Fernando Álvaro Lamas
(January 9, 1915, Buenos Aires
– October 8, 1982, Los Angeles
) was an Argentina
-born American actor
and director, and the father of actor Lorenzo Lamas
. His full birth name was Fernando Álvaro Lamas y de Santos
Early years and career
Lamas was born in Buenos Aires
. By 1942, he was an established movie star
. In 1951, he signed a contract
and went to the United States
to play "Latin Lover" roles.
Lamas was married four times, to Perla Mux (married 1940-divorced 1944), Lydia Barachi (married 1946-divorced 1952), actress Arlene Dahl
(married 1954-divorced 1960), and swimmer
and actress Esther Williams
(married 1969-his death 1982).
He had a daughter with Mux and another with Barachi, and a son, actor Lorenzo Lamas (b. January 20, 1958), with Dahl.
Lamas directed for the first time in 1963. It was a Spanish movie titled Magic Fountain
starring his wife Esther Williams
. He was most active directing on television
, doing episodes that included Mannix
, The Violent Ones
, Alias Smith and Jones
, Starsky and Hutch
and Falcon Crest.
The latter show co-starred his son, Lorenzo.
Lamas 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!" (Often spelled "mahvelous" in this context.)
Fernando Lamas died of pancreatic cancer
in Los Angeles, California
at the age of 67. He is survived by his daughters, his son Lorenzo and 6 grandchildren.
Lamas is the grandfather of 5 girls and only 1 boy (all the children were from his son, Lorenzo): Álvaro Joshua "A.J." Lamas (b. December 19, 1983), Shayne Dahl Lamas (b. November 9, 1985), Paton Lee Ashbrook (b. September 6, 1988), Alexandra Lynne Lamas (b. November 22, 1997), Victoria Lamas (b. April 24, 1999), and Isabella Lorenza Lamas (b. February 2, 2001)
"When a person has an accent, it means he can speak one more language than you" — when Johnny Carson teased him about his accent during an appearance on The Tonight Show