05/09/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT
He is the thinking woman's sex symbol. And the feeling woman's. And the sex symbol of women who ordinarily are not the least bit enamored of sex symbols. Confessed the book editor of Glamour in print: "I owe a lot to this man. I'm convinced I got pregnant after seeing The Last of the Mohicans three times."
Hers is, no doubt, not the only child conceived in the afterglow of watching the smoldering 37-year-old actor onscreen. In the past 12 months alone, he delivered an Oscar-nominated performance as a man wrongly imprisoned in In the Name of the Father, and in The Age of Innocence he transformed the undoing of a single button on Michelle Pfeiffer's glove into an act of electrifying eroticism. With that kind of power, it's no wonder that, clad only in beads and buckskin as Hawkeye, he had become, as Mohicans director Michael Mann puts it, "the secret fantasy of female libidos across the world."
The younger child of Cecil Day-Lewis, England's poet laureate from 1968 until his death in 1972, and actress Jill Balcon. Daniel was a heartthrob even as a teenager at Bedales boarding school. Recalled a schoolmate: "Every girl was hopelessly in love with him." After several years as a London stage actor, Day-Lewis moved on to movies, playing a repressed fop in 1985's A Room with a View, a gay hoodlum in My Beautiful Laundrette the same year, a womanizing surgeon in The Unbearable Lightness of Being in 1988 and. in a role that won him a 1989 Oscar, an Irish painter crippled by cerebral palsy in My Left Foot. Throughout these astounding physical transformations. Father producer Arthur Lappin points out, "one thing that remains constant is the tremendous intensity of his eyes."
But though Day-Lewis recently conceded, "I've got a serious-looking head." he also insisted that "I've had interviews where we've had a good laugh, and they still make it sound like [I'm] an undertaker." He can, on occasion, let loose. Last September the resident of County Wicklow, Ireland, pleaded guilty to driving his motorcycle at more than 100 mph. And he has had some fast-track romances too. He was linked with his Unbearable Lightness costar Juliette Binoche and lived on and off with French actress Isabelle Adjani. But he attended this year's Oscars solo, providing at least the illusion of availability. Who could complain? Only Sean Day-Lewis, a 62-year-old journalist, who is Daniel's half brother through their father's first marriage: "Every Woman under the age of 40 whom I fancy." he laments, "says they are willing to talk to me only if they can be introduced to Dan."