Lorenzo Lamas: Flying Just Makes Sense (But it’s Also a Lot of Fun)

Lorenzo Lamas: Flying Just Makes Sense (But it’s Also a Lot of Fun)

By Di Freeze

After getting his pilot’s license, Lorenzo Lamas went from a Piper Archer, to a Seneca, to this Mirage, which he acquired in 2000. Presently, he’s in-between airplanes.

After getting his pilot’s license, Lorenzo Lamas went from a Piper Archer, to a Seneca, to this Mirage, which he acquired in 2000. Presently, he’s in-between airplanes.

From 1992 through 1997, fans tuned in to “Renegade” to follow the exploits of Reno Raines, a detective-turned-fugitive after he testifies against “cops gone bad” and then is falsely accused of murdering a fellow officer. Bearing the extra emotional burden of having an unconscious girlfriend, critically wounded by a bullet meant for him, he goes on the run. On his trusty Harley, he “prowls the badlands” as a bounty hunter—”an outlaw hunting outlaws”—while searching for the one man who can clear his name.

Following that hit series, Lorenzo Lamas, who has a black belt in three different martial arts (judo, tae kwon do and jujitsu), was chosen for the starring role in two other action TV series. In “Air America” (1998) he was cast as Rio Arnett, an ex-Navy Seal who goes undercover for the U.S. Government as a station chief for a commuter airline service that flies anything, anywhere, anytime, to and from Costa Perdida, in the country of Buenaventura. In the “The Immortal” (2000), his character, Raphael “Rafe” Cain, seeks vengeance after his wife is murdered and his daughter is taken captive by supernatural villains from the underworld in 16th century Asia. He pursues the demons through the centuries, while learning magic and samurai swordsmanship.

That’s just his “action” TV work. He’s also appeared in over 50 films over the last 25 years, and most have been in the action genre. With that action-hero image in mind, as well as the knowledge that he’s a former race car driver who’s never without a Harley, when someone finds out he’s a pilot, the tendency is to think he got his pilot’s license for the thrill of it. But he says that’s not the case.

Lamas has owned four different airplanes in the last decade. It was a desire to spend quality time with his children that inspired the father of six to take up flying.

In 1996, Lamas was shooting “Renegade” in San Diego. At that time, his two oldest children, actor/model Alvaro Joshua (A.J.), now 21, and Shayne, 19, were living in Lake Havasu, Ariz.

“In order to see them, they’d have to get on a commuter flight from Lake Havasu to Phoenix, then hop on a 737 to San Diego,” he said. “They’d basically have to miss a day of school in order to come out and visit me. I started thinking about getting a pilot’s license simply because I thought it would make better sense.”

He reasoned that if he had a pilot’s license, he could fly to Lake Havasu on a Friday afternoon, pick them up, fly back to San Diego, and have the entire weekend to spend with them.

“Instead of worrying about airplane reservations, I’d just have more time with them,” he said. “And we could spend the time in the airplane together, on the way to San Diego, and on the way back.”

For his training, Lamas chose Professional Pilot Training in Burbank, Calif.

“It’s a very good school,” he said. “My primary instructor was Ken Lake, who’s now flying for American. Ray Reynolds ran the school. I was flying a Cherokee that must’ve had 30,000 hours on it. It was a typical flight school type of airplane, but it ran well and the school kept up the maintenance perfectly. They really kept their airplanes in good condition.”

A big decision

Once Lamas began learning to fly, something happened that forced him to decide if he wanted to be a pilot or remain a race car driver. He said that for several years, beginning in 1985, when he took the first position in the Toyota Long Beach Celebrity race, racing cars took a lot of his time—and money.

That first win led to a career in IMSA Camel Lights and the USAC/Toyota Sportsman series. His top finishes included fifth at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 1989 and sixth at the 1990 12 Hours of Sebring. He remembers the exact moment, in 1996, when he decided to concentrate on aviation instead.

“I was in a race up in Monterey, at Laguna Seca,” he said. “I was doing about 120 mph uphill. At the top of the hill, there’s a heavy braking area, where you have to get the car rotated and pointed downhill for a really short downhill portion of the track. It’s a very quick part of the track.

“I was on my way up the hill, going into the braking area. There was the most perfectly shaped cumulus cloud right at the crest of the corner, smack-dab in the middle of my line of sight. Just for a second, I was thinking about being in that little airplane of mine, going around that cloud, and I wasn’t ‘in’ the race car.” As a result, he missed his braking point.

