skip navigation
Harry Hamlin

Harry Hamlin

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Also Known As: Harry Robinson Hamlin Died:
Born: October 30, 1951 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Pasadena, California, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

With a résumé often overshadowed by his relationships with several Hollywood sex symbols, Harry Hamlin⿿s acting career began promisingly and peaked with a hugely successful television series, but he ironically found its niche in the role of husband to a former soap opera star. After studying drama at Yale and earning his M.F.A. from San Francisco⿿s American Conservatory Theater, Hamlin quickly made the leap to feature films, appearing in 1978⿿s "Movie Movie," and nabbing the title role in the NBC miniseries "Studs Lonigan" (1979). He made a splash with the special effects-laden feature "Clash of the Titans" (1981), and went on to major stardom as part of a stellar ensemble on one of the biggest TV series of the 1980s, "L.A. Law" (NBC, 1986-1994). However, poor choices in both projects and women ultimately relegated Hamlin to sub-par direct-to-video fare and serving as fodder for the tabloids, respectively. Oddly enough, it was his celebrity marriage to onetime soap opera star Lisa Rinna that allowed Hamlin to once again enjoy both his offscreen life and the spotlight as one-half of a celebrity couple to a degree he had not known in well over a decade.Born on Oct. 30, 1951, in Pasadena, CA,...

With a résumé often overshadowed by his relationships with several Hollywood sex symbols, Harry Hamlin⿿s acting career began promisingly and peaked with a hugely successful television series, but he ironically found its niche in the role of husband to a former soap opera star. After studying drama at Yale and earning his M.F.A. from San Francisco⿿s American Conservatory Theater, Hamlin quickly made the leap to feature films, appearing in 1978⿿s "Movie Movie," and nabbing the title role in the NBC miniseries "Studs Lonigan" (1979). He made a splash with the special effects-laden feature "Clash of the Titans" (1981), and went on to major stardom as part of a stellar ensemble on one of the biggest TV series of the 1980s, "L.A. Law" (NBC, 1986-1994). However, poor choices in both projects and women ultimately relegated Hamlin to sub-par direct-to-video fare and serving as fodder for the tabloids, respectively. Oddly enough, it was his celebrity marriage to onetime soap opera star Lisa Rinna that allowed Hamlin to once again enjoy both his offscreen life and the spotlight as one-half of a celebrity couple to a degree he had not known in well over a decade.

Born on Oct. 30, 1951, in Pasadena, CA, Hamlin attended the Flintridge Preparatory School in nearby La Cañada before continuing on to the prestigious boarding academy, The Hill School in Pottstown, PA. At the University of California, Berkley, Hamlin enrolled in the school⿿s theater program only after the courses for his intended major were filled, but was soon enamored with the stage and chose to seriously pursue an acting career. In 1972, much to the dismay of his family, Hamlin transferred to Yale University where he earned a B.A. in drama in 1974. A scholarship to the American Conservatory Theater brought him back West to San Francisco, where Hamlin⿿s real transformation into an actor occurred in the Advanced Actor Training Program. There, Hamlin starred in a production of "Equus," attracting the attention of director Stanley Donen, and receiving his M.F.A in acting in 1976. That year, he was awarded a Fullbright Scholarship, but turned it down after landing his first feature film role as naïve boxer Joey Popchick in Donen⿿s nostalgic comedy "Movie Movie" (1978), starring alongside the likes of George C. Scott and Red Buttons. Barely out of college, Hamlin was already off to a promising Hollywood start.

Around this time, Hamlin began a four-year relationship with original "Bond Girl," Ursula Andress, with whom he would father a son, Dmitri, in 1980. The couple remained a favorite subject of the gossip columns throughout their May-September romance. On television, Hamlin won the title role in the miniseries "Studs Lonigan" (NBC, 1979), for which the young actor received favorable notices. With "King of the Mountain" (1981), Hamlin won his first leading role in a feature film. Unfortunately, the tale of illegal street racing on Mulholland Drive stalled at the box office. Hamlinâ¿¿s next feature, however, would secure him a place in the hearts of fantasy-loving fanboys for decades to come. As the mortal Perseus in the Greek mythology adventure epic "Clash of the Titans" (1981), Hamlin would once again share screen time with film legends such as Laurence Olivier and Burgess Meredith, in addition to girlfriend Ursula Andress, who, naturally, took the role of Aphrodite. His bare-chest-laden exposure in "Clash of the Titans" resulted in more feature offers, but 1982â¿¿s "Making Love" proved to be a poor follow-up choice. Directed by Arthur Hiller, the drama focused on a loving husband (Michael Ontkean) suddenly realizing he is in love with another man (Hamlin) and the resulting emotional turmoil as he struggles to tell his wife (Kate Jackson). For all its good intentions, less-than-accepting audiences stayed away in droves, effectively killing Hamlinâ¿¿s movie career.

