Harvardwood Suggests... The Memorial for Alex Ayres AB '76

June 22, 2019 at 11:00am - 1pm
North Hollywood Church of Religious Science
6161 Whitsett Ave
North Hollywood, CA 91606
United States
Google map and directions
Josh Henson JDH '72 ·

Alex Ayres
(December 23, 1953 – May 14, 2019)

Alex Ayres (aka Glenn Allen Ayres) GAA ’76 of Santa Clarita, California passed away peacefully in his
sleep in the early hours of the morning of May 14, 2019 of complications from pancreatic cancer,
diagnosed the previous fall. He was a successful writer, editor, executive film producer and
entrepreneur who will be greatly missed. He received a B.A. with honors from Harvard College, an M.A.
from George Mason University and an M.F.A. from UCLA's Graduate School of Theater, Film and

During the peak of the running craze of the 1970s, Alex and his brother Ed founded Running Times
magazine, still one of the two major magazines in the sport today. He served as Senior Editor of the
magazine, but left to study scriptwriting at UCLA, where he won the school’s most prestigious writing
award in his final year. His career included writing positions with the U.S. Army Research Institute,
Running Times, Runner's World, CBS Productions, Fine Line, New Line, Mutual Films, Paramount
Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Fox 2000, Alliance-Atlantis, Capitol Films, The Artist’s Studio, Cross Creek and
Mark Gordon Productions. He wrote and edited many scripts that were made into television and
feature films and served as Executive Producer and script consultant for the THE EVIL WITHIN (2017),
produced by Andrew Getty, heir to the Getty oil fortune. His writing credits include the acclaimed
made-for-television movie SEARCH FOR GRACE, as well as NAPOLEON AND JOSEPHINE and HELLFIRE
CLUB. At the time of his death, Alex was working on the production of PLAYWRIGHT, an historical film
based on the life of Christopher Marlowe, the Elizabethan playwright whom Alex and others (including
Mark Twain and Orson Welles) have suggested was the true author of the works attributed to
Shakespeare. He was a frequent speaker and panelist on this topic and had produced critical scholarship
in the area, including the discovery of previously unknown details of Marlowe’s life.

Between films, Alex edited over three dozen books for the WIT AND WISDOM series and the QUOTABLE
WISDOM series that he created and continued to expand over the years. The series compiled quotations
(many not commonly known) from Will Rogers, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt,
John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and many others.

Alex considered his election as an editor of the Harvard Lampoon one of the landmark accomplishments
of his life. He was one of the scriptwriters mentioned in the June 2001 article in BRILL’S CONTENT that
coined the term “Harvard Lampoon Media Mafia." Jim Downey, former Head Writer of SATURDAY
NIGHT LIVE and “godfather” of the Lampoon Media Mafia, once described Ayres as “the best writer on
the Lampoon.” His modest style and quiet personality camouflaged an extraordinary wit, notably
demonstrated when he introduced John Wayne at the now famous John Wayne Roast at the premiere
of Wayne’s film McQ, which some consider the greatest Lampoon media event of all time. Several of
Alex’s jokes from that event were quoted in the national media and referenced in a biography of John
Wayne, in which Wayne called this event the most fun he ever had in his life.

Alex is survived by his wife Janine Cooper Ayres, Brothers Robert Ayres, Gene Ayres and Ed Ayres, as
well as former wife Pam and daughter Ariel.

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