Don Ameche, who embodied the screen ideals of grace and elegance as few Hollywood actors ever did, is profiled Friday at 8 p.m. on an A&E "Biography" installment titled "Hollywood's Class Act."
Ameche's father was a tough Italian who was successful in the saloon and hotel business. But he terrified his son, who sought cover in school stage productions.
After a leading role at the University of Wisconsin, the young actor set out for a stage career in New York, where the Depression stalled his ambitions. He wound up on the NBC radio show "Empire Builders," a role that earned him a screen test. From there a string of hits followed, among them "In Old Chicago," "Alexander's Ragtime Band" and "The Story of Alexander Graham Bell."
Ameche enjoyed a comeback late in his career with two films, "Trading Places" in 1983 and "Cocoon" in 1986, for which he won a best supporting actor Oscar.
Ron Howard and Leonard Maltin are among his friends interviewed. The program repeats at midnight.
* Sunday on Showtime at 8 p.m., Dana Delany, Keith Carradine and Brian Dennehy star in "Sirens," about an African-American widow who risks everything to see the white policeman who wrongfully killed her husband brought to justice. Repeats: Thursday at 8 p.m. and Oct. 12, 25 and 29.
* Sunday on CNBC at 8 p.m., "Thunder Dragons" is the feature of "National Geographic Explorer," tracing the lives of Sri Lanka's water monitor lizards. The reptiles grow rapidly up to eight feet and play an important role in the food chain of Sri Lanka's lagoons and forests. Repeats Saturday at 8 p.m.
* Monday on Lifetime at 3 p.m., Dick Cavett narrates "Intimate Portrait: Clare Boothe Luce." At 20, Boothe married millionaire George Brokaw, a marriage that failed but gave her an entree to New York society. Later, she married Time publisher Henry Luce, developed the concept of Life magazine, reported for Vogue and Vanity Fair, and wrote two plays (the second, "The Women," was a hit). She served as congresswoman from Connecticut and as ambassador to Italy.
* Monday on TLC at 8 p.m., a three-hour block about the force-five tornado that struck Oklahoma City on May 3 and the efforts of paramedics and the American Red Cross to help people there recover from the massive storm.
* Monday on American Movie Classics at 7:30 p.m., "The Hollywood Fashion Machine: Dressed to Kill" chronicles the evolution of film fashion from the sexually suggestive, pre-censorship days to the present, noting some of the creative ways moviemakers found to keep their starlets appealing.
* Monday on Telemundo at 4 p.m., "Padre Alberto," a one-hour weekday talk show featuring the Rev. Albert Cuti, 30, a no-nonsense Roman Catholic priest from Miami who talks freely about the issues facing Latino families.
* Thursday on Animal Planet at 9 p.m., "O'Shea's Big Adventure" offers "Ox Killer," about the Atlantic Coastal bushmaster in Brazil, the largest venomous snake in the Americas.
* Friday on Bravo at 8 p.m., "Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends" debuts with an episode about professional wrestling. Next week the show features "Off-off Broadway," in which Theroux auditions to work on a Norwegian cruise liner and to become a dancing chocolate bar at Hershey's theme park.
* Saturday on Disney Channel at 7:30 p.m., "Shiloh," a theatrical film about a runaway abused beagle that forms a strong bond with a boy who wants to keep him but has trouble obtaining his father's consent.