Fernando Lamas

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Fernando Lamas
Fernando Lamas circa mid 1960s.JPG
Lamas in the 1960s.
Born Fernando Álvaro Lamas y de Santos
(1915-01-09)January 9, 1915
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died October 8, 1982(1982-10-08) (aged 67)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, Director, Writer
Years active 1942–1981
Spouse(s) Perla Mux (m. 1940; div. 1944)
Lydia Barachi (m. 1946–52)
Arlene Dahl (m. 1954; div. 1960)
Esther Williams (m. 1969; his death 1982)
Children Lorenzo Lamas
Alexandra Lamas
Christina Lamas

Fernando Álvaro Lamas y de Santos (January 9, 1915 – October 8, 1982) was an Argentine-born actor and director, and the father of actor Lorenzo Lamas.

Early life and career[edit]

Lamas with co-star Danielle Darrieux in Rich, Young and Pretty.

Born Fernando Álvaro Lamas y de Santos[1] in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by 1942, he was an established movie star in his native country. 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.

Personal life[edit]

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.

His third wife was the American actress Arlene Dahl. They were married in 1954. They were later divorced in 1960. Out of this marriage was born a son, Lorenzo Lamas (born January 20, 1958).

His longest marriage was to the well known swimmer and actress Esther Williams in 1969, and they remained married until Fernando's death in 1982.

Fernando Lamas died of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles, California at the age of 67. His ashes were scattered by close friend Jonathan Goldsmith from his sailboat.[2] [3]


"When a person has an accent, it means they can speak one more language than you" — when Johnny Carson teased him about his accent during an appearance on The Tonight Show. In one of his most memorable moments on The Tonight Show, Lamas intimated, "Sometimes other men said that he was gay, and nothing pleased him more than proving them wrong with their own wives."[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

After his death, Lamas's archetypal playboy image[4] 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).[5][6]

His friend, actor Jonathan Goldsmith, took inspiration from Lamas for the character The Most Interesting Man in the World.[7]


Television work[edit]

Radio appearances[edit]

Year Program Episode/source
1952 Lux Radio Theatre Strictly Dishonorable[8]


  1. ^ International Directory of Performing Arts Collections and Institutions
  2. ^ Elaine Aradillas (2009-07-02). "Meet the Real Most Interesting Man in the World". people.com. Retrieved 2010-08-03. 
  3. ^ Lamas, Lorenzo, Lenburg, Jeff (2014). Renegade at Heart: An Autobiography. BenBella Books, Inc.. Kindle Edition. pp. 6, 7. 
  4. ^ Malone, Michael (May 1979). Heroes of Eros: male sexuality in the movies. Dutton. ISBN 978-0-525-47552-1. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  5. ^ Friedman, Roger (2006-11-09). "Britney Takes Publicity Into Her Own Hands". FoxNews.com. 
  6. ^ Thomas, Bob (1985-10-29). "Billy Crystal Moving from TV to Silver Screen". Ocala Star-Banner. Associated Press. p. 8C. 
  7. ^ Fox News. 2010-09-27. http://video.foxnews.com/v/4149883/the-most-interesting-man-in-the-world
  8. ^ Kirby, Walter (December 7, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 52. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read

External links[edit]