Lorenzo Lamas Interview
From "Renegade" to Animal Crusader
By Jordan Schaul | National Geographic | February 15, 2013
A note from Contributing Editor Dr. Jordan Schaul: The celebrities that most interest the Barbi Twins and myself for our exclusive interviews with high profile, and visible crusaders with the intent of helping both human and animal kind are those that don’t take themselves quite so seriously.
They are the ones that show gratitude for their good fortune, yet they remain humble enough to know that they are not experts (not that anyone is really an expert), just advocates whether they are seeking social change for the impoverished among us or interested in improving welfare for the voiceless companion animals and wildlife that share our “shrinking planet.” Our guest participants also don’t take themselves so seriously because life is a temporary situation and we can only do our best in a short while to make a difference on this place we call Earth.
Most known for playing the lead role of Reno Raines in the 1990 crime drama Renegade, Lorenzo Lamas has been around Hollywood a long time. He appeared in roles in both the primetime drama Falcon Crest and the daytime soap The Bold and The Beautiful. He also co-starred in Grease, the number one musical in the history of TV and film along with John Travolta & Olivia-Newton John.
The son of Fernando Lamas and Arlene Dahl is a Latin heartthrob who was once sought after by ladies as much as by casting agents. The actor once said jokingly that a goal of his was to make sure there were no women walking the planet who wouldn’t know of him. Forgive, the analogy, but his comment reminds me of large adult male grizzly bears. These bruins are observed during the breeding season in all their pride and glory walking the earth with an unassuming swagger and no care in the world. Among the perks afforded to these big boars, are the first right of refusal when it comes to courting females.
What makes Lorenzo Lamas a perfect candidate for our exclusive interview series with celebrity activists is participation in charities for both the impoverished and infirmed people. As both a licensed pilot and motorcycle enthusiast, he raises money for organ transplants and transports medical supplies and people in need of medical help or rescue. He also has a soft place in his heart for animals.
Lamas is now featured on a reality show called Joe Schmo where he shows his comedic side. It airs Tuesday night on Spike TV. He also performs stand-up comedy at different venues where he rivals the sets of some of the biggest comics of all time.
Below is an interview Lamas conducted with the Barbi Twins who were also initially catapulted to stardom as sex symbols. The Twins and Lamas go way back. All three are relentless advocates and educators drawing attention to the plight of companion animals in need.
Barbi Twins: When you were very young you were an avid hiker and loved nature, loved to connect with snakes, minnows, salamanders. You told us that you felt spiritually connected to nature. Can you give a quote that describes that time in your life?
Lorenzo Lamas: “Being a child of a broken home, I found nature walks to be my true home.”
Barbi Twins: Your first domesticated pet was a beagle named “George.” You said “George” gave you responsibility and was the first in many dogs to come, including bloodhounds, that you would breed and show. You also wanted to be a veterinarian at a young age. We knew your aunt, who showed and bred Poodles, was the one to have influenced your love for animals. As a matter of fact, you told us you wanted to be a veterinarian like we wanted to be as well. What prompted this career interest with animals, in a family that is was mostly all major Hollywood entertainers?
Lorenzo Lamas: The fact these little critters can’t tell you, they are hurting, compelled me to want to become a vet.
Barbi Twins: We know you did a few big PSA’s and ads to help promote spay/neuter, one for ASPCA & another with Betty White. You personally felt the importance of spay/neuter when your dog got out to escape and accidentally bred with another dog. Can you tell us why spay/neuter is so important with your pets?
Lorenzo Lamas: Most people don’t realize how many animals are killed at pet shelters because they don’t about spay/neuter and that spaying and neutering help stop shelter deaths.
Barbi Twins: We always remembered you as having a love for horses and knew you as an excellent equestrian (rider). You started learning to ride English style at a young age, overseas, and later Western and bareback here at home. While most actors use stuntmen for their riding scenes, was it rare that the main star does their own riding in the movies, or did they think that was too risky for a leading actor and insist you have a stuntman?
Lorenzo Lamas: I was actually told by wranglers that it made their jobs a lot easier, in movies and tv, that I did my own riding.
Barbi Twins: You have a large family with some beautiful kids and most of them inherited that love to rescue and help animals. Can you share how it felt when your kids went to rescue and care for those abandoned kittens in the alley?