“I ended up locking up all four tires, spinning down the hill and then backing into a fire wall,” he said. “I did heavy damage to the back of the car, but I was okay. That was the point that I decided, ‘I’m either going to race cars or fly airplanes,’ because if I’m in a race car doing 120 mph, and I’m thinking about punching holes through the sky, I don’t need to be in that race car.”

The fact that he’s very safety conscious prompted him to take an aerobatic course shortly after passing his private pilot exam. “I went to Rich Stowell, the best in the business,” Lamas said.

Stowell, CEO and president of the Aviation Learning Center at Santa Paula Airport, is also the author of “Emergency Maneuver Training: Controlling Your Airplane During a Crisis.” He developed the FAA-approved EMT Program, which includes unusual attitude spin recoveries, and has successfully taught nearly 25,000 spin/stalls to students worldwide.

Lorenzo Lamas transitioned to the Mirage when he landed the lead role in “The Immortal,” and needed an aircraft with longer range to fly to Vancouver, Canada, where the series was being shot.

Lorenzo Lamas transitioned to the Mirage when he landed the lead role in “The Immortal,” and needed an aircraft with longer range to fly to Vancouver, Canada, where the series was being shot.

“He’s an amazing aerobatic instructor and pilot,” Lamas said. “I have 120 spin recoveries with him. It was a long course.” Stowell, who’s an FAA safety counselor, as well as a master/CFI-A, said he and Lamas flew through all three modules of the EMT program—stall/spin awareness, in-flight emergencies and basic aerobatics—in the spring/summer of 1999.

“He was an excellent student and his stick and rudder skills were quite good,” Stowell said. “Since Lorenzo had been involved in a number of activities requiring a good sense of balance (i.e. motorcycle riding, martial arts), he was able to develop a good feel for the Decathlon in relatively short order.”

Stowell said he’s found that to be the case with a number of pilots who also ride motorcycles. “They often seem to have an easier time transitioning to tailwheel flying,” he said.

Precaution is a big theme when he’s talking about flight. For instance, he says he experienced soaring, once, before he had ever thought of getting a pilot’s license, and might someday like to take it further—mainly as a precautionary measure.

“I was shooting a television series, and on a day off, I drove up to Calistoga from Napa and took a soaring ride,” he said. “It’s awful quiet, and it’s beautiful. You’re really kind of trusting Mother Nature. I’ve read and heard from many pilots—experienced pilots with thousands and thousands of hours in all different types of aircraft—that when you can soar with proficiency, you understand almost all of the aerodynamics tendencies of an airplane that could probably save your life if you should ever lose an engine.”

The Archer

Shortly after he began his primary flight training, Lamas was offered the role of Rio Arnett in “Air America.” Although it wasn’t his initial inspiration for flying, he said being on the show and being around airplanes enhanced his desire to fly. When he got the series, in 1997, he bought a Piper Archer from Avex in Camarillo, Calif.

“I bought my first airplane at about 40 hours of total time,” he said. “It didn’t have much. It didn’t have the glass panel avionics that the Archers roll out of the factory with now. It had dual VOR receivers and a transponder (Mode C). I didn’t have an HSI; I just had a regular dash-mounted compass. I had an ADF (a receiver that is useful only as an AM radio).”

He kept the airplane in San Diego, and flew it to complete his training with Lake. As he had dreamed, Friday after work, he’d fly to Lake Havasu, pick up his children, and fly back for a wonderful weekend with them.

“I did that about once or twice a month,” he said. Immediately after getting the Archer, Lamas began planning to get his instrument rating.

“There was an opportunity for me to go to Laughlin, to Sheble Aviation, and get my multi-engine endorsement, so I could do my instrument training in a twin,” he recalled. “I wanted to do that for two reasons. The Archer was a great airplane, but I knew it wasn’t going to be my airplane for life. I knew that I would eventually get a twin.

“I imagined stepping up to one fairly soon, because I did a lot of night flying and didn’t want weather to dampen my ability to fly. I knew the instrument rating was going to be necessary. Also, I just figured I’d kill two birds with one stone. So I went to Sheble’s and got my multi-engine sign-off.”

After taking Sheble’s four-day multi-engine course, Lamas continued his instrument and further multi-engine training with Bob Crystal, director of training at Simulator & Instrument Training Center of Van Nuys.

