Lamas in the 1960s.
|Born||Fernando Álvaro Lamas y de Santos
January 9, 1915
Buenos Aires, Argentina
|Died||October 8, 1982
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, Director, Writer|
|Perla Mux (m. 1940; div. 1944)
Lydia Barachi (m. 1946; div. 1952)
Arlene Dahl (m. 1954; div. 1960)
Esther Williams (m. 1969)
|Children||3, including Lorenzo Lamas|
Born Fernando Álvaro Lamas y de Santos in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he became an actor. His movies included En el último piso (1942), Frontera Sur (1943), Villa rica del Espíritu Santo (1945), and Stella (1946).
Lamas was also seen in The Poor People's Christmas (1947), Evasion (1947), The Tango Returns to Paris (1948), and The Story of a Bad Woman (1948). He had the lead in La rubia Mireya (1949) alongside Mecha Ortiz, and a key role in De padre desconocido (1949), Vidalita (1949) and The Story of the Tango (1950). He also appeared in Corrientes, calle de ensueños (1949), and La otra y yo (1950). He was reportedly the third biggest star in the country.
In September 1949, he signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and went on to play "Latin Lover" roles. In 1951, Lamas starred as Paul Sarnac in the musical, Rich, Young and Pretty with Jane Powell. He supported Greer Garson and Michael Wilding in The Law and the Lady (1952) which was a flop.
At Warner Bros Lamas starred in The Diamond Queen (1954). He did Lost Treasure of the Amazon (1954) at Paramount then returned to MGM for a remake of Rose Marie (1954) supporting Howard Keel and Ann Blyth. It was popular but failed to recoup its cost.
At Paramount he was Rosalind Russell's leading man in The Girl Rush (1955). Lamas started appearing on television, including an adaptation of Hold Back the Dawn for Lux Video Theatre. "I couldn't break the Latin lover image," he said later.
He appeared on Broadway in Happy Hunting.
He returned to features with The Lost World (1960).
Lamas moved to Europe with Esther Williams who became his wife. He directed a film both starred in, Magic Fountain, shot in 1961 and never released in the US. He went to Italy for Duel of Fire (1962), and Revenge of the Musketeers (1963).
He helped write the Western A Place Called Glory (1965).
Lamas returned to Hollywood. As an actor he focused on television, with guest appearances on Burke's Law, The Virginian, Laredo, Combat!, The Red Skelton Hour, Hondo and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.. From 1965 to 1968, Lamas had a regular role as Ramon De Vega on Run For Your Life, which starred Ben Gazzara; Lamas also directed some episodes.
He had a support role in Valley of Mystery (1967), a pilot for a series that did not proceed. He directed another feature film, The Violent Ones, which was released in 1967 and co-starred Aldo Ray and David Carradine.
He was in Kill a Dragon (1967) and 100 Rifles (1969) and had guest roles on The High Chaparral, Tarzan, Then Came Bronson, It Takes a Thief, Mission: Impossible, The Name of the Game, Dan August, Alias Smith and Jones, Bearcats!, Mod Squad, Night Gallery, and McCloud.
Lamas started directing TV as well: The Bold Ones: The Lawyers, Mannix, Alias Smith and Jones, S.W.A.T., The Rookies, Jigsaw John, Starsky and Hutch, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, The Amazing Spider-Man, Secrets of Midland Heights, Flamingo Road, and Code Red.
As an actor, he was in the TV movies The Lonely Profession (1969) and Murder on Flight 502 (1975). He could also be seen in Bronk, Switch (which he also directed), Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976), Quincy M.E., Charlie's Angels, Police Woman, The Love Boat, The Cheap Detective, How the West Was Won, The Dream Merchants and House Calls.
He produced the TV movie Samurai (1979).
Lamas was married four times. His first marriage was to Argentine actress Perla Mux in 1940 and they had a daughter, Christina before divorcing in 1944.
His second marriage was in 1946 to Lydia Barachi. Fernando and Lydia also had a daughter, Alexandra. They were later divorced in 1952.
After his death, Lamas's archetypal playboy image lived on in popular culture via the "Fernando" character developed by Billy Crystal on Saturday Night Live in the mid-1980s. The character was outlandish and exaggerated but reportedly inspired by a remark Crystal heard Lamas utter on The Tonight Show; "It is better to look good than to feel good." This was one of the Fernando character's two catchphrases along with the better-remembered "You look marvelous!" (usually spelled "mahvelous" in this context). "My father loved the impression of Billy Crystal doing him," says Lorenzo, "He would puff up" when asked about it.