Uneasy Riders

updated 06/07/1993 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/07/1993 01:00AM

LOREVZO LAMAS'S PAST KEEPS CATCHING up with him. Never mind that the former Falcon Crest stud has been happily married for four years to actress Kathleen Kinmont, his costar in the syndicated TV action series Renegade. At home—a four-bedroom Burbank, Calif., A-frame house with his-and-her Porsches in the garage—"I always tease her about forgetting where she left the car keys," says Lamas, 35, "and she always teases me about certain women we bump into." In other words, should he exchange pleasantries with an old female acquaintance at the supermarket or gym, Kinmont, 28, will almost never fail to ask, "Ever sleep with her?"

It's not such an outlandish question. Lamas—the son of '50s matinee idol Fernando Lamas (who died in 1982) and actress Arlene Dahl—freely admits he was a lot like the character, dashing, young vineyard heir Lance Cumson, that he played on Crest from 1981 to '90. "My mission in life," he says, "was to make sure that there were no women walking around who didn't know me personally." Among them: Lydia (Too Close for Comfort) Cornell and Jennifer (Summer of '42) O'Neill. And though he and Kinmont can laugh about them now, Lamas's wandering ways have been a serious issue in their stormy, convoluted, only-in-Hollywood love story.

The two met innocently enough. Kinmont's mother, actress Abby Dalton, introduced them 10 years ago when she was playing Julia Cumson, Lamas's Falcon Crest mother. Kathleen was a 17-year-old senior at Our Lady of Corvalis, a Catholic girls' school in Studio City, Calif., and was living in nearby Toluca Lake with her two brothers, her mother and her father, Jack Smith, a now retired electrical-parts distributor. Lamas was 25 and already divorced from his first wife, model Victoria Hilbert.

He was just 2 when his parents divorced and his father took up with screen mermaid Esther Williams, who became Lorenzo's stepmother when the lovers finally married in 1967. Young Lamas graduated from Admiral Farragut Academy, a military school in Pine Beach, N.J., then parlayed his looks—and his dad's industry clout—into roles in TV series (Switch) and movies (Grease) before landing his plum part in Crest.

His TV mom knew he'd been a ladies' man. but he had "so much heart and soul," says Dalton, that she thought Lorenzo would be right for Kathleen. Just days after they met, they were taking long rides on Lamas's Harley and boating off Catalina Island. But their romance soon ran aground. "At my 18th-birthday party," Kinmont recalls, "he made a pass at one of my girlfriends." A few months later, while on a press tour for Falcon Crest, Lamas wound up getting the show's 26-year-old publicist, Michele Smith, pregnant. Lamas and Smith got married soon after, and six months later she gave birth to their son, A.J. "It hit me like a ton of bricks," says Kinmont.

She and Lamas didn't speak for a year and a half. Then Lamas, by now separated from Smith, looked up his old flame, and the two began dating again. After a few months, though, he went back to his wife. "I was trying to salvage the marriage because of A.J.," he says. ("That was kind of a drag for me," Kinmont reflects.) The reconciliation did succeed in producing Lamas's daughter, Shayne, who was born a month before her parents divorced in 1985. Lamas now turned for solace to Kinmont. "I was ready to finally say, 'I'm tired of all this nonsense,' " he says. But Kinmont, then working as an actress in films (Hardbodies; Bride of Re-Animator) and engaged to an actor she declines to name, wasn't ready to listen. "I told him, 'Ha, ha! Sorry, the convenience store is closed,' " she says with a giggle.

By the time they bumped into each other again, at a Malibu restaurant in 1987, Lamas too was engaged—to Daphne Ashbrook, an actress who had done a brief guest shot on Falcon Crest. Lamas and Kinmont didn't rush into each other's arms, but they did make a pact. Says Lamas: "I told her, 'Look, I won't get married if you don I get married.

Fade out, fade in a year later: Kinmont, her engagement off, gets back in touch with Lamas—only to find out that Ashbrook is pregnant. "I was like, 'Wow, what a jerk he is!' " she says. "It was very depressing." But, she adds, "I had made some nasty choices in boyfriends, and I would always wind up comparing who I was with to Lorenzo. He was my knight in shining armor."

Lamas was no Galahad to his fiancée, though; he broke up with Ashbrook soon after his second daughter, Paton Lee, now 4, was born. Then he called Kinmont's parents. "I've finally seen the light," he said, "I can't go on without being married to Kathleen."

Dalton was wary, but she arranged a meeting, and the couple soon moved into a Studio City condo owned by Kathleen's dad. "We always tried to gel them back together," says Kinmont's friend Sandi Liakos, 29, a homemaker who, with her husband Mike, 40, a movie grip, has known the couple since they first met. "They went through some rocky times, but they just settled down and matured into each other." On Jan. 25, 1989, amid clocks emblazoned with the face of their idol, Elvis, the two fans were married in Las Vegas's Graceland Chapel, with A.J. as best man and Shayne the maid of honor.

Though both children live with Smith in Arizona, they spend one weekend a month with Lamas and Kinmont in the Burbank house. (But, laments Lorenzo, "I have no contact with Paton Lee," whose mother, he says, won't disclose where they're living.) "He is a totally devoted father," says Kinmont. "And I am their mom when they're with us." So far, though, they have no plans to have kids of their own.

For now, Kinmont is simply too busy. When she isn't shooting Renegade—in which Lamas plays a Harley-riding bounty hunter and she's a computer wiz who assists him—Kinmont is training with a kick-boxer for her role as a female James Bond in the low-budget CIA 2: Target Alexa, which her husband is directing. The one thing she doesn't spend time doing, she says, is worrying about Lamas's playboy rep. "The past is history, it's gone," she says. "I have nothing to fear."

Thai's no surprise to Lamas's mom, Arlene Dahl, 64, who has published an annual astrology forecast since 1988. Both Kinmont and Lamas are Aquarians, she notes, and "after doing Kathleen's chart four years ago, I knew they'd have a happy relationship." Then Dahl—now wed to her sixth husband, package designer Marc Rosen, 46—indulges in a motherly chuckle. "It all worked out," she says. "Eventually."

MICHAEL A. LIPTON
JOHN GRIFFITHS in Los Angeles

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