Former model and child actor in ‘spaghetti westerns’ filmed in Spain makes Cornelius chiropractic clinic his professional watering hole
By Nancy Townsley
The Forest Grove (Washington) News-Times, Mar 18, 2010
He had one line in the 1966 Roman comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” starring Phil Silvers and Zero Mostel.
And Joe Hamlin screwed it up.
“I had to say, ‘Sire, sire, merchant Scruffalous bid me tell you he has a silent woman for sale’ – and it wasn’t easy,” recalled Hamlin, 54. “I saw the movie years later, and the line was cut. It didn’t make the final edit.”
At the time, Hamlin was an 11-year-old boy living in southern Spain, the son of professional golfer Charles Hamlin and Egyptian-born actress Mona Fouad.
His mother’s connections won him a handful of modeling jobs and bit parts in a few “spaghetti westerns,” including 1967’s “Seven Guns for the MacGregors.”
During one star-struck phase of his unusual childhood, Hamlin got to meet the likes of Hollywood superstar Omar Sharif and Dan Blocker, one of the Cartwright brothers in the long-running American western television series “Bonanza.”
So did his younger sister, Jackie, who appeared with him in a movie or two.
“We got to ride horses, shoot bad guys and learn how to drink wine from a goat’s gourd,” Hamlin noted. “It was just a lot of fun.”
That was then. Today, Hamlin and his wife, Heymi, are chiropractors in Cornelius. The couple settled in the western Washington County town only a month ago after leaving Spain for good. They’re taking over the 46-year-old practice of Dr. Richard Tilden and his wife, Ann, placing their bets on yet another sterling chapter in their lives.
The move will likely put an end to the Hamlins’ globetrotting ways.
“This is our last stand,” quipped Joe, who specializes in teen and adult chiropractic therapy.
Over the last two decades the Hamlins lived in Spain, Texas, Maine and Nevada.
Between 1999 and 2009, they operated Central Europe Chiropractic Clinic in southern Spain near the American School of Madrid, where their son Evan, who’s now 24, and their daughter Talia, 21, attended classes.
“It was a wonderful opportunity for my kids to grow up in a culturally rich environment,” said Joe.
Married to Heymi – whose mother, Kim Mee-Chong, was the first contestant to represent Korea in the Miss Universe pageant in the 1950s – since 1984, Joe said he’s ready to give up the family’s nomadic lifestyle.
With Evan living in Florida and Talia in Washington, D.C., the empty-nesters turned to the North American map – and Internet search engines – to guide their geographical future.
“Google and I became good friends,” Joe said.
They considered Austin, Texas, and Carson City, Nev., but eventually keyed in on northern Oregon.
“We wanted temperate weather, proximity to outdoor activities and the possibility of acquiring a small ranchette somewhere down the line.” Joe said.
The Hamlins eventually selected the Portland area for its “international flavor” and a commitment to sustainability. “I’m a real strong proponent of zero-footprint living,” Joe noted.
‘Very much alike’
And conversations with Tilden, who is about to retire after close to 50 years in Cornelius, sealed the deal.
“Dick and I are very much alike in our approach to chiropractic,” Joe said.
The Hamlins are renting a home in Hillsboro right now, but are keeping their eyes open for just the right piece of rural property.
“I’d like to name a few chickens in my backyard,” Joe said.
In the meantime, they’re moving bookshelves into the clinic on Baseline Street and introducing patients to a new laser therapy technique Joe says is all the rage in Europe and Asia.
“Lasers are very effective in taking care of any kind of inflammation in the body,” said Joe.
Fluent in Spanish
Fluent in four languages, including Spanish, Joe said he looked forward to serving the county’s Hispanic clientele.
“Now that we’re here, we want to bring chiropractic care to Latinos living in the area,” said Joe, who first became interested in chiropractic after he sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident at age 23.
“I didn’t turn my head more than 5 degrees for six months at that time,” he said. “Chiropractic therapy helped me. I was planning to go to medical school at the time, but I had a change of heart.”
Patients in Europe typically visit chiropractors for adjustments every three to six weeks, making it part of their routine health regimen, Joe said. “They combine it with their exercise programs and efforts to maintain a healthy weight. That way they keep their stress level under control so the body can heal.”
Joe and Heymi would like to see residents of the local communities follow suit.
“It’s called ‘wellness care’ because it’s preventive,” said Heymi. “People who are treated regularly get into fewer problems.”
For now, the Hamlins are enjoying a change of pace in a much smaller town.
“I was looking for a place to spend my next 50 years,” said Joe. “My wife and I think this is it.”