HELLO AMERICA!—It was wonderful connecting with my old friend George Hamilton again after so many years. We couldn’t help, but revive a few memories which represented a Hollywood we all loved and actually had fun working and living in. One of the parties that George and his “then” wife Alana gave was during the early days of their marriage with their son Ashley. It was a night to remember.
Their beautiful home located behind the Beverly Hills Hotel sparkled with industry icons as Kate Hepburn, Tatum O’Neal (who was about 12 years old), Merle Oberon, Gene Nelson, Ann Miller, Jane Russell, Joe Pasternak, Vincent Minnelli, Glen Ford and the list goes on and on. After so many years, I finally asked why I was invited to a private party like this? George laughed and said, “Because we could tell that you were a young man of manners. Then too, I had read much of your writings and interviews and it was clear that you too, loved the business as much as we did.”
George explained that actors like Spencer Tracy and Roald Coleman told him not to take himself too seriously. “They said that I should learn to laugh more, even when a pile of crap is being thrown in my face. After all, it was a learning period in my career and I should shut up, listen and make damn sure that I know my lines when the director calls ‘ACTION.’ And I’ve never forgotten that. As a result I was given an opportunity to work with some incredible people and gain a fan base, one could only dream of. As you know, MGM was a paradise for creative people in those days. And we were like a family and for many of us, Louis Mayer was like the godfather in so many ways. Yeah, those were magical times and I will always be grateful.”
When I mentioned that he had a serious image of being a playboy, always fousd at the really big parties in town. “In a way,” he said, “I can’t deny that. After all, I was a young, working and living among some of the most exciting people in the world. The women were gorgeous and accessible, that was the nature of this town of fantasy. And I guess, like so many other guys my age, I took advantage of it.”
I reminded George of the headlines when he was extremely close with Imelda Marcos, wife of former Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos. “It was all fun,” he stressed, “and I wouldn’t change one minute of it. We were just friends and ignored the rumors. The same thing happened when I dated President Johnsons’ daughter. People started talking about a marriage and even a secret baby on the way. I think people think these things because it adds a little spice to their humdrum lives. So you’d be a fool to take yourself too seriously. And that’s how I’ve lived my entire life as an actor and it has been a beautiful journey.”
When asked about his future plans as an actor, he simply said, “If there is something offered that I believe might be or could be fun or interesting, I’ll be the first one to sign onto it. I love appearing on stage. A live audience is something special and I will always be grateful for their respect. People often ask me about doing more television. Well, like I said if the right role or character comes along, my door is always open.”