Ed Ames has made his mark on the world in many ways, from singing with his brothers, acting on Broadway, singing solo and producing on television and stage. But the one thing that brings a smile to everyone's face when the name Ed Ames is mentioned is his famous tomahawk toss on the Tonight Show in 1964. It still holds the record as getting the longest laugh in television history.
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Born Edmond Dantes Urick on July 9, 1927 in Malden , MA., Eddie, as he was known back then was the youngest of nine children born to Sarah and David Urick, Jewish Russian immigrants who had settled in Boston. His family was always musical, although there were no professional musicians until the Brothers formed a quartet and started performing for money. Living during the depression years was hard on the family who had very little, but Eddie and his brothers were taught the work ethic by their parents and the boys started earning money at an early age to survive. Even though times were very tough their mother taught them dignity and culture by reading Shakespeare to them and a good background in classical music and opera. A love for music was instilled in them by both parents who played many instruments themselves and often played in balalaika bands in the Boston area.
The boys, Joe, Gene, Vic and Eddie made a name for themselves by entering and winning most of the amateur contests in the area as the singing Urick brothers. All were sports fans and hung around Franklin Field, a baseball park in Boston, and were often asked to sing at the games. Soon word got around and people started coming to the park to hear the brothers. Always the scholar, Eddie attended the famous Boston Latin School where he was center on the basketball team, halfback and end on the football team, second baseman and outfielder on the baseball team and for a while he was a welterweight boxer. Not liking to draw blood he gave it up. He also speaks eight languages.
After high school he and his brothers started getting offers to sing for money and were soon signed at the Foxs and Hounds nightclub in Boston. Their one week engagement ran into several months, and they were on their way professionally. Eddie's rich voice stood out as the lead. Taking the act to New York, they were in a publisher's office one day when Milt Gabler of Decca Records heard them sing. He had them cut a few sides for Decca but a ban was started at that time and the records were never released. A year later the ban was lifted and they were the first artists to record for Coral Records. By this time they had changed their name to the Ames Brothers. Soon, they had their first top hit with "Rag Mop" and the Brothers were on their way to becoming top recording stars. They continued throughout the 50's with hit after hit, some of which were "You,You,You", "Sentimental Me", "Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane", "Melodie D'Amour", "It Only Hurts For A Little While", "Man With The Banjo", plus many more. They became a popular variety television show guest and were booked into the best supperclubs and nightclubs throughout the nation. In 1956 the Ames Brothers had their own 15 minute television show, the first one to be syndicated.
After many years on the road the Ames Brothers decided to break up the act and each go his own way. All had different aspirations and ambitions that they wanted to pursue. Eddie had wanted to become an actor so he enrolled in the Herbert Berghof School and shortened his name to Ed Ames. His first acting assignment was in Arthur Miller's The Crucible, and then into the role of El Gallo in The Fantastics. This lead into the national company of Carnival, where he played the bitter and crippled puppeteer, Paul Berthalet. After touring for eleven months he returned to New York to play the role on Broadway. In 1964 he was offered the dramatic role of Chief Bromden in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest on Broadway, which ultimately lead to a television role as Mingo the Oxford schooled Cherokee Indian in the Daniel Boone television series. One of his more memorable roles on that show was when he played duel roles of Mingo and that of an English opera singer to stall the British soldiers. He delivered an outstanding aria in that show.
Music called him back again in 1967 and he did three television specials, Androcles and the Lion, Cricket on the Hearth, and Ice Follies of 1968. He also did his first nightclub act as a solo and since then has gone on tour and made many appearances.
His rich looming voice is recognizable without introduction and Ed Ames still carries out his songs with style and grace. His hits for RCA have been numerous, with such unforgettable songs as "The Impossible Dream", "Try To Remember", "My Cup Runneth Over", "Mary In The Morning" and many, many more.
In the 70's Ed Ames covered the theatre circuit performing in many cities, but his biggest desire was fulfilled in 1975 when he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre and cinema from UCLA. He has put it to good use with producing, writing and starring in many plays.
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