On this Day in Movie History, December 6, 1993: Don Ameche Dies


Don Ameche died on December 6, 1993, at his son Don Jr’s house in Scottsdale, Arizona of prostate cancer, at the age of 85. He was cremated and his ashes are buried at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery, also known as St. Philomena’s Cemetery, in Asbury, Iowa.

Ameche was a versatile and popular film actor in the 1930s and ’40s, usually as the dapper, mustached leading man. He was also popular as a radio master of ceremonies during this time.

After touring in vaudeville, he featured in many film-biographies, including The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939). As his film popularity waned in the 1950s, he continued to appear on Broadway, as well as on radio and TV, where he was host and commentator for International Showtime, covering circus and ice-shows all over Europe.

His film career surged in a comeback in the 1980s with fine work as an aging millionaire in Trading Places (1983) and a rejuvenated oldster in Cocoon (1985).

Ameche remained married to his wife Honore for fifty-four years, and they had six children.

1924 – Wally (Wallace Maynard) Cox (actor: Mr. Peepers, School House, The Adventures of Hiram Holiday, The Barefoot Executive, The Boatniks, Spencer’s Mountain, State Fair; TV panelist: Hollywood Squares; died Feb 15, 1973)

1928 – Bobby Van (Bobby King Robert Stein) (actor, dancer: Escape from Planet Earth, Small Town Girl, Kiss Me Kate, The Affairs of Dobie Gillis; died July 31, 1980)

1945 – James Naughton (actor: The Paper Chase, Planet of the Apes [TV], The Glass Menagerie, The Cosby Mysteries, The First Wives Club, Oxygen; brother of actor David Naughton)

1948 – JoBeth Williams (actress: Kramer vs. Kramer, Poltergeist, The Big Chill, American Dreamer, Wyatt Earp, A Season of Hope, The Client, From the Earth to the Moon, Justice, The Rose Technique)

1953 – Tom Hulce (actor: The Heidi Chronicles, Fearless, The Inner Circle, Parenthood, Dominick & Eugene, Amadeus, National Lampoon’s Animal House)

1955 – Steven Wright (stand-up comedian: deadpan, monotone; in film: Desperately Seeking Susan)

1962 – Janine Turner (Gauntt) (actress: Northern Exposure, Behind the Screen, Cliffhanger, Steel Magnolias, Monkey Shines, Knights of the City)


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