George Hamilton (actor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

George Hamilton
Hamilton in 2023
Born (1939-08-12) August 12, 1939 (age 84)
OccupationActor
Years active1952–present
Spouse
(m. 1972; div. 1975)
Children2, including Ashley Hamilton
Parent

George Stevens Hamilton (born August 12, 1939)[1] is an American actor. His notable films include Home from the Hill (1960), Where the Boys Are (1960), Angel Baby (1961), By Love Possessed (1961), A Thunder of Drums (1961), Light in the Piazza (1962), Two Weeks in Another Town (1962), The Victors (1963), Looking for Love (1964), Your Cheatin' Heart (1964), Viva Maria! (1965), Doctor, You've Got to Be Kidding! (1967), Jack of Diamonds (1967), The Power (1968), Evel Knievel (1971), The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1973), Once Is Not Enough (1975), Love at First Bite (1979), Zorro, The Gay Blade (1981), The Godfather Part III (1990), Doc Hollywood (1991), Once Upon a Crime (1992), 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag (1997), Hollywood Ending (2002), and The Congressman (2016). For his debut performance in Crime and Punishment U.S.A. (1959), Hamilton won a Golden Globe Awards and was nominated for a BAFTA Award. He has received one additional BAFTA nomination and two Golden Globe nominations.

Hamilton began his film career in 1958, and although he has a substantial body of work in film and television, he is perhaps most famous for his debonair style, perpetual suntan, and commercials for Ritz Crackers. Bo Derek wrote in her autobiography that "there was an ongoing contest between John Derek and George Hamilton as to who had the most tan!".[2]

Early life[edit]

Hamilton's stepfathers were Carleton Hunt and Jesse Spalding; his stepmother was June Howard, with whom Hamilton said he had repeated sexual relations when he was age 12, shortly after she married his father, and again later when he was an adult.[3][4]

Hamilton attended the Hackley School in Tarrytown, New York, graduating in 1957.[citation needed]

Career[edit]

Early appearances[edit]

Hamilton's first roles were in TV. He appeared on such shows as The Veil (playing an Indian), The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, The Donna Reed Show, and Cimarron City. His first film role was a lead, Crime and Punishment U.S.A. (1959), directed by Denis Sanders. Although shot in 1958 it was not released until the following year. However, the film was seen by Vincente Minnelli who thought Hamilton would be ideal for the younger son in Home from the Hill (1960), a Southern melodrama with Robert Mitchum. Hamilton was cast, and the film was popular. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer signed him to a long-term contract.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer[edit]

MGM cast Hamilton in support of Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner in the melodrama All the Fine Young Cannibals (1960) which flopped at the box office. Hamilton's next film was far more popular, the beach party comedy Where the Boys Are (1960). It was a hit and remains one of his better known movies.

Hamilton wanted to do more serious material, so he appeared in the lower budgeted Angel Baby (1961), a drama about an evangelist, for Allied Artists. It had minimal commercial or critical impact. For United Artists, he supported Lana Turner in the melodrama By Love Possessed (1961). MGM tried to change his image by putting him in the Western A Thunder of Drums (1961); the film was mildly popular.

Hamilton lobbied hard for the role of the Italian husband in Light in the Piazza (1962), with Olivia de Havilland. The film lost money, but Hamilton received excellent notices. It was shot in Italy, and MGM kept Hamilton in Italy to play a role in Two Weeks in Another Town (1962), an unsuccessful attempt to repeat the success of The Bad and the Beautiful (1952).

Hamilton had an excellent part in The Victors (1963), an anti-war drama from Carl Foreman. It was a box-office disappointment but was critically acclaimed. Hamilton had another good role in Act One (1963), playing Moss Hart, but the movie was poorly received. He guest-starred on episodes of Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre and Burke's Law.

After making a cameo in Looking for Love (1964), Hamilton appeared in Your Cheatin' Heart (1964), playing Hank Williams. The movie was not widely seen, and Hamilton's performance received some praise. He guest-starred on episodes of The Rogues and Ben Casey.

