Harry Hamlin Exposed
Harry Hamlin – best known for his roles as legal eagle Michael Kuzak in L.A. Law and the legendary Perseus in 1981’s Clash of the Titans – really enjoys working with his wife, Lisa Rinna.
Hamlin, 59, People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive in 1987, has been married to Rinna since 1997; this is the actor’s third marriage (previously, he was married to actresses Laura Johnson and Nicollette Sheridan. Additionally, he has a son, Dimitri, from a relationship with actress Ursula Andress). Together, Rinna and Hamlin have starred in the 2001 Lifetime tele-film Sex, Lies and Obsession; the neo-noir detective series Veronica Mars (starring Michigan native Kristen Bell) as Hollywood power couple Aaron and Lynn Echolls; and even on stage in the Broadway production of Chicago, playing Billy Flynn and Roxie Hart, respectively.
The couple stars in Harry Loves Lisa, a TV Land reality television series following the couple and their two daughters, Delilah Belle and Amelia Gray. In fact, Belle Gray, the clothing boutique the couple owns in Sherman Oaks named after their daughters’ middle names, figures prominently into the show (www.bellegray.com).
“We thought it’d be interesting to do a show about this because it’s so odd. We wanted to do a show where the tone is (taking) I Love Lucy, Father Knows Best, The Ozzie and Harriet Show and The Brady Bunch – all those old shows that were innocent family shows – and mix them all up. Then add in the fact that we’re actors and retailers, and throw in the paparazzi,” explained Hamlin. “We don’t throw things at each other. We don’t drink, and we don’t act crazy. We thought it could be provocative in a different way than some of the other reality shows that are on TV. We’re very proud of the show we’ve created; it’s had a tremendous positive response.”
Hamlin also wrote a memoir called Full Frontal Nudity: The Making of an Accidental Actor. The book chronicles his journey from “an innocent 3-year-old Pasadena boy to the hardcore felon I was now considered to be by the Canadian government.”
In 2008, Hamlin was headed to Vancouver to work on the short-lived supernatural drama Harper’s Island. At the Washington/Canadian border, a young female customs agent didn’t know who he was and gave him a hard time.
“She asked where Harper’s Island was. I told her it doesn’t exist; it’s a fantasy. She asked, ‘How can you be working on a fantasy?’ This went on and on. She was completely flummoxed by all this and did a 40-year deep background check on me because she began to hate me.”
It was revealed that Hamlin was arrested for felony possession of narcotics in 1970, but he didn’t have any narcotics. The charges were knocked down to a misdemeanor. It’s legal to cross the Canadian border if you’ve had a misdemeanor conviction but not if you’ve had a felony conviction. The customs agent had a record of the arrest but not the outcome of the case.
“I was denied access into Canada,” he said. “The only way I could get back into Canada – where I live during the summer, by the way, and my family was in Canada at the time – I had to go through criminal rehabilitation or get paperwork from the courts stating I was not a felon and the case adjudicated as a misdemeanor.”
Hamlin tried to get the paperwork but to no avail. His only recourse was to go through Canada’s year-long criminal rehabilitation program, so he decided to chronicle the ridiculousness of it all in his book.
“I’ve dealt with enough customs agents to know that they’re in absolute control of the situation. The younger ones, who are trying to prove themselves and are getting the first taste of that power, oftentimes are the ones you want to steer clear of; you want to go through the old guys with the smelly breath,” advised Hamlin.
Additionally, Hamlin is slated to appear this season on Curb Your Enthusiasm and Army Wives. He also gave his opinion on 2010’s Titans remake. “The (special) effects are quite extraordinary. The only problem is that it didn’t have a story,” he said. “To have Perseus run off with Io at the end just didn’t seem right to me … I was not enchanted by the remake.”
Hamlin has fond memories of his time on L.A. Law. “I think it was great writing. It came on the heels of the Miami Vice phenomenon, where professions like policemen and lawyers could be cool and not just gritty,” recalled Hamlin. “The time was just right for a show like that about an overindulgence of the L.A. lifestyle in a litigious society.”
Hamlin decided not to renew his contract after the fifth season and left the series. At the same time, David E. Kelley – who went on to create Ally McBeal and The Practice – was leaving, so Hamlin decided to go when he was on top. However, he doesn’t rule out a return to series television.
“It’s a mercurial thing to create a hit show on TV,” he explained. “I’m always looking around for another L.A. Law. I haven’t found the right fit yet, but I think it’ll happen.”