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Fernando Álvaro Lamas y de Santos
January 9, 1915
Buenos Aires, Argentina
|Died||October 8, 1982 (aged 67)|
Los Angeles, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, director, writer|
(m. 1940; div. 1944)
(m. 1946; div. 1952)
(m. 1954; div. 1960)
|Children||3, including Lorenzo Lamas|
|Relatives||AJ Lamas (grandson)|
Shayne Lamas (granddaughter)
Fernando Álvaro Lamas y de Santos was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His movies included En el último piso (1942), Frontera Sur (1943), Villa rica del Espíritu Santo (1945), and Stella (1946). He appeared on Broadway in Happy Hunting.
Lamas was also seen in The Poor People's Christmas (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. His first American film was The Avengers (1950) for Republic Pictures shot on location in Argentina. Some scenes were filmed in the US, leading to Lamas going to Hollywood.
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.
MGM gave him a star part as Lana Turner's love interest in The Merry Widow (1952), a solid hit. He romanced Elizabeth Taylor in The Girl Who Had Everything (1952), which was also successful. Lamas went to Paramount where he was top billed in Sangaree (1953). Back at MGM he was Esther Williams' leading man in Dangerous When Wet (1953), a big success. 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.
Lamas did episodes of Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre ("The Bravado Touch"), Climax! ("Spider Web"), Pursuit ("Eagle in a Cage"), Shirley Temple's Storybook, Zane Grey Theater but returned to features with The Lost World (1960). He also guest starred in one episode of The Lucy Desi Comedy Hour
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).
Return to the U.S.
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.
Last years and death
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 Babacci (or Barachi); this marriage also produced 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 swimmer and actress Esther Williams in 1969, and they remained married until Lamas's death in 1982.
In popular culture
His friend, actor Jonathan Goldsmith, took inspiration from Lamas for the character The Most Interesting Man in the World. The most well known parody of Fernando was on the Saturday Night Live sketches that featured Billy Crystal. In the recurring Fernando's Hideaway sketch, Crystal used Lamas’s accent for inspiration, as well as a quote from the actor: "It is better to look good than to feel good."
- On the Last Floor (1943)
- Stella (1943)
- Southern Border (1943)
- Villa rica del Espíritu Santo (1945)
- The Poor People's Christmas (1947)
- Evasion (1947) – Bruno
- The Tango Returns to Paris (1948)
- Story of a Bad Woman (1948)
- La Rubia Mireya (1948) – Alberto
- The Unknown Father (1949)
- Vidalita (1949)
- The Story of the Tango (1949) – Juan Carlos Maldonado
- Corrientes, calle de ensueños (1949)
- La Otra y yo (1949)
- The Avengers (1950) – André LeBlanc
- Rich, Young and Pretty (1951) – Paul Sarnac
- The Law and the Lady (1951) – Juan Dinas
- The Merry Widow (1952) – Count Danilo
- The Girl Who Had Everything (1953) – Victor Y. Raimondi
- Sangaree (1953) – Doctor Carlos Morales
- Dangerous When Wet (1953) – Andre LaNet
- The Diamond Queen (1953) – Jean Baptiste Tavernier
- Jivaro (1954) – Rio Galdez
- Rose Marie (1954) – James Severn Duval
- The Girl Rush (1955) – Victor Monte
- The Lost World (1960) – Manuel Gomez
- Duel of Fire (1962) – Antonio Franco
- Revenge of the Musketeers (1963) – D'Artagnan
- Magic Fountain (1963) – Alberto
- A Place Called Glory (1965)
- The Violent Ones (1967) – Manuel Vega
- Kill a Dragon (1967) – Nico Patrai
- 100 Rifles (1969) – General Vertugo
- Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976) – Premiere Male Star
- The Cheap Detective (1978) – Paul DuChard
- Lux Video Theatre (1954)
- The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour ("Lucy Goes to Sun Valley") (1958)
- Jane Wyman Presents (1958) – Juan Bravado
- Climax! (1958) – Jose Aragon
- Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater (1960) – Giulio Mandati / Miguel
- Shirley Temple's Storybook (1960) – Professor Fritz Bhaer
- Burke's Law (1965) – Kelly Mars / El Greco
- The Virginian (1965) – Captain Estrada
- Combat! ("Breakout") (1965) – Vertrain
- Laredo (1966) – Paco Romero
- Combat! ("The Brothers") (1966) – Leon Paulon
- The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. (1966) – Salim Ibn Hydari / Alejandro De Sada
- Valley of Mystery (1967) – Francisco Rivera
- Run for Your Life (1965–1968) – Ramon De Vega
- The Red Skelton Show ("A Spy Is a Peeping Tom on Salary") (1971) – Harry Sneak
- Hondo ("Hondo and the Comancheros") (1967) – Rodrigo
- The High Chaparral ("The Firing Wall") (1967) – El Caudillo
- Tarzan ("Jungle Ransom") (1968) – Velasquez
- Then Came Bronson ("Where Will the Trumpets Be?") (1969) – Miguel Cordova
- The Lonely Profession (1969) – Dominic Savarona
- It Takes a Thief – (1968), (1969), (1970) – Paolo Monteggo / Pepe Rouchet / Francisco Arascan
- Mission Impossible – (1968), (1970) – Ramon Prado / Roger Toland
- The Name of the Game (1970) – Cesar Rodriguez
- Dan August (1971) – Tony Storm
- Alias Smith and Jones (1971) – Big Jim Santana
- Bearcats! (1971) – Chucho Morales (Pilot Movie, "Powderkeg")
- The Mod Squad (1971–1973) – Arturo Roca / Lt. Ramon Sanchez
- Night Gallery (1973) – Dr. Ramirez (segment "Hatred Unto Death")
- McCloud (1975) – Max Cortez
- Murder on Flight 502 (1975) – Paul Barons
- Bronk (1975) – Abriega
- Switch (1976) – Fouad
- Charlie's Angels (1977) – Jericho
- Police Woman (1977) – Carlos Rubenez
- The Love Boat (1978) – Bill Klieg / Bill Teague
- How the West Was Won (1979) – Fierro
- House Calls ("Defeat of Clay") (1980) – Doctor Langston
- The Dream Merchants (1980) – Conrad Stillman (final appearance)
|1952||Lux Radio Theatre||Strictly Dishonorable|
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- E. G. (Jun 26, 1949). "ARGENTINE ODYSSEY". New York Times. ProQuest 105947398.
- THOMAS F BRADY (Sep 10, 1949). "ARGENTINE ACTOR SIGNED AT METRO". New York Times. ProQuest 105840855.
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
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- Aradillas, Elaine (2009-07-02). "Meet the Real Most Interesting Man in the World". People. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- Lamas, Lorenzo; Lenburg, Jeff (December 9, 2014). Renegade at Heart: An Autobiography. BenBella Books, Inc. Kindle Edition. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-1941631256.
- "The Most Interesting Man in the World". Fox News. 2010-09-27. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
- "Saturday Night Live from 'SNL's' Most Memorable Moments". ABC News. 2020-04-14. Retrieved 2021-05-30.
- Kirby, Walter (December 7, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". Decatur Herald and Review. p. 52. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
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