Hamilton went to Mexico for Viva Maria! (1965). It was directed by Louis Malle who cast Hamilton on the strength of his performance in Two Weeks in Another Town. Malle said "he was a personal choice and I am happy with him...He's more interested in being in the social columns – I don't understand – when he should be one of the greatest of his generation".[5] The film was popular in Europe, but less so in the US.

Hamilton made That Man George (1965) and appeared in a production of A Farewell to Arms (1966) on TV. He returned to MGM to make Doctor, You've Got to Be Kidding! (1967), a romantic comedy with Sandra Dee, which was mildly popular. At Columbia, he co-starred with Glenn Ford in A Time for Killing (1967), originally directed by Roger Corman, then by Phil Karlson.

Hamilton played a cat burglar in MGM's Jack of Diamonds (1967). It was produced by Sandy Howard who said Hamilton was "a hot commodity these days" because he was dating Lyndon Johnson's daughter.[6] Reports put his fee around this time at $100,000 per movie. He was drafted into the Army but received a 3-A deferral notice on the grounds that he was the sole financial provider for his mother.[7] Hamilton's draft deferment was highly controversial at the time because it was thought that his relationship with the president's daughter gave him preferential treatment.[8] In 1968, Hamilton made The Power.

Television[edit]

Hamilton went into television in 1969, supporting Lana Turner in the all-star series Harold Robbins' The Survivors (1969–70).[9] When the show was canceled in January 1970, Hamilton went into Paris 7000 (1970). He portrayed a trouble shooter for the U.S. State Department in Paris. This series was canceled in March 1970. He starred in the TV films Togetherness (1970) and The Last of the Powerseekers, a 1971 compilation of two episodes of Harold Robbins' The Survivors.

Producer[edit]

Hamilton moved into producing to give himself greater control over his career. He produced and played the title role in Evel Knievel (1971). Hamilton had the script rewritten by John Milius, and the latter called Hamilton "a wonderful guy, totally underrated. A great con-man, that's what he really is. He always said 'I'll be remembered as a third-rate actor when in fact, I'm a first-rate con man.'"[10]

He appeared in the TV movie The Last of the Powerseekers (1973), and had a supporting role in The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, starring Burt Reynolds (1973). He produced and appeared in Medusa (1973). He starred in the TV movie The Dead Don't Die (1975) and had a supporting role in Once Is Not Enough (1975). On a 1975 episode of Columbo, Hamilton played a psychiatrist who uses hypnosis to commit a murder, whose arrogant assertions in his own defence establish that he was in fact at the scene of the crime.

Hamilton guest-starred on episodes of Police Story, McCloud, Roots, The Eddie Capra Mysteries, Gibbsville, Supertrain, and Sword of Justice.

He had supporting roles in The Strange Possession of Mrs. Oliver (1977), The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington (1977), Killer on Board (1977), Sextette (1978), The Users (1978), From Hell to Victory (1979), Institute for Revenge (1979), and Death Car on the Freeway (1979).

Love at First Bite[edit]

In 1979, he appeared in the surprise hit Love at First Bite, in which he showed a flair for comedy; it was the story of Count Dracula's pursuit of a young Manhattanite model, played by Susan Saint James. The film included scenes with Dracula and his conquest as they dance to "I Love the Nightlife" at a disco. The film's box-office success created a popularity surge for Hamilton, who also served as executive producer.

He returned to TV for The Seekers (1979) and The Great Cash Giveaway Getaway (1979), then he did 1981's Zorro, The Gay Blade, which he produced. However, Zorro was not as popular as Love at First Bite, and film leads dried up quickly. He focused on television: Malibu (1983) and Two Fathers' Justice (1985).

In the mid-1980s, Hamilton starred in the sixth season of the Aaron Spelling-produced television serial Dynasty. He supported Joan Collins in the miniseries Monte Carlo (1986) and had the lead role in the series Spies (1987). He supported Elizabeth Taylor in Poker Alice (1987).

