Celebrating Seniors - George Hamilton is 77, Part Two
George Hamilton, Part Two: Alana and Evel Knievel to The Godfather: Part III (1970-1994)
In the early 1970’s, George Hamilton starred as U.S. State Department international trouble-shooter Jack Brennan in the short-lived TV adventure-drama series Paris 7000 (1970), and dated Alana Collins off and on.
Hamilton began producing some movie projects to star in, including the biographical movie Evel Knievel (1971), which was Alana’s movie debut in a bit part. Hamilton told the Daily Express he was reluctant to get married to Alana Collins and left for the Amazon.
“At one hotel I jumped in the pool and found it infested with crocodiles. Alana went off to English country homes and fell in love with Lord Lichfield.”
During their break up, George Hamilton met Swedish actress Britt Ekland, who had coincidentally had an affair with Lord Lichfield herself. When his two-week romance with Britt Ekland ended, a depressed Hamilton returned to California.
Alana Collins reappeared, picking up her possessions to return to England and Lord Lichfield. As Hamilton tells it,
“I was at home with Elvis Presley’s manager, my friend Colonel Parker, and he said, ‘Marry her. You’ll have a much more peaceful life if you get it over with now.’ “Parker said if I proposed at 5pm we could be at the airport by 5.30, fly to Vegas on Elvis’s plane, go to Elvis’s suite where there’d be a judge waiting, get married, play roulette and be home by 10pm. “Alana said, ‘I can’t get married now, I have to walk the dog!’ So we took the dog with us to Vegas, got married, I lost $15,000 on the roulette table and got home in time for the evening news.“
Colonel Tom Parker was George Hamilton’s best man at their October 1972 wedding, and Alana Collins’s cockapoo Georgie served as her maid of honor. Alana and George Hamilton then filmed the mystery Medusa (1973) in Greece; according to (IMDB) screenwriter Christopher Wicking, Medusa was the solution to Hamilton’s desire for an all-expenses-paid honeymoon. Alana and George Hamilton’s son son Ashley Hamilton was born in 1974.
According to George Hamilton, there were a couple of reasons for his amicable divorce from Alana Collins in 1975 after 3 years of marriage, including financial worries when he had mortgaged their home to finance the Evel Knievel documentary. In his opinion,
“We married too young – well, she did – and I misunderstood her attention deficit disorder. I like foreplay as much as I like the act but people with ADD have already left town while you’re still trying to make love.”
Alana told People that “George had already done the whole Hollywood scene, and I wanted to be out partying.”
Alana Collins was introduced to Scottish rocker Rod Stewart (who was living with Hamilton’s ex, Swedish model Britt Ekland at the time) in 1975, and they began an affair. Alana Collins married Rod Stewart in 1979 and had two children with him, daughter Kimberley and son Sean, before they also divorced in 1984. Rod Stewart, Alana Stewart, and George Hamilton have all remained friends. Hamilton has said, “I had no problem with Alana going out with Rod, I think she had superb taste. Rod said we have similar taste in women, and I said, ‘If you think this year’s crop is good wait till you see next year’s,’” and commented that “Rod and I…did share a seemingly identical taste in women. Before Alana, we had both been involved with Swedish bombshell Britt Ekland, and after Alana, we both dated the beauty Liz Treadwell.“
Although George Hamilton acted steadily during the early 1970’s, his leading man roles in movies were dwindling. He was in the feature films The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1973) with Sarah Miles and Burt Reynolds (his second movie with Reynolds), and Jacqueline Susann’s Once is Not Enough (1975) starring David Janssen and Kirk Douglas (his co-star from Two Weeks in Another Town).
During the late 1970’s, George Hamilton was seen often in both feature films and on television, guest-starring on series like Police Story, Columbo and McCloud. A few of George Hamilton’s many film roles from 1977-1979 included the following:
- Mini–series Roots (1977), appearing as Stephen Bennett.
- TV thriller Killer on Board (1977) starring Claude Akins, Patty Duke, William Daniels, Susan Howard, and Jane Seymour.
- Musical comedy-romance Sextette (1978) starring Mae West, Timothy Dalton, funnyman Dom DeLuise, Tony Curtis, Ringo Starr, and Alice Cooper. That same year, Tony Curtis and George Hamilton paired again onscreen in the TV drama The Users (1978) starring Jaclyn Smith. Red Buttons (who appeared with him in 1964’s Your Cheatin’ Heart) and Michelle Phillips also appeared in The Users.