“I really feel that in order to be proficient at multi-engine operations, you have to spend more than four days learning about the dynamics of asymmetrical thrust and everything that pertains to flying twins,” he said.

Lamas continued to use the Archer to transport his children back and forth, but flew a Beech Duchess to increase his instrument skills while training with Crystal.

“Bob’s an excellent instructor,” he said. “He also emphasizes a lot of simulator time for instrument training. He likens instrument flying to acting, with the exception that when you make a mistake on camera, you can say, ‘I’d like that take again, please.’ You make a mistake in an airplane and you don’t get the same kind of second chance.”

Lamas said the school of thought is that when you’re in a simulator and you’re in the middle of an approach, if you make a mistake, you can freeze the simulator and examine what the problems are and what caused them.

“In an airplane, you just can’t do that,” he said. “You can’t just stop the airplane in midair and figure out what went wrong with an approach. So simulator training, in the way Bob Crystal teaches it, is invaluable. I had so much more experience in missed approaches and diverting to different airports, and it’s just a lot more panel time in the simulator than I would ever hope to get in the real airplane.”

Lamas said that in an hour in an actual airplane, you could probably only get maybe two or three approaches at the most.

Although he’s never flown an open-cockpit airplane solo, Lorenzo Lamas has gone up in a Stearman and enjoyed the ride. He says he might be interested in owning one later in life, but for now, he’s more interested in an L-39 combat jet.

Although he’s never flown an open-cockpit airplane solo, Lorenzo Lamas has gone up in a Stearman and enjoyed the ride. He says he might be interested in owning one later in life, but for now, he’s more interested in an L-39 combat jet.

“In the simulator, you can do six, and you can stop and examine it and have a discussion about the minimums and all the different things you need to know as an instrument pilot,” he said.

The Seneca

Within three to four months of getting his multi-engine rating, Lamas transitioned to a Piper Seneca. His first introduction to the plane was when he bought the Archer, and Avex offered to take him up in a Seneca.

“I remember what a thrill it was,” he said. “I was a newly minted private pilot and when the salesman gave me the controls of the Seneca, I just thought that was the cat’s meow. I thought, ‘This is the ultimate airplane.'”

He said it was an exciting day when he was able to take delivery of his new 1999 Seneca. He was also happy to be able to take advantage of Piper’s step-up program.

“It was a neat deal,” he said. “If you buy a new plane from them and trade it in on a larger aircraft within a certain amount of time, they’ll take the money you put down on your original airplane and apply it to the new one. So there was really no depreciation; I didn’t lose any money on the Archer when I traded up. I obviously increased my investment.”

Lamas recalls a poignant meeting with that Archer’s future owner. “I flew it to John Wayne Airport to show it to this gentleman and his wife,” he said. “She was a commercial pilot; she was a safety pilot and had more than 10,000 hours. What was memorable about that day was that I was flying my little Archer down to show this gentleman, who had been saving for twenty years to buy this plane.

“I mentioned before how in my mind the Archer had always been a beautiful airplane, but it was going to be just a step in the ladder of my aviation experience. It was not going to be my ultimate airplane; but it was to this gentleman. I was so happy and thrilled when he told me how much he loved that airplane.”

Lamas went up with the couple so the man could shoot a few approaches. “She was sitting in the right seat, and he was sitting in the left seat,” he said. “He was just so excited. It really was a neat plane; it only had about 500 hours on it. This was his dream plane, and it put everything in perspective for me.”

Lamas flew to Vero Beach, Fla., to attend SimCom flight training for the Seneca in 1998. After finishing his training, Lamas, the salesman and another pilot flew the airplane back out to the West Coast.

“We took about three days to do it,” he recalled. “Because of the insurance company, I needed about 25 hours of dual.”

At the time, Lamas only had about 200 hours. “I had just completed my instrument training,” he said. “I was a fairly green multi-engine pilot; I had about 100 hours of multi-engine time that I got in the Duchess. But because of the systems that had been learned from going to the school, and because of the aircraft itself, it was a fairly easy airplane for me to get accustomed to.”

He recalled having an excellent safety pilot who flew Learjets on a regular basis. “He was way ahead of the aircraft, which I wasn’t,” he said. “But I became pretty good at flying that thing. After the 25 hours, I used it as a commuter from LA to San Diego on a regular basis.”

