Sunset in Los Angeles . The hills are alive with the sound of
Joe Lando is finding that being a sex symbol is a dirty job.
He paces the CBS-TV Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman set
in his leather pants, moccasins and-well that's pretty much it. A
production assistant approaches him. He moans out loud knowing what's
The woman-dubbed a dirt wrangler-smears a greasy rag across his
face and chest. Lando just makes a face. "I just feel so dirty," he
says, his long mane of hair blowing in the breeze.
Lando's character, the emotionally wounded prairie babe Byron Sully,
is preparing to save his little Colorado town from some rotten
army guys. "My job is never done. Tomorrow I ward off an Indian
war," Lando quips.
Oh, he also has to romance Dr. Quinn. "Our relationship
is really heating up," he says. "Dr. Quinn and Sully's
chaste kisses are starting to get a little deeper. Who knows
what will happen next?"
Lando knows this much: You have to have a sense of humor to be the
big hunk on the prairie. People Magazine voted him
one of the Sexiest Men Alive, thanks to all that running around in
buckskin. "It's kind of embarrassing. Sexiest guy alive? I think
it's sort of hilarious he laughs.
"If I'm not on the set, I'm in the woods camping
out. I'm a big hiker and mountain biker. Being dirty and sweaty isn't
But his long hair is. "I get letters from women telling me
that they've asked their husbands to grow their hair long. I just
say, 'Guys, don't do it!' I wish I could cut the hair. It's so hot.
When I get out of the shower in the morning, I throw my hair up in
a baseball cap and go to work."
The baseball cap is the key to Lando's sanity. Ever since he became
a sex symbol, he's mobbed everywhere he goes. His secret? "If
I throw the hair up under a hat, people don't even look at me
That's not exactly true. After all, Lando is so popular that
CBS tapped him to star in Guiding Light last year for a
reported $30,000 a week. "Yeah," says Lando. "I've
come a long way from flipping pizzas."
Rewind a little further. Lando was born and raised in Long Grove (outside
Chicago), where his father owned a fish-tackle manufacturing business.
Strangely, he wasn't the high school babe. "I never even
went to school dances," he says. "I had a girlfriend, but
I would rather hang out with my buddies." (His girlfriend
was actress Allison LaPlaca, who starred in the CBS-TV series Tom.)
"1 Didn't Even Go to My Senior Prom" Since
LaPlaca graduated before Lando and went away to college, he spent
his senior year alone. "I didn't even go to my senior prom.
After high school, Lando decided to go west because "I
didn't want to take over my Dad's fish tackle business." He
moved out to Los Angeles and "spent eight years just banging
around." He did catering for motion pictures like Silkwood. That
led to a job flipping pizzas in an Italian restaurant. One night
a pal of director Lawrence Kasdan waltzed in and soon "I was
hired to teach pizza spinning to Kevin Kline in I Love You to
Death," says Lando of his big
break four years ago. After taking on a small acting role in
the movie, he got hired to play private eye Jake Harrison on One
Life to Live for two years.
In 1992, he got the Rx for Dr. Quinn. Little did Lando
know how well he'd get along with costar Jane Seymour. "We dated
for a while. Jane is a beautiful lady," he says. For her part,
Seymour sighs, "Joe is definitely one of the most gorgeous men
on the planet. Now, we're just good friends. I'm married now, you
Joe's perfect mate, he says, "would like the outdoors and just
hanging out. We'd rent old movies, maybe get some chocolate ice cream,
"I'm really focusing on my career now," he says, shaking
off questions about marriage and kids. He does say that any girlfriend
of his would have to be a Chicago Cubs fan. "I love sitting
way up in the stands. No one notices me."
Who could miss him today? Lando's handsome face is now totally caked
in dirt. "My high school buddies would think this is hilarious.
I get paid for looking filthy," he says as the dirt wrangler
smears another dirty rag across his kisser.
Lando sighs, ° This is life as a sex symbol."