Fernando Lamas

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Fernando Lamas
Lamas in the 1960s
Fernando Álvaro Lamas y de Santos

(1915-01-09)January 9, 1915[1] or 1916[2][3]
Buenos Aires, Argentina
DiedOctober 8, 1982(1982-10-08) (aged 67)[4]
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation(s)Actor, director, writer
Years active1942–1982
Perla Mux
(m. 1940; div. 1944)
Lydia Babacci
(m. 1946; div. 1952)
(m. 1954; div. 1960)
(m. 1969)
Children3, including Lorenzo Lamas
RelativesAJ Lamas (grandson)
Shayne Lamas (granddaughter)

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



Fernando Álvaro Lamas y de Santos[3][5] was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In this country 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), 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.[6] 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.[7]


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

In September 1949, he signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and went on to play mainly "Latin Lover" roles and occasionally sing in musicals.[8] 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.[9]

MGM gave him a star tenor part as Lana Turner's love interest in the popular operetta The Merry Widow (1952) by Franz Lehár. He romanced Elizabeth Taylor in The Girl Who Had Everything (1952), which was also successful. Lamas went to Paramount Pictures 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 Jivaro (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.[9] 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", Lamas later claimed.[10] He co-starred on Broadway in the 1956 musical Happy Hunting with Ethel Merman, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award.


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 Theatre but returned to features with The Lost World (1960).[citation needed] He also guest starred in one episode of The Lucy Desi Comedy Hour Lamas also appeared in the TV show "Combat!" (season 5 episode 4) "Brothers."


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).[citation needed]

Return to the U.S.[edit]

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.[11]

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, The Macahans, 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.[citation needed]

TV director[edit]

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[edit]

Lamas produced the TV movie Samurai, released in 1979. He directed episodes of Falcon Crest co-starring his son, Lorenzo. He also helmed Bret Maverick and several episodes of House Calls.

He had a supporting role in the series Gavilan when he fell ill with cancer. His scenes were shot with Patrick Macnee.[12]

Fernando Lamas died of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles, aged 67. His ashes were scattered by close friend Jonathan Goldsmith from his sailboat.[13][14]

Personal life[edit]

Lamas was married four times. His first marriage was to Argentine actress Perla Mux [es] in 1940 and they had a daughter, Christina, before divorcing in 1944. His second marriage was in 1946 to Lydia Valeria Babacci; this marriage also produced a daughter, Alejandra Lydia.[15] They were 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.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

His friend, actor Jonathan Goldsmith, took inspiration from Lamas for the character The Most Interesting Man in the World.[16] 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."[17]




Radio appearances[edit]

Year Program Episode/source
1952 Lux Radio Theatre Strictly Dishonorable[18]


  1. ^ Ancestry Library Edition[verification needed]
  2. ^ According to this baptism certificate he was born in 1916: Baptism certificate
  3. ^ a b "International Directory of Performing Arts Collections and Institutions". International Association of Libraries and Museums of the Performing Arts. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  4. ^ The Annual Obituary. St. Martin's. 1982. p. 487. ISBN 978-0-312-03877-9.
  5. ^ However, his mother was Fernández not de Santos.
  6. ^ Hopper, H. (April 20, 1952). "Fernando Lamas – latest latin lover". Chicago Daily Tribune. ProQuest 178278541.
  7. ^ E. G. (June 26, 1949). "Argentine Odyssey". New York Times. ProQuest 105947398.
  8. ^ Thomas F. Brady (September 10, 1949). "Argentine Actor Signed at Metro". New York Times. ProQuest 105840855.
  9. ^ a b The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  10. ^ Prelutsky, B. (March 19, 1978). "Penciling in an accent". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 158522633.
  11. ^ "Fernando lamas to debut as director". Los Angeles Times. January 18, 1967. ProQuest 155642242.
  12. ^ "Fernando Lamas, Actor at 67". The New York Times. A.P. October 9, 1982. ProQuest 424459723.
  13. ^ Aradillas, Elaine (July 2, 2009). "Meet the Real Most Interesting Man in the World". People. Retrieved August 3, 2010.
  14. ^ Lamas, Lorenzo; Lenburg, Jeff (2014). Renegade at Heart: An Autobiography. BenBella Books, Inc. Kindle Edition. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-1941631256.
  15. ^ Brazilian visa
  16. ^ "The Most Interesting Man in the World". Fox News. September 27, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  17. ^ "Saturday Night Live from 'SNL's' Most Memorable Moments". ABC News. April 14, 2020. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  18. ^ Kirby, Walter (December 7, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". Decatur Herald and Review. p. 52. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access

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