He also flew it across the country a few times, including one trip to spend Christmas with his mother in Florida. “I took my daughter, Alexandra, who is seven now, but was almost four at the time,” he said. “Alexandra, her nanny and I flew from LA to Palm Beach. We stopped in Houston, went to the Space Center, and stopped in Orlando. I took Alexandra to Disney World, and made a fun deal out of it. It was a really great trip.”

The Mirage

Although he loved the Seneca, in 2000, Lamas sold it and acquired a Piper Mirage. “I really needed an airplane that had a little bit longer range,” he said. “I needed to go up high, to get up to the altitudes, so that I could make the trip to Vancouver, Canada, because I got a series in 2000 that was shooting up there.” That series was “The Immortal.”

“So, again, there’s the airplane working for me in business as well as personal use,” he said. “It’s really fun to be able to fly your own airplane to another country. It was a great airplane for that trip. It’s about 1,100 miles; it only took about five hours’ flight time to get up there.”

Usually, Lamas would fly to Reno and refuel, and then head up to Vancouver. “I would fly up at 22,000 feet. Sometimes, with very little wind, I could make it without a stop,” he said.

However, he said he’s always erred on the side of safety when it comes to fuel and weight. “I think smart pilots just have to do that,” he said. “I’d usually stop in Reno, whether I really needed to or not. When I flew from Vancouver, however, because of the winds, I was able to do it nonstop.”

Lamas made that trip in the Mirage about half dozen times over the course of a year, which is about how long he worked in Canada.

He recalls a day that changed his outlook on what type of aircraft he wanted to fly. Flying out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, he was on an instrument departure that was “totally IFR.”

“I was dealing with thunderstorms,” he said. “My storm scope lit up with several lightning strikes within ten miles of the airplane. I was basically trying to beat a front out of Atlanta, to fly south and then turn west to go back home. I just wasn’t comfortable hearing and seeing one propeller spinning out there. I was really used to two.

“With many pilots, there’s a lot of discussion about the safety of a twin versus a single. Twins are great airplanes and they fly a lot like a single—until one quits. Then you have a lot of aerodynamic effects that go into play. It makes it very challenging when an engine quits on a twin, especially if you’re at low altitude, flying at low airspeed.”

He said that at that point, he was beyond his comfort level. “I guess I still feel that way now,” he said. “I just like the idea of having another engine out there turning—because it buys you some time. As long as you remain skilled and proficient at emergency procedures, when one engine quits, I think it’s safer.”

At that point, Lamas sold the Mirage and got another Seneca, this time, a 2001.
“I got a Seneca that was two years newer,” he said. “It had great avionics. I had the Garmin panels, the moving maps, the MFD (Multifunction Display) with terrain. I had a bunch of toys, really. It was a lot of fun to fly that airplane. I flew that for almost two years.”

He sold that aircraft last year. He says he’s in-between planes right now, and that he’s given a lot of thought to what he wants next. He knows it will be one of two things. He also knows what it most likely “won’t” be.

What’s next?

Birthdays are naturally a time to reflect. On Jan. 20, 2005, Lamas turned 47. On that day, after taking his children to school, he temporarily forgot about the lines he needed to learn for his latest project, “The Bold and The Beautiful,” and discussed what’s at the center of his existence these days.

“At this moment in my life, I’m focusing a lot on my family,” he said.

Besides Alexandra, he has two other young daughters. Victoria is 5, and Isabella is 4. Lamas also has plans to remarry in July. His bride to be is Barbara Moore, a beautiful model and ballroom dance champion.

These four women are a determining factor as to what aircraft Lamas gets—or doesn’t get—next. Lamas has been to the Reno Air Races a couple times and says he’s thought about getting a T-6—but that probably won’t happen.

Bob Crystal, Robert Sharp and Lorenzo Lamas, at SimuFlite two years ago, when Lamas got his Ce-500 type rating.

Bob Crystal, Robert Sharp and Lorenzo Lamas, at SimuFlite two years ago, when Lamas got his Ce-500 type rating.

“After I met Barbara, about a year and a half ago—well, you start thinking about things,” he said. “And my kids—talking about going air racing is about as popular as drinking warm milk. I understand it completely. Life is risky enough. I’m a father, and I have a woman who loves me and would really miss me if anything should happen, so I probably won’t be air racing.”

