The legendarily bronzed George Hamilton is currently crisscrossing the country in the national tour of ‘La Cage Aux Folles.’ Hamilton, 72, has been in the business for over five decades and was one of the last contracted MGM stars. Along the way he’s starred in movies, (‘Love at First Bite’), T.V. (‘Dynasty’) and reality shows, (the second season of ‘Dancing with the Stars’). Throughout it all he’s maintained a debonair and charming image, and although he is quick to laugh at himself, he’s also discuss his serious views on politics and world affairs.
FOX411: The subject matter of ‘La Cage’ seems very timely.
George Hamilton: I had a brother who was gay; he passed away about 17 years ago. I saw what pain and difficulty he went through in his life, which was quite sequestered and hidden. But my relationship with him was really wonderful because in many ways he took the place of my father.
This was not the reason I did it. I was amused by the production, I found it funny. I thought it got it right. I’ve been touring around the country and I’ve found America has accepted it because of what I believe it’s about - family and being faithful to who we are. I was interested in its real values which are a sign of any great play or book or movie.
FOX411: You were so great on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’
Hamilton: I had such a good time. Though I did tell them in the beginning, ‘This is not what I expected. You told me I’d come in and learn a dance step for an hour and I’ve been here eight hours.’ They said, ‘What did you expect?’ and I said, ‘See that tall girl over there with the blonde hair? Stacy Keibler. Now that’s what I expected.’ All I was trying to do was woo her away from her boyfriend.
FOX411: And now she’s with George Clooney.
Hamilton: I think he has excellent taste.
FOX411: So are you waiting on the sidelines if they break up?
Hamilton: Well she had her chance. (Laughs).
FOX411: You’ve always had the ability to laugh at yourself.
Hamilton: It’s interesting because there are two schools of thought. A manager would tell you that must make them realize you’re a dedicated actor and I took a totally different route than that. I never ever took myself seriously. I always felt people who took themselves seriously were kind of boring. I never took the work less than serious, my work ethic is ingrained in me. But I’ve always had a sense of humor about myself.
FOX411: Do you think that’s a great life lesson?
Hamilton: There are a lot of self important people who make you believe they’re artistes and high on the intelligence quotient and I’ve sat down and listened to them and just been bored. I love to be the first to actually take the Mick out of myself because I get it. When people realize you’re not the stuffed shirt they think you are it’s such a relief and you have people who really like to be around you.
FOX411: You’re famous for your bronzed skin. Do you ever worry about skin cancer?
Hamilton: It’s my personal opinion and I’m not espousing it to anybody else, I think your immune system and how healthy you are determines how you react to any excess of any kind. I’ve been in the sun most of my life. I’ve gone to skin doctors and they’ll say to you, ‘We should remove this because it’s pre-cancerous,’ and I’ll say, ‘Explain pre-cancerous to me.’ I’ll listen for about twenty minutes and I’ll say excuse me, ‘Is pre-cancerous like pre-dead? So you’re saying it could turn into cancer but it’s not cancer?’
Then they say that it’s a good idea to wear SPF and then they find out the SPF is toxic. Then they tell you people lack vitamin D. Now the theory is everyone should have some sun everyday but not long hours of it like we did in the 60’s. So I kind of have to take all of this with a grain of salt. I’m not saying it’s safe to go sit out in the sun all day but I don’t believe that sun is bad for you.
FOX411: You were good friends with Imelda Marcos. Then the Marcos’s were deposed and her shoe collection was exposed. Any regrets about that friendship?
Hamilton: The shoe collection is just the most inane of trying to find fault with the regime we fostered. It’s always amazing to me the idiosyncrasies people end up disliking others for.
FOX411: Well it was emblematic of a corrupt regime.
Hamilton: Listen my mother had several hundred pairs of shoes.
FOX411: But she wasn’t married to a dictator.
Hamilton: The point of it is did they ever prove anything? She’s had 300 something trials; they have yet to prove any of that. The thing I admired was she took them on. She could have lived in exile. She went back to her own country. It wasn’t very much earlier that I remember George Bush saying, ‘We applaud your democracy.’
This world that we’re living in with one regime after another toppling down, with our state department telling us who should go and who shouldn’t go and yet we have a government right now that needs to tend to its own damn problems and get them straightened out. That would be the greatest accomplishment we could make I’ve lived in places all over the world and I’ve seen countries that don’t want democracies, they want a benign dictatorship, they want a father figure. Go to Argentina and ask them about the days of Peron, there was no other word and for years to come thereafter. I would love it if our country lived up to what we believed. Democracy has now become corrupted by the nature of the funders.
Traveling across the country as I am now you see so many condemned and foreclosed signs. It’s amazing what our country since World War II has gone through. We printed money until we all of a sudden realized we had nothing to back it. Now they’re starting to look at it differently.
Democracy if it meant what our forefathers said, that would be great but unfortunately it’s been corrupted by this funding and funding of campaigns. There’s a much better way to do it. There could be a small amount of money given by every taxpayer to be dedicated to candidates.
To get back to the Marcos’s, we needed them. They were the dagger poised towards the heart of China. They had Subic Bay. Our country has kept everybody in power, including Saddam Hussein, for fighting our battles at a distance.
FOX411: There’s that Arabic expression, ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend.’
Hamilton: Yes that’s exactly right. I’ve known a lot of Presidents and been in the company of people who have made a difference. It’s very edifying. I’ve seen its ugly side as well as its good. I think we’re at a point now where America is desperately wanting to believe in what our fundamentals are and we need a statesman. Money still talks today and these groups get them in power and they have to reward them.
It’s a very strange time now; we have such a complex situation. Obama went in at a time which was really a chance to change the world and for some reason it didn’t happen. We bailed out banks and we forgot the people and that’s not right. America knows better.
The Internet and social media has a mighty hand. It turned on the Arab world, it’ll turn on us. The world is changing so quickly, this information highway has given a lot more power back to the people more so than politicians are aware of.
FOX411: Finally onto a lighter topic. You were impossibly handsome in your younger days. Ever have even one girl turn you down?
Hamilton: Oh yeah sure. One of the things that happens if you’re perceived as good looking, what you say to girls is taken with the theory that you must say it to everyone and they want to be the one to prove you wrong. It’s a reverse thing. Women don’t like men who know they’re good looking. They’d much prefer a man who doesn’t know he’s good looking.
FOX411: Okay but your batting average must have been high.
Hamilton: The guys who had the best batting average were the ones who tried so much it didn’t matter. Their attempts were so overwhelming they always got someone. I unfortunately developed taste somewhere along the way and I figured quality was far more interesting that quantity.