Also Credited As:Tara Leigh Patrick
|Tara Leigh Patrick on April 20, 1972 in Waupun, Ohio, USA|
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Born Tara Leigh Patrick on April 20, 1972 in Waupun, OH, Electra was raised by her musician father, Harry, a guitarist and entertainer, and her mother, Patricia, a singer. When she was just nine years old, Electra followed her parents' lead and enrolled at the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, while also studying dance with local instructor Gloria Simpson. After graduating from Princeton High School, she began her career as a dancer in the "It's Magic" show at Kings Island amusement park in 1990, and soon after moved to Minneapolis, MN, where she began modeling for Target retail stores. In 1991, Electra moved to Los Angeles and made the acquaintance of Prince, who signed her to a recording contract on his Paisley Park Records. Now adopting her famous moniker, Electra released her self-titled album, Carmen Electra (1993), which featured her as something of a sexy, dance-oriented rapper. The album failed to do well and marked the end of her short-lived singing career. Following the quick rise and fall of her music career, Electra turned to more innate talents and posed for Playboy in 1995, the first of several pictorials she did for the gentlemen's magazine.
After succeeding raucous former Playmate Jenny McCarthy as co-host of MTV's popular dating game show "Singled Out" in the spring of 1997, Electra had a brief stint co-hosting the video network's late night sex/dating advice show "Loveline" that same year. Meanwhile, she filled the void left by a departing Pamela Anderson on the syndicated "Baywatch," gracing televisions worldwide in her red bathing suit for one season as Lani McKenzie. While "Baywatch" prompted Electra's pop cultural "babe quotient" to go through the roof, the overcrowded cast left little room for the actress to hone her skills. After leaving the series, she made guest star appearances - often as herself - on several popular TV series, including "The Simpsons" (Fox, 1989- ), "Just Shoot Me" (NBC, 1997-2003), "The Drew Carey Show" (ABC, 1995-2004) and "MADtv" (Fox, 1995-2009). After breaking into features with supporting turns in "American Vampire" (1997) and "Good Burger" (1997), she starred in the Z-grade thriller "The Chosen One: Legend of the Raven" (1998) as a Native American - Electra did possess a Cherokee ancestry - whose is possessed by a supernatural force of good, unleashing powers and an unquenchable sexual energy. Despite its many flaws, the film made the most of Electra's gift for gyration and her decided lack of inhibition when it came to nudity.
By 1998, Electra had veered into Zsa Zsa Gabor territory as a Hollywood persona who was known less for her body of work than her actual body, becoming a regular fixture on the covers and in photo layouts of the then-fresh wave of "laddie" magazines such as Maxim, Stuff and FHM. When she kept her clothes on, her outlandish wardrobe and heavy makeup frequently landed her on many publications' worst-dressed lists. However, it was her tumultuous on-again, off-again relationship with the outlandish and eccentric NBA star Dennis Rodman that would earn her the most notoriety, overshadowing her career. The couple was married in a spur-of-the-moment Las Vegas ceremony in November 1998, but days later Rodman announced he was intoxicated at the time and filed for an annulment. The couple subsequently reconciled but then had a very public physical altercation that resulted in their arrests in Miami, FL and the ultimate dissolution of their five-month union, which had been a staple of many a late night talk show monologue. The divorce was finalized in April 1999.
As her personal life turned into a media circus, her professional life was gaining momentum: In an attempt to save the struggling "Hyperion Bay" series, The WB brought Electra aboard in January 1999 as a cutthroat vixen, moving away from the earnest exploration of thorny relationship issues in favor of lots of lingerie and the occasional plot. Her efforts, however, were in vain as the network ceased production on the series after the producers fulfilled the initial order. She also appeared opposite Mackenzie Astin in the little seen but surprisingly entertaining indie comedy "The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human" (1999) as part of a couple whose relationship is studied by alien observers. The actress would be cast in her most high-profile role - one which showcased her willingness to tweak her own image - when she played a lingerie-clad slasher victim in a satire of Drew Barrymore's "Scream" role in the comedy "Scary Movie" (2000). She also appeared in a trimmed-down cameo as the whip-wielding dominatrix Mistress Moira in the teen-skewing comedy "Get Over It" (2001).
Roles in a slate of lesser films, including "Sol Goode" (2001), "Whacked!" (2002), "Rent Control" (2002) and the long-delayed bomb "My Boss' Daughter" (2003), which was released solely because of Ashton Kutcher's burgeoning popularity, followed before the actress spent a season as a sideline correspondent on Comedy Central's robot vs. robot competition "Battlebots" in 2002. She again donned her red swimsuit for the reunion telepic "Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding" (NBC, 2003), posed for a second top-selling Playboy shoot, and had a cameo as a Hollywood celebrity in "Uptown Girls" (2003). Meanwhile, she continued to generate interest in her personal life, with a lengthy and public engagement to Jane's Addiction and (briefly) Red Hot Chilli Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro. The couple married in November 2003, with the entire wedding process and ceremony filmed for broadcast by MTV on the 2004 series "Till Death Do Us Part." The starlet also underwent a glamorous, more classy makeover, put out her own strip aerobics DVD, and headlined the hot Hollywood dance troupe the Pussycat Dolls, a retro-burlesque-style collection of the music industry's top dancers, choreographers and celebrity guest performers - including at some point or the another, Christina Applegate, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, Charlize Theron and Pamela Anderson.
Next for the actress was a turn opposite Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson in the 2004 big screen comedic homage to the 1970s cop drama "Starsky & Hutch." After voicing Honeysack in the cheapie animated comedy "Lil' Pimp" (2005), and appearing in the little-known romantic comedy "Dirty Love" (2005), Electra joined the original cast for the sequel, "Cheaper By the Dozen" (2005), starring Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt as the overburdened parents of a family of 12. Meanwhile, she co-starred in "Scary Movie 4" (2006), where she offered up some good old fashioned toilet humor as a blind woman who strips and defecates in a room thinking she is alone. Following another dreadful spoof, "Date Movie" (2006), she appeared in the more serious-minded, but no less critically maligned indie comic drama "Hot Tamale" (2006). It was during this time that Electra filed for divorce from husband Dave Navarro, which was finalized in early 2007. She continued appearing in a variety of films, playing a porn actress in the British comedy "I Want Candy" (2007), while continuing to perform in a string of easily dismissed spoofs like "Epic Movie" (2007), "Meet the Spartans" (2008) and "Disaster Movie" (2008). As she appeared in forgettable fare like "Mardi Gras: Spring Break" (2011) and "2-Headed Shark Attack" (2012), Electra was a consistent source of tabloid news due to her aborted engagement to nu metal guitarist Robert Pattison and alleged dalliance with "X-Factor" mogul Simon Cowell.