1990s[edit]

A break for Hamilton came in 1990 when Francis Ford Coppola cast him as the Corleone family's lawyer in The Godfather Part III. For the second time, he portrayed a murderer on the television series Columbo, starring as the host of a TV true-crime show in the 1991 episode "Caution: Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health". He had been in the 1975 episode "A Deadly State of Mind".

Hamilton had small roles in Doc Hollywood (1991), Once Upon a Crime (1992), and Amore! (1993), and guest-starred on Diagnosis: Murder and Dream On. He went to Germany to make At the Edge of Paradise [de] (1993). He did Two Fathers: Justice for the Innocent (1994), Vanished (1995), and Playback (1996); and guest-starred on the shows Bonnie, Hart to Hart, and The Guilt.

He was in Meet Wally Sparks (1997), 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag (1997), and the miniseries Rough Riders (1997), where he portrayed William Randolph Hearst. With his matinee-idol looks, it was sometimes noted that Hamilton physically resembled Warren Beatty. Beatty's political satire Bulworth (1998) contained a running gag, with Hamilton appearing as himself. Hamilton had a regular role on the TV series Jenny (1997).

He was in Casper Meets Wendy (1998), P.T. Barnum (1999), and She's Too Tall (1999). He was a semi-regular celebrity guest on the 1998-1999 syndicated version of Match Game.

2000s[edit]

In 2001, Hamilton starred on Broadway in the play Chicago in the role of Billy Flynn. He played the roles from November 21, 2001, to February 17, 2002; June 4, 2002 to July 29, 2002; and from September 14, 2007, to October 7, 2007.

In 2003, Hamilton hosted The Family, a reality television series, for one season. The program starred 10 members from a traditional Italian-American family, each fighting for a prize of $1 million. In 2006, Hamilton competed in the second season of Dancing with the Stars[11] with professional Edyta Sliwinska in which they lasted until the sixth round. At age 66 and recovering from knee injuries, Hamilton, unable to match the limber dance moves of his younger competitors, charmed the audience and judges with endearingly silly dances that used props, including a Zorro mask and the sword from Zorro, The Gay Blade.

In 2006, it was rumored that Hamilton would replace Bob Barker on The Price Is Right. He auditioned for the show, and in March 2007, TMZ reported that Hamilton was a frontrunner to replace Barker. According to Reuters, Hamilton was one of the final three contenders to host the show, alongside Mark Steines and Todd Newton.[12] However, Drew Carey was named as Barker's successor. Hamilton has hosted the live stage adaptation of the show The Price Is Right Live! In August 2008, Hamilton co-starred in Coma, a web series on Crackle.[13] Hamilton was executive producer of the 2009 film My One and Only, loosely based on his early life and relationship with his mother.

Hamilton was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on August 12, 2009.[14] In 1999, a Golden Palm Star on the Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.[15] Hamilton appeared as a contestant on the UK edition of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! in November 2009. Hamilton walked out of the jungle on November 30, 2009, telling the other contestants that he wasn't there to win but to have fun.[16][17][18] Hamilton was considered one of the favorites to win the series. In 2010 Hamilton was chosen as one of David Hasselhoff's roasters in the Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhoff. Starting in Fall 2011, Hamilton starred as "Georges" for the national tour of the Tony-winning revival of La Cage aux Folles.[19] He was still starring in the show as of June 2012.

