From there, Ameche quickly became one of the studio's top leading men. His most renowned films of that period include In Old Chicago, Alexander's Ragtime Band, The Three Musketeers, The Story of Alexander Graham Bell, Moon Over Miami, Heaven Can Wait and Wing and a Prayer. Ameche's appearances became fewer in the 1950s and '60s, and he officially retired after The Boatniks (1970).
When director John Landis lured Ameche back for 1983's Trading Places, he enjoyed a career revival as a character actor, winning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar two years later for Cocoon. He died Dec. 6, 1993, just days after completing Corrina, Corrina.