Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Happy 75th Birthday George Hamilton

George Stevens Hamilton IV was born on August 12, 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee. Hamilton was the first child born to Ann and George Hamilton Sr., who was a touring society bandleader. In order to accommodate George Sr., the family moved frequently, residing in Arkansas, Los Angeles, Boston, New York and Palm Beach. Hamilton attended Palm Beach High School, where he developed an affinity for drama. Following high school, Hamilton's good looks caught the eye of studio executives. He landed his first lead role in 1959's “Crime and Punishment”. Although his performance was considered wooden, his chiseled features and movie star good looks won the attention of studio executives. Hamilton was offered a steady stream of roles, and in the 1960s, he prospered as an actor opposite Hollywood's most sought after actresses. During this period, he starred in over a dozen films including 1961's “By Love Possessed” (with Lana Turner) and 1962's “Light in the Piazza” (with Olivia de Havilland). He appeared in his only Euro-western “Viva Maria!” (1965) which starred Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau as the revolutionary Flores.
 
However, in 1966, personal obstacles put a damper on his professional career. Hamilton's courtship of Lynda Bird Johnson (President Johnson's daughter) was widely publicized, and eventually erupted into a tabloid scandal. As the scandal progressed, fewer and fewer roles came his way. Hamilton gave in to the pressures of the industry and reluctantly accepted his first television role as the trendy Duncan Carlyle in the series ‘The Survivors’ (1969).
 
In 1979, Hamilton made a comeback to the big screen with his appearance as Count Dracula in the horror spoof “Love at First Bite”. In 1981's “Zorro, the Gay Blade” he played the title role. For one season in 1985, Hamilton enjoyed a brief stint on the prime time series ‘Dynasty’, where he played a ruthless movie producer. Five years later, director Francis Ford Coppola cast Hamilton as Al Pacino’s high-profile lawyer in “The Godfather, Part III” (1990).
 
In the early 1990s, the struggling actor maintained his affluent lifestyle by launching a line of skin products that were sold via the QVC network. In 1995, he partnered with his former wife Alana to introduce their own short-lived talk show, ‘The George and Alana Show’. Hamilton has also enjoyed frequent appearances on the morning show ‘Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee’, where he served as temporary co-host during Philbin’s absence.
 
Most recently he appeared as a financier in A&E's four-hour miniseries ‘P.T. Barnum’ (1999). Based on the life of the founder of the famed circus, the series premiered in October of 1999 and featured Beau Bridges in the title role.
 
Throughout his career (which includes over 80 movie and television shows), Hamilton came to be known as the perpetually tanned leading man of the big and small screen. In Hamilton's most recent project, he collaborated with Merv Griffin to produce an autobiographical film that focuses on his childhood. He appeared in the film “Off Key” (2001), which paired Hamilton with Danny Aiello and Joe Mantegna as a trio of opera singers who are reunited by a wedding 10 years after their own stormy breakup.
 
In the mid-1970s Hamilton divorced his first wife Alana (she later married musician Rod Stewart). Hamilton has one son by his first marriage, Ashley, who is best known for his marriages to model Angie Everhart and actress Shannen Doherty.
 
Today we celebrate George Hamilton’s 75th birthday.

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