Saturday, June 3, 2023

Godspeed Ed Ames

Singer and actor Ed Ames died on May 21 2023 at the age of 95. Both with the Ames Brothers and as a solo artist, he had several hits. As an actor he may be best known for playing Mingo on Daniel Boone.

Ed Ames was born Edmund Dantes Urick on July 9 1927 in Maldon, Massachusetts. He attended the Boston Latin School. He studied both classical music and opera. His brothers formed a singing quartet while still in high school. Three of the brothers would later form the Amory Brothers. It was playwright Abe Burrows who suggested a new name, "the Ames Brothers."

The Ames Brothers signed with Coral Records and their first single, "Caravan," was released in 1947. In 1948 they would have their first hit, "A Tree in the Meadow" recorded with Monica Lewis. It went to no. 21 on the Billboard chart. The year 1950 gave them their first no. 1 hit, "Rag Mop." It was followed by another no. 1 hit, "Sentimental Me." Throughout the Fifties the Ames Brothers would have a string of hits, including "Can Anyone Explain? (No, No, No), "Undecided," "You, You, You," "The Man with a Banjo," "The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane," and "Tammy."In 1949 they were regulars on Robert Q. Lewis's radio show. That same year they were regulars on the CBS musical quiz radio show Sing It Again. In 1955 they had a syndicated television show, The Ames Brothers Show

The Ames Brothers disbanded in 1963, whereupon Ed Ames launched a solo career. He had several hits in the Sixties, including "My Cup Runneth Over," "Time, Time," "Timeless Love," "When the Show is on the Roses," and "Who Will Answer?."

Ed Ames began his acting career in 1957 on the show State Trooper. He appeared with the other Ames Brothers on an episode of Mike Hammer in 1958. Prior to Daniel Boone, he guest starred on The Rifleman, Redigo, and The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters. It was in 1964 that he began playing Mingo, the Oxford educated Cherokee, on Daniel Boone. He left the show after is fourth season. Afterwards he guest starred on The Danny Thomas Hour and provided a voice for the Rankin/Bass special Cricket on the Hearth.

In the Seventies he guest starred on The Starlost McCloud, Kodiak, The Wide World of Mystery, and Greatest Heroes of the Bible. In the Eighties he guest starred on Murder, She Wrote; It's Gary Shandling's Show, In the Heat of the Night; and Jake and the Fatman. In the Nineties he made his last television appearance, a guest shot on The Marshal.

Ed Ames was very talented as a singer. He had a rich, very expressive baritone. It is a little wonder that both as one of the Ames Brothers and as a solo act he had a string of hit songs. He was also very talented actor. While it was admitted politically incorrect for Mr. Ames to play Mingo and while the portrayal of the Cherokee on Daniel Boone was inaccurate, he did well in the role. He would also do well in other roles as well. He played a racist, corrupt sheriff on an episode of In the Heat of the Night. In the McCloud episode "The Colorado Cattle Caper" he played the leader of a gang of cattle rustlers. In the Murder, She Wrote he played a role with which he was familiar, that of a singer, although in this instance it was a somewhat amoral singer. On The Rifleman he played a man wanted to murder. Both as a singer and an actor Ed Ames was enormously talented and very versatile.

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