Stories of how huge names in the film industry found their place in Hollywood are one of my favorite because they remind us that these celebs that we all admire weren’t given everything on a silver platter. On the contrary, most of them struggled at the start of their careers, but it was their determination that helped them reach for the stars.
For actor Lorenzo Lamas, acting seemed to be written in the stars because both his mother and father were involved in the film industry. His mom, Arlene Dahl, an American actress of Norwegian descent was one of the last surviving stars from the Classical Hollywood cinema era. His father, Fernando Lamas, an Argentinian who worked as an actor and director and was also known for his turbulent love life was Lorenzo’s idol.
“I idolized my father, especially as a young boy. He was bigger than life. He commanded the room. He’d done everything, seen everything,” Lorenzo told Fox. “It’s pretty heady stuff to grow up with.”
After his parents divorced when he was just two, Lorenzo and his father eventually left California and moved to New York. At the time, his father married actress Esther Williams. One thing Lorenzo remembers from that period of his life is that when Esther’s children visited, he wasn’t allowed in the house.
“He was many things, but he was also fair, so if he wasn’t going to allow another man’s children in his house, then he couldn’t allow me in the house,” he said of his father.
“So my roommate was a Rolls Royce. I had a key that let me in the backdoor where there was a guest bathroom. But I came from military school, so living in a garage in Beverly Hills was plush to me. I had shared a urinal with 30 guys for the last four years. Looking back, I know that’s not normal. I know that I would never do that to my kids. I run my three teenage daughters around like a chauffeur.”
Lorenzo had his big breakthrough playing the role of Tom Chisum in the iconic film Grease. He played Sandy’s boyfriend, and that role, although rather small, secured him his place in Hollywood.
“I’m amazed by the longevity. It keeps finding new generations of people,” he told Studio 10 about Grease.
For the role, he had to dye his hair lighter because the producers didn’t see Sandy’s boyfriend as someone with dark hair, but that didn’t bother Lorenzo at all.
“I would have dyed it green, fuchsia, anything,” he told People.
What he loved most about his role was that he got the chance to work alongside Olivia Newton-Jonh, his childhood crash.
“I was 19. It was only the third thing I’ve ever done. And I was at the Paramount lot, meeting my childhood crush, Olivia Newton-John, and Mr. Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta. So I was kind of in a complete zombie state, to begin with,” Lorenzo recalled. “I couldn’t take my eyes off her,” he told Studio 10.
After Grease, Lorenzo landed the role of Lance Cumson on Falcon Crests where he starred alongside actress Jane Wyman. It was her who helped him get on track and take control of his life after he appeared high on set because of his addiction
“This is what we’re going to do. We’re going to take a 15-minute break. You’re going to memorize your lines. And you’re never going to come to work high again,” Lorenzo quoted Wyman saying.
After starring in whooping 228 episodes, what came next was the drama show Renegade which was also a huge success.
Lorenzo was married five times and has six children, with his last wife, actress Shawna Craig, being 30 years his junior. “It [complicated the family dynamic] initially,” Lorenzo told Entertainment Online in 2015. “Of course it would. My friends said, ‘What could you possibly have in common with a person that’s 30 years younger than you?’ I told them, ‘Everything.’”
The couple divorced in 2018.
Today, Lorenzo has put most of his time and energy working as a helicopter flight instructor and an airplane pilot. His charity organization Angel Flight provides free, medical-related air transport for people in need.
“Pilots like myself donate our planes and time to get people around the country for medical treatment,” he told Soap Opera Digest.
“I would fly people from their hometowns to the cities where their hospitals were located. I’ve also flown disabled kids to camp because riding in a car would be too uncomfortable for them, but the parents just couldn’t afford the [commercial] airfare.”
“There’s no way that you can avoid getting emotionally involved,” Lamas added. “There’s plenty of travel time for conversation, so you get interested in their lives, and you want to know all about them.”
63-year-old Lorenzo Lamas has a net worth of $2 million and is currently engaged to model-entrepreneur Kenna Scott.