The screen,stage and television actor Harold Ayer, whose film credits included TheSting, The Third Man andTrip To Bountiful,has died from a stroke at the Motion Picture & Television Fund Hospital inWoodland Hills, California. He was 86.

Born on August15, 1916 in London, Ayer was no stranger to the performing arts. His father NatD Ayer famously composed the songs Oh You Beautiful Doll and If You Were The Only Girl In TheWorld and from an earlyage the young Ayer was surrounded by such luminaries as Noel Coward, CharlieChaplin and Cole Porter.

After stints forthe Royal Canadian Air Force and Britain's Royal Air Force in the secondworld war, Ayer pursued his dream of becoming an actor, graduating fromLondon's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and landing his firstscreen role as a soldier in The Third Man. He eventually moved to the US, where he appeared in filmsand numerous stage and television shows.

He is survivedby his brother Nat D Ayer Jr, his daughter Cheryl, son Simon and daughter Jane.