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. 1946-52)
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 was an established movie star in his native country by 1942. His first film made in the United States was The Avengers in 1950. In 1951, he signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and went on to play "Latin Lover" roles.
In 1951, he starred as Paul Sarnac in the musical, Rich, Young and Pretty and as Juan Dinas in the comedy, The Law and the Lady. Throughout the 1950s, Lamas had leading roles in a number of MGM musicals, including Dangerous When Wet with his future wife Esther Williams. After the beginning of the 1960s, he turned to TV series; mostly appearing in guest roles. From 1965 to 1968, Lamas had a regular role as Ramon De Vega on Run For Your Life, which starred Ben Gazzara.
Lamas directed for the first time in 1963. It was a movie titled Magic Fountain starring his future wife Esther Williams. He directed another feature film, The Violent Ones, which was released in 1967 and co-starred Aldo Ray and David Carradine. He was most active directing on television, doing episodes that included Mannix, Alias Smith and Jones, Starsky and Hutch and Falcon Crest. The latter show co-starred his son, Lorenzo.
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).