Hamilton was born Lois Aurino in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She studied at Temple University in her native Philadelphia before going on to the University of Florence in Florence, Italy, where she received degrees in Psychology and Fine Arts.
Her looks brought an opportunity with the Ford Modeling Agency where she became one of its top models during the 1970s. Hamilton graced the covers of many magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Fortune, Mademoiselle, Vogue Italia, Prevue, Neue Revue Illustrierte, Newsweek, Paris Match, Hello!, Redbook, Ladies' Home Journal, Glamour, Time, and many others. Some of her ad campaigns included Chanel, Clairol, Halston, Pucci and Hermès, and she appeared in over 150 commercials worldwide.
Moving to Hollywood, she made a successful transition from model to actress. Within a year, she landed more TV stints than any other actress at her agency. She worked with such notables as Ivan Reitman, Neil Simon, Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford, Ned Beatty, Burt Reynolds, John Candy, John Larroquette, Dom DeLuise, Roger Moore, Bill Murray, Jane Fonda, Dean Martin, Carl Reiner, David Carradine, Sammy Davis, Jr., Steve Guttenberg, Howard W. Koch, Albert S. Ruddy, Hal Needham, and Thomas R. Bond II to name a few. Under the name Lois Hamilton or Lois Areno, she appeared in several Hollywood films as well as on television shows including many popular series such as Card Sharks, The Dukes of Hazzard and Three's Company.
When she was not involved in a feature film or television project, she took to the skies, where she was a licensed private pilot. She logged over 600 hours in the air and was an accomplished aerobatic pilot, flying her 1936 German biplane. Hamilton was also an accomplished sculptress, painter and writer. She exhibited her bronze sculptures and oil paintings in many one-woman shows in Los Angeles. An author as well, she penned her first novel, Move Over Tarzan, a woman's guide on how to be as assertive as the most aggressive, successful man using a woman's femininity.
On December 23, 1999, Hamilton locked herself in her hotel room at the Sheraton Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Apparently depressed over her lingering injuries from an auto accident earlier in the year, she took a fatal overdose of sleeping pills. She was 47 years old. She is buried in Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery.