Vintage Hunk: Lorenzo Lamas

By: Mike McCrann

Lorenzo Lamas ruled as the television hunk of 1981-1990 during his run of the smash hit Falcon Crest. Lamas played Lance Cumson (a great porn name had he ventured in that direction), the playboy grandson of Angela Channing (Jane Wyman) in the epic tale of a feuding wine industry family in Northern California. Lamas has the distinction of being the only actor on this long-running series to have appeared in all 227 episodes.

Lorenzo Lamas came from Hollywood royalty. His father was Argentine heartthrob Fernando Lamas and his mother was gorgeous movie star Arlene Dahl. Later, the senior Lamas divorced his wife and married swim queen movie star Esther Williams. To say that young Lamas was born to be beautiful with those genes is stating the obvious.

Born in Santa Monica in 1958, Lamas grew up with his movie star parents in California but went to New York with his mother when they divorced. After a few small TV roles, he landed a good part in the smash hit film Grease starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Lamas was blonde and a bit pudgy in this film adaptation of the stage musical, but his sex appeal was evident.

Then in 1980 he got the role of Lance Cumson in Falcon Crest, and his sexy face and body were a good deal responsible for the show's long-lasting success. This was the era of the great prime time soaps. Dallas was more fun and Dynasty was more glamorous, but Falcon Crest was still very popular; while it was never in the Top 5 like its two most famous competitors, any show that lasts almost ten years is big. Oscar winner Wyman handled the dramatics and there were plenty of talented supporting players and guest stars like Lana Turner, but Lamas was there to be gorgeous and sexy. No one expected Marlon Brando-type performances but he handled his showy role with panache.

When Falcon Crest crushed its last grape, Lamas went into another fun TV show, the cult hit series Renegade. This campy romp had Lamas as a police officer framed for murder and living on the run. It featured a tougher, sexier Lamas with longer hair, a motorcycle, and a great voice over that opened every show: "He was a cop and good at his job. But he committed the ultimate sin and testified against other cops gone bad. Cops that tried to kill him but got the woman he loved instead. Framed for murder, now he prowls the badlands, an outlaw hunting outlaws, a bounty hunter... a RENEGADE."

Lamas continues working to this day, on everything from daytime soaps and TV appearances to touring theatrical companies. Lamas had a publicity-ridden love life and has been married five times! And to a generation of gay fans, he will always be one of the dreamboats from late night TV. Sure, Dallas had sexy Sasha Mitchell and Dynasty had dashing John James, but Lorenzo Lamas will always be Falcon Crest's primo hunk, the headstrong and hot Lance Cumson.