Also Credited As:Brooke Burke, Brooke Burke Charvet, Brooke Lisa Burke
|Brooke Lisa Burke on September 8, 1971 in Hartford, Connecticut, USA|
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Born Sept. 8, 1971 in Hartford, CT to parents of Irish, Portuguese and French descent, Burke was raised in Tucson, AZ after her parents divorced. The middle child of seven siblings, Burke never dreamed of fame and fortune. The young beauty was content to spend the rest of her life in the desert, playing drums in a rock band. Fate intervened when Burke accompanied a friend to a local modeling agency and was noticed by a beauty scout. Shortly after, she won a pageant sponsored by Hawaiian Tropics suntan lotion, and at age 19, headed to L.A. to study broadcast journalism at UCLA. For extra money, she posed for Fredrick's of Hollywood lingerie catalogs - an experience which would serve her well in the years to come. She continued to sign with prestigious L.A. model and talent agencies, landing parts in national spots for Bally Total Fitness (as the "beautiful body"), Discover Card (Derek Jeter's dream date), Coca-Cola, M Professional Cosmetics, and Anheuser-Busch.
In 1999, the 5'7" stunner auditioned for host of E! Entertainment's popular travel series, "Wild On" (1997-2002) when outgoing host Jules Asner decided to switch from exotic locales to the local "E! News Live" department. Burke's dependable Irish luck - as well as her obvious assets - did the trick yet again when she landed the career-making gig. Her induction to the crazy world of "Wild On" was indeed wild, but also wet, to say the least. Burke was sent to Spain for the annual La Tomatina Festival, in which a crowd 30,000 strong bombarded each other with tomatoes from local vineyards in "the largest food fight in the world." Seeing the gorgeous girl dripping in tomatoes - and most importantly, loving every minute of it - endeared her to fans immediately. Unlike Asner, who often appeared disinterested in para-sailing or jumping out of planes, Burke immersed herself in the action and the culture each and every time. And the bikinis did not hurt either. With Burke scantily clad on beaches or dancing in sweaty nightclubs, viewers began tuning in en mass, making "Wild On" the network's No. 2 show behind "Howard Stern." Posing for Playboy in May 2001 only added to her aura as the sexiest tour guide on the planet.
In 1998, the hostess, who admitted to having had breast enhancement surgery at age 19, met Dr. Garth Fisher, a renowned Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. Not long after their whirlwind romance began, their first daughter, Neriah, was born in 2000, followed two years later by a second daughter, Sierra Sky. The couple tied the knot that same year. The "wife/mother" stigma often dulled a sex symbol's sheen, but it did nothing but enhance Burke's. For those who assumed she was nothing but eye-candy, she proved the naysayers wrong by making the smartest business decision a pinup can: making Brooke Burke a brand attractive to both sexes. For the men, there were years of best-selling swimsuit calendars and countless covers and layouts in such men's mags as FHM, Stuff, Maxim and two top-selling stints baring it all for Playboy. For the ladies, a workout video "Core Secrets" (2004) and her own swimwear line, "Barely Brooke," which appeared in the 2003 swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated and also in Victoria's Secret catalogs.
After three years of such adventures as fighting off crocodiles in Jamaica and walking on skyscraper ledges in New Zealand, Burke stepped down as host of "Wild On" in the fall of 2002. She remained at E! until Aug. 2003, hosting the pop culture countdown series, "Rank" (2001-03) and working the red carpet for E! Live Events. In 2004, she returned to the network that made her a star for a limited engagement series called "The Good Life with Brooke Burke." While some questioned whether she could act, Burke jumped at the opportunity to learn, accepting bit parts on TV shows such as "Monk" (USA Network, 2002-09), "Less Than Perfect" (ABC, 2002-06) and "Eve" (UPN, 2003-06). She made the jump to the big screen, playing small roles in two 2004 films: "The Hazing" and "Knuckle Sandwich." As if being a proven sexpot was not enough, Burke made her stage debut performing a celebrity piece in the L.A. premiere of the off-Broadway play, "Pieces of Ass" in late 2003.
Even the video game industry could not escape Burke's star power. She starred in EA Games' "Need for Speed: Underground 2," where she played Rachel Teller, a street-wise adrenaline junkie who runs a street racing company. For her work, she received a Spike TV Video Game Award for Best Performance by a Human-Female and was nominated for Hottest Video Vixen for the same game. She also loaned her voice to Atari's Trivial Pursuit "Unhinged" video game as host of its "People and Places" category. Burke raised her public profile up yet another notch by teaming up with "Survivor" executive producer Mark Burnett to co-host the CBS reality series, "Rock Star: INXS" with former Jane's Addiction rock guitarist Dave Navarro. The series, in which singers competed to replace deceased former INXS frontman Michael Hutchence, was a modest summer 2005 success.
But any professional success paled with an upturn in Burke's personal life. In July, 2005, Burke and Fisher - by then a bit of a celebrity himself as a regular on ABC's plastic surgery reality hit "Extreme Makeover" (ABC, 2002-05) - announced their separation after seven years together. Burke moved on happily to a relationship with former "Baywatch" stud, David Charvet. The couple were engaged in August 2005, but before that business could take place, the couple gave birth to a daughter named Heaven Rain Charvet in January 2007, followed closely by a long-awaited son, Shaya, born in March 2008. In an attempt to get back to a pre-pregnancy body or to simply to take on and conquer one more challenge, Burke signed on to the seventh season of "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ) to dance with professional, Derek Hough. A judge and audience favorite, Burke ended up taking home the coveted disco trophy ball, as well as scoring a co-hosting gig opposite Tom Bergeron two years later after "DWTS" mainstay Samantha Harris left the show. Although she had her fans and detractors in her new role, Burke clearly loved being a part of the show that had - more than any project - made her a household name beyond simply her male fanbase. Landing a number of endorsement deals due to "DWTS," Burke lived a seemingly charmed life until November 2012 when she announced she had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer; in the same breath, she reassured fans she had a great prognosis and would be undergoing a thyroidectomy.
By Jenna Girard