Just when you start to think that he’s been completely tamed, he says there is a “caveat” to that statement. “I’d like to have a little combat jet, and to be able to go out there, in the afternoon on a Sunday, and do some rolls and wingovers and things like that,” he said. “That would be totally adventurous—and it wouldn’t be dangerous. I get my jollies and I don’t worry anybody.”

Lamas said he’s been looking into that possibility for the last four years. “I went to Santa Fe a couple years ago, and I flew an L-39 with Larry Salganek,” he said. “He runs a flight school (Jetwarbird Training Center) out of there, and he gets people their letter of authorization to fly these Eastern Bloc combat jets. I just love the airplane; it’s so docile handling.”

He said the L-39 is a lot like the Mirage. “It has a straight wing, and it lands at 90 knots, which is about what you land a big piston single at,” he said. “They’re gorgeous—and I love the smell of jet fuel.”

There is one disadvantage—or advantage—depending on how you look at it. “You can only fly around with another person, but I went back to my logbook and I really looked at what my flight profile has been,” he said. “Most of the time, I’m flying either alone, or just with another person.”

However, he realizes that his present focus will probably change that flight profile. That means his future might include a family plane. “I might get one, so I can fly my family to exotic locations,” he said. He’s debating a pressurized twin that would seat six people, or possibly a twin turboprop, such as a Cheyenne.

“That would give me the safety redundancy that I like, and I’d also have room enough for my family,” he said. Still, the debate goes on.

“To have six seats that you don’t fill just doesn’t make sense to me,” he says. “We’re going to have to look at it in the next year and see what happens. But it’s fun to think about it.”

“Thinking about it” actually is a big part of the fun. When he’s not checking out various aircraft online, he’s debating pros and cons with other pilot friends.

When it comes to an interest in “other” types of aircraft, although he’s never flown an open-cockpit airplane solo, he has gone up in a Stearman and enjoyed the ride.

“Taking my Stearman up for a Sunday ride is probably something I would want to do a little later on, when I have my little house on that airstrip back out in the mountains somewhere within a fly-in community,” he said.

Although he’s interested in a “little” jet, he said a very light jet isn’t on his radar.

“I don’t want to fly around with a pilot for the next year or two,” he said. “I want to fly something that I can get ready to fly in pretty quickly. And I only have about 1,500 hours’ total time, so that limits my choices. It’s not a lot for a jet pilot. Insurance companies really look at that.”

He adds that VLJs are a bit pricey. “They want almost $2 million for those airplanes!” he said. “I could get a little Eastern Bloc combat jet for about $250,000.” Lamas says he has a decision to make, but he doesn’t have to make it tomorrow.

“I’m busy working on a show here in Los Angeles, so I don’t really need an airplane to get to work like I used to,” he said. “We’ll see what happens in the next six to 12 months with aviation. I think everything is going to adjust when they do come out with the VLJs. I think it’s really going to change a lot of the pricing of most GA aircraft.”

In the meantime, Lamas continues to fly, and to train with Bob Crystal. “He’s a devoted aviator who takes all training seriously and accepts new challenges with the utmost enthusiasm,” Crystal says.

He revealed that Lamas wouldn’t mind buying a Citation some day. “He got his Ce-500 type rating two years ago,” Crystal said. “I attended the course at SimuFlite with him.”

He says that presently Lamas rents his twin-engine Aztec and flies his single-engine Citabria. “Plus he does regular instrument recurrent training in my flight simulator,” he said.

Practicing emergencies

Lamas got his helicopter rating in 2002. “I love helicopters,” he said. “They’re so much fun, just like a magic carpet. They’re completely different than airplanes for many reasons. The number one reason is that you can’t fly them hands-free. Your feet are busy, your hands are busy, you’re always moving around. It’s total control, total feel of what the aircraft is doing every second.”

He said he can’t imagine taking a helicopter cross country, because it would be exhausting. What he really likes is going up and practicing emergencies.

“It’s really exciting to push down that collective all the way and shoot these auto-rotation landings,” he said. “I take an instructor up and all we do is pretend we’re crashing. It’s a lot of fun.”

“One Six Right”

As most pilots do, Lamas like to share the joys of aviation with others. “There are so many different pilots that fly different equipment out there, but the one thing I think we all share is the complete joy of feeling the freedom of being able to handle an amazing machine,” he said. “That’s just the constant. That’s what draws it all together for me.”

Because of that, he’s excited about “One Six Right,” a movie in progress about the history of Van Nuys Airport, where Lamas has based his last three aircraft. For the film, named after the main runway at VNY, Brian J. Terwilliger interviewed various aviation enthusiasts, including Lamas, to present the origin, passion, history and activities of the airport.

