George Hamilton is in town. You can tell the actor is somewhere near the Fair Park area by the faint orangey glow emanating from the stage at the Music Hall, where Hamilton is appearing in the touring production of the musical La Cage aux Folles. He plays a gay cabaret owner on the Riviera. In that role, his permanent suntan works harder than he does. (Hamilton's performance pales in comparison to that of his co-star, Christopher Sieber, playing "Zaza" and carrying the show.)
Hamilton's sun-browned complexion has long been his stock in trade. Since the 1960s, when he appeared as the heartthrob in Where the Boys Are (a movie set in Florida during spring break, prime tanning time), Hamilton has been tanning and grinning his way through a respectable show business career. "Without a tan I was just another pale face in the crowd," he once told an interviewer. "With one, I could do some pretty amazing things." Those things included dating equally bronzed Elizabeth Taylor (they tanned together in Saint Tropez) and co-starring in the ABC miniseries Roots, in which Hamilton played one of the white people.
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Now 72, the actor has dealt with some of the predictable results of a lifetime of sun exposure. In 2010 he had treatment for skin cancers. And his once-walnutty complexion now veers dangerously into overbaked Cheetoh territory. Chemicals must be involved in staining his cheeks now. And perhaps some airbrushed cosmetic foundations roughly the shade makeup artists once used to darken Ava Gardner for Show Boat.
Here are 14 more things close to George Hamilton's tan on the color spectrum: 1. Cinnamon graham crackers 2. Hillbilly teeth 3. Cedar fencing 4. Ugg boots 5. Dickey's barbecue sauce 6. Sticky toffee pudding 7. Chaw spit 8. Chola eyebrows 9. Squirrel fur 10. Original recipe KFC crust 11. The spicy dust on a nacho-flavored Dorito 12. A waffle 13. "Rust" in the Crayola box 14. Actual rust
La Cage aux Folles runs through April 22 at Dallas Summer Musicals, Fair Park. Call 214-631-2787 for tickets.