Don Ameche (Don Ameche)

Don Ameche

Actor, Singer. He was born Dominic Felix Amici in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to a father who was a saloon keeper.  At eleven he was attending St. Birchman’s Boys Academy in Marion, Iowa, where the acting bug bit. While enrolled at Loras College in Dubuque he was deemed a promising actor. A stay in Chicago resulted in radio work.  Don Ameche had an up and down radio, stage and screen career which spanned almost sixty years.  He made his New York stage debut in 1930.  In 1932, Ameche married Dubuque’s Honore Prendergast, a hospital dietitian and lab technician.  She preferred being a homemaker and remained in Dubuque raising their four children.  He was the brother of Jim Ameche the original voice of Jack in the radio series ‘Jack Armstrong, the All American Boy’.  Both brothers started out in New York, Jim remained and Don went on to movies in Hollywood with his first film role in ‘Sins of Man,’ in 1936 for 20th-Century Fox.  A co-star with Sonja Hene in ‘One in a Million’ saw his career blossom.  Cast in the 1939 film,’The Story of Alexander Graham Bell’ Don Ameche became a household name in America.  When the standard question would appear on students test papers:  Who invented the telephone?  The answer either in jest or ignorance; Don Ameche. A mainstay in the latter part of the 30’s and the 40’s, he was successful at both musicals (Down Argentine Way, Moon Over Miami) and dramatic roles (One in a Million, Heaven Can Wait).  With movie roles disappearing, he began working in  radio, television and Broadway. The radio show where he played opposite Frances Langford in ‘The Bickersons’ is a classic. For three decades, he was virtually absent from movies until cast alongside fellow veteran actor Ralph Bellamy in the film ‘Trading Places.’  His defining role came in the Ron Howard-directed movie ‘Cocoon’ which landed him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Don Ameche continued working for the rest of his life, including a role in the sequel, ‘Cocoon: The Return.’ His final scenes for the film ‘Corrina, Corrina’ were completed only days before his death at age 84 at his son’s residence in Scottsdale, Arizona the result of prostate cancer. He was cremated following a memorial mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help and his ashes were interred in the  Prendergast family plot with those of his wife, Honore, in Dubuque, Iowa. (bio by: Donald Greyfield)  Family links:  Spouse:  Honore M. Prendergast Ameche (1907 – 1986)* *Calculated relationshipCause of death: Prostate Cancer


  • May, 31, 1908
  • USA


  • December, 12, 1993
  • USA

Cause of Death

  • Prostate Cancer


  • Resurrection Catholic Cemetery
  • Iowa
  • USA

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