Lorenzo Lamas seemed destined for a career in acting from the very start. Born into a family deeply rooted in the industry, his parents’ involvement paved the way for his own journey in the field.
Renowned for his roles in iconic productions like the television series Falcon Crest and the legendary movie Grease, Lorenzo Lamas continues to grace the screen even at the age of 65, retaining his remarkable looks.
Nevertheless, Lamas’s life has been a series of highs and lows, marked by personal challenges he valiantly overcame. One such trial involved his son’s involvement with his ex-wife. Even as a young child, Lorenzo Lamas exhibited a natural affinity for acting.
He entered the world on January 20, 1958, in Santa Monica, California, raised by his mother Arlene Dahl, an accomplished American actress of Norwegian descent, and his father Fernando Lamas, an Argentinian actor and director.
Lorenzo Lamas – Formative Years His upbringing unfolded in the chic surroundings of Pacific Palisades, California. At the tender age of two, his parents parted ways, and eight years later, he relocated to New York City with his father.
Drawing from his diverse familial heritage, Lorenzo often capitalized on his ability to adapt to various accents. His role as Dracula in a Halloween production of Bram Stoker’s renowned novel was a testament to this skill. He once shared, “I take a little bit from him to do the accent. I’ve also done four movies in Bulgaria.”
While he matured from a child into a young man, his father lived an unconventional lifestyle. Lorenzo fondly recalled his father as larger than life, a presence that commanded every room he entered.
Lamas reminisced, “I idolized my father, especially as a young boy. He was bigger than life. He commanded the room. He’d done everything, seen everything.” Despite his admiration, he acknowledged his father’s traditional views on gender roles and relationships.
Early Steps in Acting Despite his father’s strict demeanor, Lorenzo received unwavering support to chase his dreams. He enrolled at Tony Barr’s Film Actors Workshop, where he honed his acting skills. In 1977, he secured his initial minor television role, featuring in two episodes of the series Switch. Concurrently, he developed a passion for martial arts, eventually earning black belts in taekwondo and karate.
Lorenzo Lamas’s Role in ‘Grease’ The journey to larger acting roles often presents a significant hurdle for most actors. Many audition tirelessly before landing their first significant Hollywood part. However, Lorenzo Lamas defied the norm. In 1978, he was cast as the handsome “Tom Chisum” in the iconic film Grease, which starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Interestingly, he wasn’t the original choice for the role, as Steven Ford was initially considered but proved too nervous.
Lamas’s role was largely nonverbal, yet it secured him a lasting place in cinematic history. Reflecting on the film’s enduring popularity, he mused, “I’m amazed by the longevity. It keeps finding new generations of people.”
Transition to ‘Falcon Crest’ Stardom Following Grease, Lamas’s career didn’t catapult overnight, but he remained steadfast. In 1981, he undertook the role of Lance Cumson in the acclaimed nighttime soap Falcon Crest. This endeavor paired him with the esteemed Oscar-winning actress Jane Wyman for an impressive 228 episodes. Despite early struggles with substance abuse, Lorenzo turned his life around, propelled by a powerful confrontation with Wyman on set.
His dedication bore fruit, and he earned a Golden Globe nomination in 1983 for his performance. The success of Falcon Crest ensured a consistent presence for Lamas on television, as exemplified by his role as Reno Raines in the drama series Renegade in 1992.
A Pilot and Charitable Endeavors While Lamas’s acting career persisted, he pursued diverse passions. He became a helicopter flight instructor and airplane pilot, and he engaged with the philanthropic organization Angel Flight, providing medical-related air transport for those in need. His involvement resonated deeply with him, offering an impactful way to contribute to others’ well-being.
Personal Struggles and Triumphs Despite his professional achievements, Lamas’s personal life was marked by turbulence. He navigated through five marriages, facing challenging circumstances. The most poignant of these was his ex-wife’s involvement with his own son. Lamas weathered this event with resilience, acknowledging his role in their strained relationship due to his demanding career.
The passing of his mother, Arlene Dahl, in 2021 brought a period of profound grief for Lamas and his family. Through all the highs and lows, Lorenzo Lamas has remained an enduring figure in the world of television, reminding us of the complexities and triumphs that shape a life in the spotlight.