Robert Downing Ames


Robert Downing Ames (March 23, 1889 – November 27, 1931) was a stage and film actor whose career was cut short by his death at age 42.

Ames was born in Hartford, where his father, Louis Mason Ames, was employed as an accountant for an insurance company and his mother, Mary Elma (née Downing) Ames, worked as a voice coach.

After a brief stint in vaudeville, Ames moved to Hollywood in the mid 1920s to concentrate on film work, though on occasion he would return to perform on the New York stage.
Ames married four times. His last marriage, to socialite Muriel Oakes, also lasted three years before she filed for divorce in 1930. The day after his marriage to Oakes, Ames was slapped with a $200,000 breach-of-promise lawsuit by nightclub entertainer Helen Lambert, who claimed he had promised to marry her after his divorce from Segal. Over the last months of his life, Ames was linked romantically in the press with stage and film actress Ina Claire.

On November 27, 1931, Robert Downing Ames was found dead in his room at the Hotel Delmonico in New York City. Ames had traveled to New York from Hollywood to spend time with his family over the Thanksgiving holiday and to begin work on a film for Paramount Pictures.

 At the time of his death, Ames was taking a non-narcotic medication for alcohol withdrawal delirium. A later autopsy could find no trace of alcohol or other medications in his system, only that he was in the early stages of developing heart disease. The official cause of death was attributed to delirium tremens most likely brought on by his sudden abstinence from alcohol.