- TV thriller Institute for Revenge (1979) starring Lauren Hutton.
- WWII movie From Hell to Victory (1979) co-starred with George Peppard (Banacek).
- Big-screen thriller Death Car on the Freeway (1979) – starred Shelley Hack (Charlie’s Angels) and Frank Gorshin (The Riddler on Batman), with Abe Vigoda, Morgan Brittany, and Barbara Rush (Peyton Place)That same year, George Hamilton and Barbara Rush also co-starred in the TV mini-series The Seekers (1979). Their co-stars in The Seekers included Randolph Mantooth, Brian Keith, Delta Burke, Hugh O’Brian, Ed Harris, and Stuart Whitman.
George Hamilton executive-produced and starred in the horror-romance-comedy Love at First Bite (1979). His co-stars in Love at First Bite included Richard Benjamin, Arte Johnson, and Susan Saint James, whom George dated for a time. Love at First Bite was a huge financial success, having been made on a very low budget ($3 million) and raking in $44 million at the box office.
George Hamilton testified in court in 1990 that he first met former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos when he was promoting Love at First Bite in the Philippines. They became close friends and when Imelda Marcos was on trial for fraud and racketeering, during the trial Hamilton confirmed that a friend of hers had loaned him $5 million for a film venture.
Throughout the 1970’s, George Hamilton’s reality show appearances continued unabated; baby boomers and seniors will remember him from game shows like The Hollywood Squares, and Celebrity Sweepstakes (1975-1976); guesting and guest-hosting on both The David Frost Show (1971) and The Mike Douglas Show 1975-1979. George Hamilton and wife Alana Stewart appeared on 18 episodes of Tattletales (1974-1975) hosted by Bert Convy.
For much of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, George’s frequent companion was Liz Treadwell, but they were never exclusive (according to Hamilton). He told People in 1979 that his romantic liasions had (at that time) already numbered in the thousands, and said “When I was married, I was married. Now I’m not and I do not act as though I am—it would give people the wrong impression.”
Hamilton was already a self-proclaimed, self-directed health and wellness acolyte, taking up to 40 vitamins and supplements daily, and saying his anti-aging quest to maintain his ever-youthful appearance was “Not just because I’m worried about getting old but because I’m fascinated by medicine.”
In the 1980’s, George Hamilton’s big-screen movie career was limited to one movie – the action-comedy Zorro: The Gay Blade (1981), which he starred in and also produced. Among his co-stars in Zorro: The Gay Blade were Lauren Hutton, his Institute for Revenge (1979) co-star, and Brenda Vaccaro, who had appeared with him in Once is Not Enough (1975).
Baby boomers may recall seeing George on television in some of his other 1980’s film projects:
- The TV drama Malibu (1983) co-starring James Coburn, Susan Dey, Jenilee Harrison, Ann Jillian, Kim Novak, Eva Marie Saint, and Troy Donahue.
- The TV thrillers Two Fathers: Justice (1985) and the sequel Two Fathers: Justice for the Innocent (1994), both of which co-starred George Hamilton and Robert Conrad. (Photo: Amazon.ca)
- Hamilton had a recurring role as Joel Abrigore on Dynasty (1985-1986) alongside stars Linda Evans, John Forsythe and close friend Joan Collins.
As he entered his 50+ years in 1989 George Hamilton hosted the Golden Globe Awards show and, ever interested in maintaining his deep tan, launched a chain of tanning salons and skincare products – George Hamilton Sun Care System and George Hamilton Skin Care System.
Shortly after his 50+ years began in 1989, George Hamilton appeared in two big-screen movies in a row with Bridget Fonda. In the first, The Godfather: Part III (1990) starring Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Andy Garcia, Joe Mantegna, and Eli Wallach (his co-star from The Victors in 1963), he played a lawyer.
Hamilton’s second movie with Bridget Fonda in it, was the romantic comedy Doc Hollywood (1991) starring Michael J. Fox and Woody Harrelson. Other movies in the early 1990’s:
- The TV movie The House on Sycamore Street (1992) starring Dick Van Dyke and his son Barry Van Dyke; he later also appeared in an episode of Dick Van Dyke’s series Diagnosis Murder (1996).
- Once Upon a Crime (1992), a crime caper starring John Candy, Jim Belushi, and Cybill Shepherd; a few years later, George Hamilton guest-starred on Shepherd’s television series Cybill (1995).
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