In 2003, Parker received the Texas Cultural Trust's "Texas Medal of Arts Award", established only the year before. For his work with Disney, Parker was honored in December 2004 with his own tribute window on a façade in the Frontierland section of Disneyland.
The Fess Parker Winery is located in Los Olivos, California. After his acting career, Parker devoted much of his time to operating his Fess Parker Family Winery and Vineyards in Los Olivos, California. The winery is owned and operated by Parker's family, and has produced several different types of award-winning wines. Parker's son, Eli, is President and Director of Winemaking and Vineyard Operations, while daughter, Ashley, is Vice President of Marketing and Sales.
The Parker operation includes over 1,500 acres (610 ha) of vineyards, and a tasting room and visitor center along the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail. In addition to wine, the winery is known for selling coonskin caps and bottle toppers inspired by Parker's Crockett and Boone characters, and for its appearance under another name in the movie Sideways.
In reminiscence of his acting days, Parker's wine labels have a logo of a golden coonskin cap. The Fess Parker Winery is one of the wineries along the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail.
In 1985, Parker briefly flirted with running for the US Senate as a Republican for the seat of incumbent Democrat Alan Cranston. He considered himself a conservative in the mold of Ronald Reagan.
Parker married Marcella (Marcy) Belle Rinehart on January 18, 1960. They had two children, Fess Elisha Parker III and Ashley Allen Rinehart, along with 11 grandchildren and a great-grandson. Parker passed away of natural causes on March 18, 2010, at his home in Santa Ynez, California, near the Fess Parker Winery. His legend lives on in the millions of fans who adore him through this and other sites.
There's a great book about Fess Parker that you can purchase at fessparker.com or other size like Amazon. Check it out!
Additional Career Info
Source: Wikipedia and other Internet sites. Check back periodically as we'll be updating this information, as well as adding other biographies.