The Hollywood icon and reality star spills his sun secrets

By Aili Nahas
Updated July 22, 2015 01:05 PM
Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty

He’s been in front of the camera for over 60 years, but George Hamilton is perhaps best known for his signature dark tan.

The veteran actor stars on the new E! series Stewarts & Hamiltons (premiering Sunday) alongside his two sons, musician Ashley Hamilton and student George Hamilton Jr., as well as his ex wife Alana Stewart and her two children, designer/model Kimberly Stewart and designer Sean Stewart.

But George wasn’t always perfectly bronzed. “I was in prep school in the East, and I came to Florida,” he tells PEOPLE. “[At the time], I was the comedian, I didn’t have a girlfriend. But I went to the beach, and I got this incredible tan. The next party I went to I was hit on by three girls. I never took the chance of losing the tan after that!”

As far as maintenance, no tanning beds here. “He has a reflector,” says Kimberly, 35. “It’s a mirror that opens up and he puts it under his chin. He built it himself!”

George’s ex Alana (they divorced in 1975 after four years) admits she only saw him pale once – “when he was sick with hepatitis and couldn’t go out of the sun!” Alana adds, “He turned a really strange color of yellow.”

And the 75-year-old has no plans to curb his sun worshiping anytime soon. “I get energy from the sun,” George says. “And for a man who’s been in the sun all my life, my skin is pretty soft. I should be beef jerky!”

RELATED VIDEO: Watch Stewarts and Hamiltons Star Kimberly Stewart’s Reaction to Dad Rod Stewart’s Karaoke Moment

For more on George Hamilton’s new gig as a reality star, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday