In March 1995, Hamilton died of AIDS-related pneumonia at the age of 42
Hamilton was born in Liverpool, England and was orphaned when he was two weeks old. He was adopted by Donald Smith and his wife Margaret as a baby and named Antony Hamilton Smith. His adoptive father, Donald, was a highly decorated Australian Squadron commander who fought in World War II. His adoptive mother Margaret was an English nurse. When he was three years old, his father retired to Southern Australia where Hamilton grew up on a 640-acre sheep farm. He attended Scotch College in Adelaide, where dance and ballet were a significant part of the curriculum. As a teenager, he played cricket, basketball and other sports but proved to have a talent for ballet.
At the age of 15, he won a scholarship at the Australian Ballet School. After leaving school, he began a career as a professional dancer with The Australian Ballet Company where he toured Europe and the Soviet Union for two years.
In 1972, during a dance tour in Europe with The Australian Ballet, he was discovered by a Russian fashion photographer. Hamilton stopped dancing at the age of 20 and decided to pursue a career as a model. Hamilton later said, "Dancing was too confining and regimented for me. [...] I became a model not because I was interested in fashion or styles, but because I knew it was a good way to see the world. [...] It gave me independence. [..] The money was good too."
After signing with a London modeling agency, he worked extensively as a model in Europe, America, Asia and Africa, becoming a favorite subject of world-famous photographers as Richard Avedon and Bruce Weber, often working with designers such as Gianni Versace, and frequently appearing in magazines such as Vogue and GQ.
While modeling, Hamilton also began taking acting classes in an effort to expand his career. His first major roles was as Samson in the 1984 television film Samson and Delilah. Later that year, producers of the crime drama series Cover Up offered Hamilton the leading role after the series' previous star, Jon-Erik Hexum, died after an on-set accident in October 1984. Hamilton had known Hexum having previously met him at an acting class when they both lived in New York. They both shared the same acting coach and also competed for the same roles (both were up for the role in Samson and Delilah which Hamilton won). Hamilton initially had misgivings about taking the role but ultimately accepted it. Hamilton's first episode aired on 24 November 1984. After Hexum's death, the series struggled in the ratings. CBS canceled Cover Up the following year.
After the cancellation of Cover Up, Hamilton was in talks to replace Roger Moore as the new James Bond in the 007 film series. Moore was ultimately replaced by Timothy Dalton. In 1986, Hamilton appeared in comedy film Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986), starring Whoopi Goldberg. He also guest starred on several television series including The Hitchhiker, The New Twilight Zone, The Charmings, and L.A. Law.
In 1988, Hamilton landed the role of Impossible Missions Force agent Max Harte, a former ANZAC commando, in the 1988 revival of Mission: Impossible. The series aired for two seasons before being canceled due to low ratings in 1990. In 1991, he guest starred on two episodes of crime drama series P.S. I Luv U. Hamilton's final role was in the 1992 thriller Fatal Instinct.
On 29 March 1995, Hamilton died from AIDS-related pneumonia in Los Angeles. His family requested that contributions be made in his name to AIDS Project Los Angeles. Hamilton was cremated and his ashes were scattered off the coast of Malibu.
Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality by Patrick Moore
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Beacon Press (January 14, 2004)
Amazon: Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality
The radical sexuality of gay American men in the 1970s is often seen as a shameful period of excess that led to the AIDS crisis. Beyond Shame claims that when the gay community divorced itself from this allegedly tainted legacy, the tragic result was an intergenerational disconnect because the original participants were unable to pass on a sense of pride and identity to younger generations. Indeed, one reason for the current rise in HIV, Moore argues, is precisely due to this destructive occurrence, which increased the willingness of younger gay men to engage in unsafe sex.
Lifting the'veil of AIDS,' Moore recasts the gay male sexual culture of the 1970s as both groundbreaking and creative-provocatively comparing extreme sex to art. He presents a powerful yet nuanced snapshot of a maligned, forgotten era. Moore rescues gay America's past, present, and future from a disturbing spiral of destruction and AIDS-related shame, illustrating why it's critical for the gay community to reclaim the decade.
More LGBT History at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Gay Classics
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