Lorenzo Lamas: You know you’ve been a good parent when your kids bring home little animals to rescue.
Barbi Twins: Ok, now you have a ton of rescue animals, including a chihuahua mix from the shelter and a rescued cat. You also said you had a Pit Bull Terrier and love Pit bulls. Can Lorenzo Lamas give a quote to help stop the prejudice of Pit Bulls breeds and to also help us band BREED SPECIFIC LEGISLATION that promotes the killing of dogs that look like Pit Bulls, even if they are well-trained?
Lorenzo Lamas: Pits Bulls don’t give themselves a bad name, people give them a bad name.
Barbi Twins: It’s absolutely wonderful and different that your lovely wife Shawna Craig wanted to rescue a Bearded Lizard, who you named “Little D”. Was this an instant bond that you found a wife that had a similar interest in reptiles, since that it’s so rare women like reptiles?
Lorenzo Lamas: I’ve collected and rescued reptiles since I was a kid, but it’s rare my wife was fond of reptiles. The fact that my wife loves little D and reptiles says more to me about her than almost anything else.
Barbi Twins: You said your first favorite type of animal, was a bald eagle. You told us your second favorite animal was a dog. You also taught us what our first and second favorite pets say about ourselves. You explained that the first favorite pet describes you subconsciously the way people want to see you as that bald eagle… noble, honorable, loving freedom, and strength. And the second would describe you the way you subconsciously think of yourself: loyal, “stupid”, …… Can Lorenzo give us one quote as a bald eagle and then one short quote as a dog, with a little of that great comedic side of you.
Lorenzo Lamas: As a bald eagle, I’d say, “The world is my kingdom and I am on my thrown.” As a dog, I’d say, “Are you going to finish that…..?”
Barbi Twins: Can you quickly give us upcoming project(s) that you are involved in?
Lorenzo Lamas: Right now I’m on ‘The Joe Schmo Show’ Tuesday nights on Spike TV. I’m very busy raising my teenage daughters and working on my new stand-up comedy career. I’ll be in the ‘Belly Room’ this Saturday night at the world-famous Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip.
Barbi Twins: A quote you gave us to summarize your family with animals!
Lorenzo Lamas: Adopting a pet is like a family holiday. You’re not sure how everyone will get along, but there’s an obligation to work it out.
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MEET THE AUTHOR
With training in wildlife ecology, conservation medicine, and comparative psychology, Dr. Schaul's contributions to Nat Geo Voices have covered a range of environmental and social topics. He draws particular attention to the plight of imperiled species highlighting issues at the juncture or nexus of sorta situ wildlife conservation and applied animal welfare. Sorta situ conservation practices are comprised of scientific management and stewardship of animal populations ex situ (in captivity / 'in human care') and in situ (free-ranging / 'in nature'). He also has a background in behavior management and training of companion animals and captive wildlife and conservation marketing and digital publicity. Jordan has shared interviews with colleagues and public figures, as well as editorial news content. In addition, he has posted narratives describing his own work, which include the following examples: • Restoration of wood bison to the Interior of Alaska while (As Animal Curator at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and courtesy professor at the University of Alaska) • Rehabilitation of orphaned sloth bears exploited for tourists in South Asia (As executive consultant 'in-residence' at the Agra Bear Rescue Center managed by Wildlife SOS) • Censusing small wild cat (e.g. ocelot and margay) populations in the montane cloud forests of Costa Rica for popular publications with 'The Cat Whisperer' Mieshelle Nagelschneider • Evaluating the impact of ecotourism on marine mammal population stability and welfare off the coast of Mexico's Sea of Cortez (With Boston University's marine science program) Jordan was a director on boards of non-profit wildlife conservation organizations serving nations in Africa, North and South America and Southeast Asia. He is also a consultant to a human-wildlife conflict mitigation organization in the Pacific Northwest. Following animal curatorships in Alaska and California, he served as a charter board member of a zoo advocacy and outreach organization and later as its executive director. Jordan was a member of the Communication and Education Commission of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (CEC-IUCN) and the Bear Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (BSG-SSC-IUCN). He has served on the advisory council of the National Wildlife Humane Society and in service to the Bear Taxon Advisory Group of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA Bear TAG). In addition, he was an ex officio member of the council of the International Association for Bear Research and Management.