After one more stab at the big screen in the box office bomb "Blue Skies Again" (1983), Hamlin returned to television with two more literary-inspired miniseries, "Master of the Game" (CBS, 1984), based on the Sidney Sheldon melodrama, and "James A. Michenerâ¿¿s â¿¿Spaceâ¿¿" (CBS, 1985). In a continuing theme, Hamlinâ¿¿s personal life would continue to outshine his career. His relationship with aging sex symbol Andress had ended a few years earlier, and in 1986 Hamlin married actress Laura Johnson, a regular on the primetime soap "Falcon Crest" (CBS, 1981-1990). It was a tumultuous romance that would end in a messy divorce a few years later, once again salaciously covered in the tabloids. Suddenly, everything changed for Hamlin when he was cast as the brooding, intense attorney, Michael Kuzak, on the breakout hit series "L.A. Law" (NBC, 1986-1994). The show became the prototype for what would be a mainstay of episodic television â¿¿ the legal drama. Hamlinâ¿¿s character was considered the showâ¿¿s moral lynchpin. With his chiseled good looks and onscreen chemistry with co-star Susan Dey, Hamlinâ¿¿s popularity exploded overnight, culminating in him receiving the dubious honor of being named People magazineâ¿¿s "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1987. The personal and professional upswing would not last, however, when, shortly after his ugly split from Johnson, Hamlin chose to exit the vehicle that had made him a household name, leaving the cast of "L.A. Law" in 1991.

The intent for leaving a No. 1 program was invariably to go on to bigger and better projects, however, the decade that followed was anything but stellar for Hamlin. In 1991, he married for a second time to yet another primetime soap vixen, Nicollette Sheridan of "Knots Landing" (CBS, 1979-1983). It did not last, and by 1993 the couple was divorced quite acrimoniously, to the delight of tabloid editors. In fact Hamlin took the split exceptionally hard, particularly after his bombshell ex took up with singer Michael Bolton almost immediately. Over the course of the 1990s, the former TV heartthrob appeared in an uneven string of direct-to-video erotic thrillers like "Under Investigation" (1993); television movies of a similar vein, "Her Deadly Rival" (CBS, 1995); and failed attempts at headlining another episodic series, "Movie Stars" (The WB, 1998-2000). Still, there was one bright spot in this otherwise faith-shaking period for Hamlin.

Shortly after rebounding from his breakup with Sheridan, he began dating Lisa Rinna, another actress known for her roles on daytime and primetime soaps, particularly "Days of our Lives" (NBC1965- ) and "Melrose Place (Fox, 1992-99), respectively. Apparently, the third time was a charm for Hamlin, as the couple married in 1997 and produced two daughters, Delilah and Amelia. Art imitated life, when Hamlin and Rinna took on recurring roles as a celebrity couple on the critically acclaimed crime-drama "Veronica Mars" (UPN, 2004-07). After cheering on Rinna from the sidelines the previous season, Hamlin strutted his stuff in 2006 as a celebrity cast member on season three of "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ). However, his less than graceful moves failed to impress, and he was voted off much earlier in the competition than his wife. In 2009, Hamlin made a brief appearance in the torturous murder mystery "Harperâ¿¿s Island" (CBS, 2008-09). The following year, the low-key Hamlin and the extroverted Rinna capitalized on the interest in their celebrity marriage with the launch of a reality series "Harry Loves Lisa" (TV Land, 2010- ). Balancing out the good with the bad was the break in and burglary of the coupleâ¿¿s Sherman Oaks boutique clothing store twice within the span of a week in early October 2010.