“The movie is going to give folks out there who aren’t familiar with general aviation an insight into what it’s all about,” Lamas said. He said that hopefully it will also help recruit new pilots and supporters for AOPA and other aviation organizations that help GA pilots.

“I think we’re the only country in the world that supports general aviation to the extent that we do, because America is democracy-based and freedom-fighting,” he said. “Aviation is like the poster child for what is good about this country. The ability for a person of any social make-up, any racial demographic, to drive to an airport, rent an airplane and go fly, anywhere, within the confines of these wonderful United States, is a freedom that I certainly appreciate. I’m really excited about the movie, because it’s going to introduce more people to that freedom.”

Angel Flight

Lorenzo Lamas got his helicopter rating in 2002.

Lorenzo Lamas got his helicopter rating in 2002.

Several years ago, Lamas got involved with Angel Flight, a nonprofit organization formed “to ensure that no financially-needy patient is denied access to distant specialized medical evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, or rehabilitation for lack of a means of long-distance medical air transportation.” He got involved after meeting Larry Camerlin, an Angel Flight district supervisor on the East Coast, at SimCom.

“He asked me if I would be interested in participating in a flight, and he got me in touch with the Angel Flight organization out here on the West Coast,” he recalled.

The flights he’s made include several to pick up a woman in Lake Tahoe to fly her to LA for treatment at UCLA.

“I just really got a lot out of that,” he said. “It filled my soul with a very satisfying feeling to be able to do that for these folks.”

He said he enjoys working with Angel Flight because it’s very “hands-on.”

“You get into the question of going to a fundraising event, and bidding on a charity item, and not really knowing where those dollars that you spent are going to end up,” he said. “With Angel Flight, you’re in direct contact with the people that need your help. I meet them at the airport, settle them in the cockpit and give them some literature—information on what Angel Flight is. I engage them in conversation; I try to be as personable with them as I can, as their pilot. It’s a thrill for them, number one, because a lot of them have never been in a small plane before.

“These are folks that don’t have the funds to get on a United flight; they’d be driving a car for 10 hours to get to their treatment. They just don’t have the strength to do that, and they’re really in a hard way. They’re dealing with personal tragedy, without the financial resources to make it more comfortable.”

He said he always considered it a “gift” to be able to help out.

“I also flew a 3-year-old girl who had been born with a tumor,” he said. “She was so precious. She flew with her mom. I picked her up in North Las Vegas and flew her to San Diego to the Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital Center. We got in the airplane, and her mom was just as sweet as could be and so appreciative.

“This little girl was just as wide-eyed as any other kid that would be taking her first ride in an airplane. She didn’t see herself the way I saw her, as a very sick young girl. She had a smile on her face, from ear to ear. She was so excited. It really affected me.”

All of Lamas’ charity work hasn’t been accomplished through his piloting skills. He co-chairs on several children’s charities, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Children’s Angel Foundation. He’s also a regular participant in the Love Ride, the largest one-day motorcycle event in the world, which has raised over 16 million dollars for various charities over the last 20 years.

Lamas, who has had various Harleys over the years, only has one at the moment. His Road Glide is a large touring bike.

“I ride it mostly to the charity events that we do here in LA, like the Love Ride, which is held every November,” he said. “But I think I’m going to build another chopper this summer. It’s been long enough; it’s been a couple of years since I built my last one.”

The many faces of Lorenzo Lamas

Lamas was born in Santa Monica in 1958, and grew up in Southern California. At 13, after the divorce of his father, Fernando Lamas, and his mother, stage and screen actress Arlene Dahl, he moved with Dahl to New York City, but often traveled back to California to visit his father.

He credits life at the Admiral Farragut Academy with helping him develop character and discipline that would benefit him throughout his life. During his four years at the academy, he also developed an interested in athletics and lettered in wrestling and track.

Lamas, president of his senior class and second in charge of a battalion of 300 cadets, graduated with the intention of enrolling in the University of California to study veterinary medicine. But during the summer of that year, he visited his father on the film set of “The Cheap Detective.” At that point, he decided to pursue a career in acting and to follow his father’s advice to enroll in Tony Barr’s actors’ studio.

