PAMELA ANDERSON

Pamela Anderson posters!Pamela Denise Anderson, the daughter of a waitress and a furnace repairman, was born on July 1, 1967, in Ladysmith, British Columbia, Canada. Perhaps an omen of good things to come, Pamela was the first baby born in British Columbia on this day, Canada's 100th Birthday, earning her the title of "The Centenial Baby." Her parents received a cash prize as part of the award, and Pam received a write-up in the local newspaper, the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle. According to Pamela, "That's where it all started."

Her modeling career began a few years later in a rather unlikely place--a library. While sitting with a group of about one hundred other children, listening to a story, Pamela was picked out by a photographer who took a picture of the little girl which captured the hearts of all that saw it and was placed in libraries across British Columbia

As a teenager, Pamela lived a fairly normal life. She was active in sports (her flexibility earned her the nickname "Rubber Girl") and she played the saxaphone. Her high school yearbook stated that her aspiration was to be a "California beach bum." During this period, she worked as an extra in movies and booked a few larger parts including the voice of Pebbles in The Flintstones Little Big League (1979), the role of a hooker in Crimes of Passion (1984), and the part of a party guest in Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)-- but her career didn't seem to be going anywhere, and after high school she had to support herself by working as a fitness instructor.

Then, in 1989, while attending a CFL football game between the British Columbia Lions and the Toronto Argonauts, she was spotted by a cameraman who was scanning the crowd looking for someone to put on the giant stadium screen. When Pamela appeared on the screen, the stadium went wild, and she was escorted down to the 50-yard line and introduced to the appreciative crowd. As fate would have it, that night she happened to be wearing a Labatt's Beer T-shirt--which brought her to the attention of company executives who decided she was perfect for an upcoming ad campaign. She was soon crowned the Labatt's "Blue Zone" girl--and her face was plastered on thousands of posters that were shipped to bars and restaurants across Canada.

The Labatt's campaign proved so popular that other commercials and advertising gigs followed. All of this fanfare eventually brought her to the attention of freelance photographer Ken Honey who took a few pictures of Pamela and convinced her to submit them to Playboy magazine. Playboy liked what they say, apparently, and Pamela soon found herself posing for the coverof the October (1989) issue of Playboy. Shortly afterwards, she decided to move to Los Angeles where she booked two episodes of Married ... With Children. Then, in 1991, came her first big break. She was cast as Lisa, the Tool-Time Girl, on Home Improvement, and the show turned out to be a smash hit. This, in turn, brought her to the attention of David Hasselhoff, executive producer and star of Baywatch, who offered her the role of C.J. Parker, a lifeguard. Pamela was attracted to the role because of the "new age thinking" that she shared with the character--including an interest in crystals, meditation, and dream interpretation. For a while, she juggled both roles, but eventually quit Home Improvement.

Baywatch quickly became one of the most popular TV shows in the world--and Pamela was largely responsible for its success. Movie offers started pouring in, including The Taking of Beverly Hills (1991), Snapdragon (1993), Raw Justice (1994), and Naked Souls (1995). During this period, she also dated several Hollywood stars including Dean Cain, Sylvester Stallone, and Scott Baio--as well as Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee with whom she would eventually forge a deeper bond. In 1995, after Lee followed her to a modeling shoot in Cancun--the couple followed up several days of partying by getting married on a beach (the groom wore swimming trunks, and the bride a white thong bikini) and, rather than exchanging rings, they each had the other's name tatooed on their body. The now famous honeymoon ensued, documented with a video camera that they brought along. Unfortunately for the newlyweds, this explicit tape would disappear during construction of their house--only to resurface on the Internet several years later.

In 1996, against the advice of her manager, Anderson decided to take the role of a futuristic bounty hunter in the movie Barb Wire, based on a comic book series from Dark Horse Comics. Not only did the movie proved to be a commercial and critical failure, but Pamela "won" the 1997 Razzie Award for Worst New Star. That same year, she left Baywatch. But Pamela's career was not the only thing in jeopardy. She had suffered a miscarriage during the filming of Barb Wire, and her marriage was now on the rocks. She filed for divorce in 1998 amid allegations of spousal abuse by Tommy Lee. Pamela retained custody of the couple's two children and had her "Tommy" tattoo changed to "Mommy."

She returned to television in 1998 with V.I.P., a tongue-in-cheek action series in which she played Vallery Irons, a model turned bodyguard, perhaps satirizing the persona she had created on Baywatch. The show has proved successful in syndication, due, in no small part, to Pamela's considerable fan following. And in 2003, she appeared in a quirky animated series called Stripperella, in which she played a feisty secret agent and topless dancer who fights heinous crimes against womankind. She has appeared on more magazine covers than any star of her generation and has become, perhaps, the premiere sex symbol of the 1990's.

In addition to Pamela's other duties, she has taken on the responsibility of a syndicated column with the U.S. women's magazine Jane and Marie Claire in the UK. She is also known for her dedication to supporting PETA, victims of domestic abuse, and underprivileged children. In March, 2002, she came forward with the news that she had contracted Hepatitis-C, presumably from sharing tattoo needles with her former husband, and she has been active in spreading awareness of this potentially deadly disease.

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This biography was written by J. Crabb and originally published on this website on March 1, 2004.

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