Hamlin returned to more credible television work with brief arcs on the military drama "Army Wives" (Lifetime 2007-2013) and the American adaptation of the black comedy "Shameless" (Showtime 2011- ). In 2013, he joined the cast of the Emmy-winning drama "Mad Men" (AMC 2007- ) as the straitlaced ad executive Jim Cutler, who clashes with the partners of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce when his agency suddenly merges with theirs.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Meddler, The (2016)
2.
 Bleeding Heart (2015)
3.
 Bronx Bull, The (2014)
4.
 Immigrant (2013)
6.
 Shadow of Fear (2012)
7.
 You Lucky Dog (2010)
8.
9.
 Disappearance (2002) Jim Henley
10.
 Sex, Lies & Obsession (2001) Cameron Thomas
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Garnered attention as Alan Strang in the American Conservatory Theatre production of "Equus"; spotted by Stanley Donen who cast Hamlin in his first movie role
1976:
Made television debut as Mariamo in "The Taming of the Shrew"; shown on PBS for their Great Performances series
1978:
Made feature film debut in "Movie Movie"; directed by Stanley Donen
1979:
Played the title role in the NBC miniseries, "Studs Lonigan"
1981:
Big-screen break was a starring role in the Greek mythology fantasy epic, "Clash of the Titans"
1982:
Played a gay novelist opposite Kate Jackson in "Making Love"
1982:
Played the title role of "Hamlet" at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ
1984:
Made Broadway debut in the revival of Clifford Odets' "Awake and Sing!"
1986:
Cast in the role of attorney Michael Kuzak on NBC's popular drama, "L.A. Law"
1987:
Made the cover of <i>People</i> magazine as the annual choice of "Sexiest Man in the World"
:
Co-founded the L.A. Classic Theatre along with Amy Irving, John Lithgow and others
1988:
Played in the title role in the NBC miniseries, "Favorite Son"
1995:
Participated in the documentary film, "The Celluloid Closet," where he discussed his role in the film, "Making Love"
1995:
Played "Henry V" at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC
1996:
Returned to Broadway opposite Mary McDonnell in "Summer and Smoke"
1997:
Had a recurring role on the CBS sitcom, "Ink"
1997:
Co-starred opposite Valerie Bertinelli in the CBS miniseries, "Night Sins"
1999:
Cast as Reese Hardin in The WB comedy, "Movie Stars"
2001:
Appeared in "Perfume," a behind the scenes look at the world of high fashion
2001:
Cast opposite wife Lisa Rinna in the Lifetime movie, "Sex, Lies & Obsession"
2002:
Reprised role of Michael Kuzak in "L.A. Law: The Movie," which reunited most of the original cast
2004:
Had a recurring role, opposite wife Lisa Rinna in the UPN drama, "Veronica Mars," as the movie-star parents of Veronica's high-school rival, Logan
2006:
Joined the third season of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars"
2007:
Appeared on Broadway as Billy Flynn in "Chicago," opposite wife Lisa Rinna
2009:
Co-starred in the CBS series "Harper's Island" as Uncle Marty
2010:
Appeared with wife Lisa Rinna in the reality show "Harry Loves Lisa" on TV Land
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Flintridge Preparatory School: La Cañada , California -
The Hill School: Pottstown , Pennsylvania -
University of California at Berkeley: Berkeley , California - 1970
Yale College, Yale University: New Haven , Connecticut - 1974
Yale College, Yale University: New Haven , Connecticut - 1974
American Conservatory Theater: San Francisco , California - 1976

Notes

At his peak, Hamlin was making an estimated $1.3 million per year for his role on "L.A. Law"

Hamlin has seized the chance to personalize and develop his "L.A. Law" character: for example, having Michael Kuzak wear a gorilla suit or drop his trousers, both of which came from Hamlin's experiences. ("Great stuff, huh? Real highbrow," noted Hamlin wryly.) Besides that, however, writer Jacob Epstein has observed a certain reserve and cautiousness that Hamlin brings to the role. "People say, 'Well, what's he got to be cautious about?' And that creates an appealing vulnerability. Kuzak is the dark prince of the ensemble. There's a potential for explosiveness. It's his emotional remoteness that's compelling." (Anecdotes and quotations from TV GUIDE, April 9, 1988)

"The [theater] audience informs [me] much more than any other process. I live for that, you know. I get so focused when there's an audience out there. It's a very calming effect somehow." --Hamlin in THEATERWEEK, December 25-31, 1997

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Ursula Andress. Actor. Met when they worked together on "Clash of the Titans" (1979); mother of his son Dimitri.
companion:
Cynthia Sikes. Actor.
wife:
Laura Johnson. Actor. Married c. 1986, divorced 1990; former star of "Falcon Crest"; born August 1, 1957; mother is Sally Savalas.
wife:
Nicollette Sheridan. Actor. Born c. 1963; met during preproduction for Showtime movie, "Deceptions" in 1989; married September 7, 1991 in Carmel Valley CA; divorced 1993.
wife:
Lisa Rinna. Actor. Born 1964; appeared on NBC soap "Days of Our Lives" and "Melrose Place"; together since 1993; married on March 29, 1997.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Chauncey Jerome Hamlin Jr. Aeronautical engineer. Once worked with Wernher von Braun.
mother:
Bernice Hamlin.
half-brother:
Chauncey Jerome Hamlin III. Explorer. Has made expeditions to the Indian Ocean in search of rare, primitive marine animals.
son:
Dimitri Alexandre Hamlin. Born on May 19, 1980; mother, Ursula Andress.
daughter:
Delilah Belle Hamlin. Born on June 10, 1998; mother, Lisa Rinna.
daughter:
Amelia Gray Hamlin. Born on June 13, 2001; mother, Lisa Rinna.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute