With colleague (and former Colts teammate) Gino Marchetti, Alan Ameche founded the Gino's Hamburgers chain. He also founded the Baltimore-based Ameche's Drive-in restaurants. Ameche died in Houston, Texas.
Ameche was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin. His parents were Italian immigrants who came to the United States in the late 1930s, although they returned for a year to Italy during his childhood. The family then returned to Kenosha, where he attended Kenosha High School. Ameche was a cousin of noted actors Don Ameche and Jim Ameche.
Ameche played fullback for the Baltimore Colts from 1955 until 1960. Named NFL Rookie of the Year in 1955, he was a four-time Pro Bowler (1955–58). He averaged 4.2 yards per carry over his career. He held the record for rushing yards in his first three NFL games until Carnell "Cadillac" Williams passed it in 2005.
Ameche may be best remembered for his role in the 1958 NFL Championship Game at Yankee Stadium, often cited as "The Greatest Game Ever Played." Ameche scored the winning touchdown for the Colts on a one-yard run in overtime as the Colts beat the Giants, 23-17. It was his second touchdown of the day as he also scored a TD on a 2 yard run in the second quarter.
Ameche finished a relatively short six-season NFL career with 4,045 rushing yards, 101 receptions for 733 yards and 44 touchdowns.
Alan Ameche died of a heart attack at age 55 in Houston, a few days after undergoing heart bypass surgery. He is interred at Calvary Cemetery in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.