Entertainers: Him Mingo

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There is a fellow who plays the hero's faithful Indian companion in NBC's Daniel Boone TV series. On screen, he is an Oxford-educated part- Cherokee half-breed who goes by the name of Mingo. That's about all anybody needs to know about the Daniel Boone show. But Mingo—well, he's something special, even if the show is not. His showbiz handle is Ed Ames, he is the former baritone lead with the Ames

Brothers, and today he is surfacing as the most versatile talent to emerge from a singing group since the Rhythm Boys lost Bing Crosby. In addition to a craftsmanlike acting talent, Ames has a voice that has made him a top nightclub draw (he is now at the Persian Room of Manhattan's Plaza Hotel) and an RCA Victor balladeer who has crashed the bestseller charts twice already this year. He has two TV specials coming up the same week next month—as host of NBC's high-rating annual Ice Follies show and as Ferrovius in a Richard Rodgers musical adaptation of Androcles and the Lion. There are offers to appear with a Utah Shakespeare company and the Santa Fe Opera, and RCA Victor is preparing a new record album called Christmas with Ed Ames.

"Uncreative Life." Ames (real name:

Edmund Dantes Urick) grew up in Maiden, Mass., where he and three older brothers formed a singing team called, at first, the Urick Brothers. They entertained World War II troops in Boston, and by 1955 had become America's top vocal combo. Such hits as Rag Mop, Sentimental Me and The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane sold 25 million records (despite the titles), and the brothers were well on their way to their first million dollars. But in every other respect, recalls Ed, "it was a very unrewarding, uncreative life. At 30, I found everything stagnant and saw nothing in the future but a repetition of well-paid nothingness."

He split off in 1960 to study acting. Though he had earned $5,000 his last week as one of the brothers, he took a $4,960-a-week cut to work off-Broadway in a revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, jumped later to the lead in national companies of The Fantasticks and Carnival. Next came a stint on Broadway in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which was set in a mental hospital and featured Ed as a schizophrenic Indian.

The show lasted only long enough for Ames's agent to get a call for an 8-by-10 glossy picture of Ames in swimming trunks. The request was from the producers of the upcoming Daniel Boone TV series. This is Ames's fourth —and probably last—season in the show. Fess Parker, who plays the title role, co-produces, and owns a 30% piece of Boone, is chafing in his buckskins because Ames pulled more fan mail last spring. In any case, Ames wants out of the noble-savage bit. "Television series are a great hazard," he explains. "The more successful the show, the more identified with the characters you become."

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