Entertainment

Ed Ames: An All-Time Great Pop Crooner and a Star of TV's 'Daniel Boone'

Fess Parker, star of the NBC-TV "Daniel Boone" show, lights the cigar of singer-actor Ed Ames, Oct. 23, 1964. Parker was passing out cigars between takes on the set, celebrating the birth of a daughter, Ashley Allen, in a Santa Monica hospital on October 19. The Parkers have a three-year-old son, Fess III. (AP Photo)

Ed Ames, the singer and actor known for his work with the Ames Brothers and as Mingo on the television series Daniel Boone (1964-1970), left a mark on popular culture in the '50s and '60s.

Ames (birth name Edmund Dantes Urick) was born on July 9, 1927 in Malden, Massachusetts. He was the youngest of nine children.

As a young man, Ames joined brothers Vic, Joe and Gene as legendary singing group the Ames Brothers. Together they scored several pop hits in the '50s, including the double-sided single "Rag Mop" and "Sentimental Me" and RCA Victor releases "It Only Hurts For a Little While" and "The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane."

Beyond the pop hits that landed the quartet its own variety television show, the Ames Brothers dabbled some in country music. Their 1959 album The Ames Brothers Sing the Best in the Country includes covers of "Tennessee Waltz," "Riders in the Sky," "San Antonio Rose" and Hank Williams' "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" and "Your Cheatin' Heart."

After the Ames Brothers parted ways in the early '60s, Ed pursued an acting career. His earliest credits included off Broadway productions of The Fantasticks and Arthur Miller's The Crucible, plus a national touring version of Carnival.

Through he was the Jewish son of Ukrainian immigrants, Ames got cast as Mingo, the Native American friend of TV's Daniel Boone (portrayed by Fess Parker). It seems backwards now (to put it nicely) that the NBC series didn't cast an actual Cherokee tribe member as Mingo, but Hollywood wasn't alone in having darker-complected white men play Native Americans. In fact, the idea to cast Ames as Mingo came from the singer's performance as Chief Bromden in a Broadway production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which also starred Kirk Douglas.

As Mingo, Ames became skilled at throwing tomahawks: a talent he showed off during a 1965 appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

Additional roles on small-screen Westerns include a cameo as a Mexican bandit in an episode of The Rifleman and an appearance in a 1963 episode of Redigo.

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Ames returned to pop music by the mid-'60s. In 1967, the Boston Baritone scored perhaps his greatest pop and adult contemporary hit of all with "My Cup Runneth Over." Other high spots from Ames' singing career include the songs "Try to Remember," "Time, Time," "When the Snow is On the Roses," "Apologize," "The Windmills of Your Mind," "Who Will Answer" and the theme song for John Wayne film The War Wagon.

For Ames' acting chops, revisit his work on Daniel Boone. To get better acquainted with his music, listen to RCA's The Very Best of Ed Ames. More serious listeners will have no trouble finding It's a Man's World, Love of the Common People, Christmas is the Warmest Time of the Year and other classic albums in discount vinyl bins or on CD.

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Ed Ames: An All-Time Great Pop Crooner and a Star of TV's 'Daniel Boone'