In 2015 George and his ex-wife, Alana Hamilton appeared in Season 4/Episode 10 of Celebrity Wife Swap. Alana swapped with Angela "Big Ang" Raiola of Mob Wives and her husband Neil Murphy. In Summer 2016, Hamilton appeared in television commercials for KFC as the "Extra Crispy Colonel", a deeply tanned version of the company's mascot Colonel Sanders, a role which he returned to in Spring 2018. On July 6, 2018, Hamilton portrayed the Colonel on General Hospital.[20]

Business endeavors[edit]

In the late 1980s, Hamilton launched the George Hamilton Skin Care System and the George Hamilton Sun Care System and tanning salons.[21][22] A cigar lounge bearing his name was opened in the late 1990s at the New York, New York, hotel in Las Vegas and other locations, along with a line of cigars bearing the actor's name. A January 1998 article in Cigar Aficionado described Hamilton's style as "Cary Grant meets Pat Riley".[23][24][25]

In April 2006, Hamilton served as grand marshal for the 79th Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, Virginia.[26] In 2016 and 2018, Hamilton appeared as the "Crispy Colonel" in commercials for KFC, playing on his image for tanning.[27]

Personal life[edit]

In 1966, Hamilton had a relationship with Lynda Bird Johnson, the daughter of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.[28]

From 1972 to 1976, Hamilton was married to actress Alana Stewart. Their son, Ashley George, was born in 1974. The divorced Hamiltons reunited in the mid-1990s to co-host the daytime talk show George & Alana, and again in 2015, as stars of the reality show Stewarts & Hamiltons.

From 1995 to 1999, Hamilton dated Kimberly Blackford, whom he met in Fort Lauderdale when she was a swimsuit model.[29][30] In December 1999, Kimberly gave birth to their son, George Thomas Hamilton (nicknamed "GT"[31] or George Jr.). Hamilton never married Blackford, but they became friends again as their son got older. Hamilton and both of his sons attended military schools; GT attended Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg.[30]

As a contestant in I'm a Celebrity in 2009, Hamilton revealed he had dated at least four Miss Worlds. In 2019, Hamilton said he was romantically unattached, but does enjoy dating different ladies.[32]

Hamilton has a well-known social relationship with Imelda Marcos, widow of former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and had business ties to the Marcos family. In 1990, Hamilton was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal fraud and racketeering case against the Marcoses involving the looting of government funds; Imelda was acquitted in the case.[33]

According to Burt Reynolds' autobiography,[34] Hamilton has a healthy sense of humor, even when the humor is directed at him. Reynolds wrote that he made up a birthday card for Hamilton with a composite photograph of Tony Curtis and Anthony Perkins, titled "To George, love from Mum and Dad". Hamilton found the card hilarious and showed it to everybody.

My One and Only, a 2009 comedy film starring Logan Lerman, was loosely based on a story about George Hamilton's early life on the road with his mother and brother. It features anecdotes that Hamilton had told to Merv Griffin.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Television[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Life's Little Pleasures (co-authored with Alysse Minkoff) (1998) ISBN 978-1575440866
  • Don't Mind if I Do (co-authored with William Stadiem) (2009) ISBN 978-1416545071

In literature[edit]