Although his role was un-credited, he made his “acting debut” in 1969, as an Indian boy in “100 Rifles,” which starred Fernando Lamas, Burt Reynolds, Raquel Welch and Jim Brown. His first big break came at age 19, when he was cast in “Grease” (1978). His character, that of jock Tom Chisum, was Danny Zuko’s (John Travolta) rival for Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton John).

From there, he was cast in several TV roles, such as the short-lived “California Fever” (1979) and “Secrets of Midland Heights” (1980/81). His next series was a hit. He was cast as playboy Lance Cumsom in “Falcon Crest,” which ran from 1981 through 1990.

Knowing that the heartthrob had been studying tae kwon do, the producers decided to incorporate that skill into the action scenes of his character. That set the stage for future film projects. His earlier roles included “SnakeEater” (1989), in which Lamas was cast as Jack Kelly (“Soldier”), an ex-commando turned big city cop dispensing justice “his way.” That spawned “Snake Eater II: the Drug Buster” (1991) and “Snake Eater III: His Law” (1992).

In the early nineties, Lamas met with Stephen J. Cannell to develop “Renegade.” Between 1992 and 1997, he filmed 110 episodes of that show, which also starred Branscombe Richmond as Bobby Sixkiller, Kathleen Kinmont (Lamas’ third wife) as Cheyenne Phillips, and Cannell and Lt./Marshal Donald “Dutch” Dixon. Besides acting in “Renegade,” Lamas occasionally produced and directed some of the episodes.

During that period, he starred in several more action films, including “Final Impact” (1992), “CIA Code Name ‘Alexa'” (1992) and “CIA II: Target Alexa” (1994), which he also directed, as well as “Blood for Blood” (1994), “Terminal Justice” (1995), “Mask of Death” (1996) and “The Rage” (1997).

Lorenzo Lamas says there are so many different pilots that fly different equipment, but the one thing they share is the “complete joy of feeling the freedom of being able to handle an amazing machine.”

Lorenzo Lamas says there are so many different pilots that fly different equipment, but the one thing they share is the “complete joy of feeling the freedom of being able to handle an amazing machine.”

In between “Air America” and “The Immortal,” both which ran for one season, he appeared in films including “Undercurrent” (1998). In 2002, he was cast in his first starring role in a Western, when he got the role of ranch hand Colt Webb in “Hope Ranch.” The uplifting film, produced exclusively for the Animal Planet cable network, and now available on DVD, is about J.T. Hope, an ex-cop/former Marine, played by Bruce Boxleitner, who has made it his life’s mission to rehabilitate troubled youth at his ranch.

Lamas said the role was a good change of pace.

“I think the action genre has had its day,” he said. “We’ve all seen the Van Damme and Chuck Morris movies. I think we’re all ready to move on. So am I. But I did do several of them and I did well with them. I’m not regretful. But I would like to do more of the ‘real’ stories—Westerns, or maybe something about the military—just a great story of human drama and risk and reward.”

Still, he did follow “Hope Ranch” up with more action films, including “Rapid Exchange,” in which he played Ketchum, a member of a team who intend to break into a 747—during flight—and steal one-quarter billion dollars. In 2004, he worked on eight different films, including “Dark Waters” and “Latin Dragon,” which are now available on DVD.

In 2003, he was a judge on the ABC reality series, “Are You Hot?” Recently, although briefly, he was half of the only current father/son “daytime” duo. A.J. Lamas, who starred in the TV series “America Family” (2002-2004), had a three-month stint on “As the World Turns” as Rafael (“Rafi”), an up-and-coming boxer. Since October 2004, Lorenzo Lamas has appeared on CBS’s daytime hit, “The Bold and The Beautiful.” In the soap opera, he plays sexy LA firefighter and single dad Hector Ramirez.

As was his role as Colt Webb in “Hope Ranch,” Hector Ramirez is a departure from the majority of roles Lamas has played over the years. That’s okay with him. He said he likes the material because it’s more “character driven” and “realistic” than anything he’s ever done before. In fact, it’s nice to be cast as someone who’s the closest thing to “himself” he’s ever played. He laughs and adds that he’s really having fun on the show because “everyday is a drama on a soap opera.”

But for those Lorenzo Lamas fans who prefer his action roles, you’ll be happy to know that the first season of “Renegade” was released on DVD in January. Also, look for him soon as Antonio Bandana in “18 Fingers of Death!” a martial arts spoof produced by James Lew, and in “Killing Cupid” and “The Nowhere Man.”