In the comic strip Doonesbury, Hamilton is the namesake of the fictional "George Hamilton Cocoa Butter Open", described as the Le Mans of the (also fictional) professional tanning circuit, and "Tanmaster Hamilton" is the idol of character Zonker Harris who competes on that circuit.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Today in History". The Park City Daily News. The Associated Press. August 12, 2022. p. 2A. Actor George Hamilton is 83.
  2. ^ Derek, Bo (with Mark Seal) (2002), Riding Lessons: Everything That Matters in Life I Learned from Horses, ReganBooks HarperCollins, ISBN 0060394374, p.212
  3. ^ Fox News. "George Hamilton Admits to Sleeping with His Stepmother at Age 12". Archived August 7, 2021, at the Wayback Machine Fox News. October 17, 2008
  4. ^ Hamilton, George; Stadiem, William (October 14, 2008). Don't Mind If I Do. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4165-4502-6. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  5. ^ He Blunted U.S. Blue Pencil Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times (June 29, 1965): C8
  6. ^ Lynda Johnson Gets a Job at McCall's: LYNDA BIRD GETS A JOB AT M'CALL'S By TERENCE SMITH. New York Times (October 6, 1966): 1.
  7. ^ HAMILTON TELLS OF BUSY CAREER: But Sought-After Actor Is Silent on Role as Suitor By VINCENT CANBY. New York Times (October 7, 1966): 38.
  8. ^ Carmichael Says He Won't Go If Drafted: CARMICHAEL VOWS HE WON'T SERVE By THOMAS A. JOHNSON. New York Times (October 29, 1966): 1.
  9. ^ "The Survivors (1969) Cast". TVGuide.com. TV Guide. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  10. ^ Segaloff, Nat, "John Milius: The Good Fights", Backstory 4: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1970s and 1980s, Ed. Patrick McGilligan, Uni of California 2006 p 289
  11. ^ Dancing With The Stars – ABC.com
  12. ^ Trio remaining in Price line from Reuters
  13. ^ "Michael Madsen, George Hamilton and Paul Ben-Victor Star in Coma, an Original Web Series Premiering On Crackle.com". webwire.com. August 22, 2008. Retrieved March 5, 2009.
  14. ^ "Content Marketing Platform - B2B and B2C Content Marketing Technology - NewsCred". Daylife.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2012.
  15. ^ "The Brightest Stars from New York to Los Angeles" (PDF). May 8, 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 18, 2019.
  16. ^ Alex Fletcher (November 30, 2009). "George Hamilton 'quits I'm a Celebrity'". Digital Spy.
  17. ^ "Hamilton Leaves I'm a Celebrity". BBC News. November 30, 2009. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
  18. ^ Busk-Cowley, Mark (2014). I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!: The Inside Story. Bantam Press. p. 143. ISBN 978-0593073483.
  19. ^ "George Hamilton to Star in National Tour of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES". Broadwayworld.com.
  20. ^ a b Rice, Lynette (July 4, 2018). "General Hospital: See how George Hamilton will show up as Colonel Sanders". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  21. ^ Jacobson, Michael; Masur, Laurie; Collins, Ron (1995). Marketing Madness: A Survival Guide For A Consumer Society. Westview Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-8133-1980-3.
  22. ^ Alexander, Ron (September 19, 1989). "Where the Sun Shines, There He Is". The New York Times.
  23. ^ Benes, Alejandro. "Hamiltons Las Vegas". CigarAficionado. Mar-Apr 1998.
  24. ^ Minkoff, Alysse. "Forever Suave". CigarAficionado. Jan-Feb 1998.
  25. ^ "Smoke a Stogie". Los Angeles Magazine. Oct 1999.
  26. ^ "Past Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festivals". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
  27. ^ "George Hamilton Reprises His Role as Colonel Sanders: "I'm the Only Guy Who Has Parlayed a Tan into a Career"". The Hollywood Reporter. April 20, 2018.
  28. ^ "Lynda Johnson Robb and George Hamilton: When a president's daughter dated a movie star". The Washington Post. February 12, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  29. ^ Arnold, Sarah (November 22, 2009). "'Breasts-mad George ditched me when I was pregnant with his son'". Mirror. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  30. ^ a b Fleming, John (February 15, 2012). "George Hamilton shares some secrets of his long career". Tampa Bay Times. Times Publishing Company. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  31. ^ Ruymen, Jim (photo credit) (August 12, 2009). "Actor George Hamilton receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles". UPI. United Press International. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  32. ^ Baum, Gary (August 2, 2019). "George Hamilton Beyond the Tan: At 80, Hollywood's Ultimate Showman Looks Back on Scandals, Trump Ties and 'The Joke Being on Me'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 26, 2021.
  33. ^ Rempel, William C.; Weinstein, Henry (October 9, 1990). "COLUMN ONE: An Actor's Close Ties to Marcos: The Philippine government's quest for missing funds leads to George Hamilton's former doorstep in Beverly Hills". Los Angeles Times.
  34. ^ Reynolds, Burt (1994). My Life. Hyperion Books. ISBN 978-0-7868-6130-9.
  35. ^ Holub, Christian (September 7, 2017). "George Hamilton joins season 2 of American Housewife". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 9, 2017.

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