Also Credited As:Pam Anderson, Pamela Lee, Pamela Anderson Lee, Pamela Denise Anderson
|Pamela Denise Anderson on July 1, 1967 in Ladysmith, British Columbia, CA|
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Born on July 1, 1967 in Ladysmith, British Columbia, Canada, Anderson was raised by her father, Berry, a furnace repairman, and her mother, Carol, a waitress. In a scenario only a Hollywood writer could devise, Anderson was discovered while simply minding her own business at a sporting event - specifically, a British Columbia Lions football game. At halftime, a network camera man, looking to kill a few seconds between quarters, scanned the crowd looking for someone to embarrass on the stadium's giant JumboTron screen. In a remarkable twist of fate, he spotted the gorgeous 22-year-old Anderson in the bleachers, wearing a form fitting Labatt's Beer T-shirt. Upon seeing her giant image on the screen, the crowd reportedly broke into a collective cheer louder than any ever heard for the B.C. Lions in their 41-year history. Within days, the then-brunette received a contract from the beer company, offering her the job of "The Blue Zone Girl" - Labatt Beer's official spokesmodel.
Soon after her discovery, Anderson embarked on a series of surgical enhancements, namely breast augmentation, while in her early twenties that would undeniably boost her career. Anderson's physical improvements would remain a constant topic of curiosity as she made more and more cup-size changes in an attempt to retain her youthful looks. Meanwhile, she moved to Los Angeles in the late 1980s, where she received a warm welcome almost immediately. Within just months, Anderson was offered an opportunity to pose for Playboy magazine, which she eagerly accepted. Named Miss February of 1990, Anderson's issue set record sales numbers and brought her to the attention of television producers. Always on the lookout for fresh eye candy, Hollywood hired Anderson to basically stand around and look beautiful on such fare as "Married... with Children" (Fox, 1987-1997), "Married People" (ABC, 1990-91) and "Top of the Heap." (Fox, 1991). But her big break finally arrived when she was cast as Lisa "The Tool Time Girl" on the highly rated sitcom, "Home Improvement" (ABC, 1991-99), starring comedian Tim Allen. Two years into her "Home Improvement" gig, she became frustrated with the limited scope of her role. Fortunately for the actress, sandier beaches lay ahead.
In 1993, Anderson received an offer that would forever change her life, playing the regular role of lifeguard C.J. Parker on the beach-bound drama, "Baywatch" (NBC/syndicated, 1989-2001). In short order, Anderson went from rising player to international star. For five seasons, the Canadian import personified the ultimate California girl, even trumping the show's undisputed star and executive producer, David Hasselhoff in popularity. Anderson did more than her share to help propel "Baywatch" to the top of the ratings, redefining the idea of jiggle television for a whole new generation. By the time Anderson left the show, "Baywatch" had become the most watched television program in the world, seen in 148 countries and translated into 32 different languages. Still, Anderson yearned for new challenges after the show's 1996-97 season. For obvious reasons, producers desperately wanted Anderson to stay put, even offering to renegotiate her contract. In the end, Anderson knew it was better to leave, and so in 1997 - after five years of slow-motion rescues and sexy CPR performances in a red one-piece bathing suit - an era came to an end. However, six years after hanging up her bathing suit, Anderson returned for a quick cameo in the made-for-television movie, "Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding" (2003).
Eyeing features as her next logical career step, Anderson parlayed her "Baywatch" success into starring roles in two straight-to-video thrillers, "Snapdragon" (1993) and "Raw Justice" (1994). Her big-screen debut, however, did not arrive until a few years later, when she signed on to star in the big-budget action feature, "Barb Wire" (1996). Based on a popular graphic novel of the same name, Anderson played the film's titular heroine - a tattooed, rubber-clad mercenary who takes no prisoners and looks good doing it. Unfortunately, as lethal as her character was, the reviews on "Barb Wire" were even worse. The futuristic comic book adventure quickly died at the box office. Returning to the smaller pond of television, Anderson found another acting job and second niche as an executive producer on her next series, the tongue-in-cheek actioner, "V.I.P." (syndicated, 1998-2002). Anderson played Vallery Irons, a small-town girl who becomes famous after saving the life of an actor and who of course opens her own security firm. Though critics naturally loathed the show, Anderson's fans watched religiously nonetheless.
Despite less than stellar acting gigs, Anderson's name stayed front and center in the press, thanks to her high-profile, dramatic personal life. After being romantically linked throughout the nineties with a string of bad-boy celebs - including blonde-loving lothario Scott Baio, "Baywatch" co-star David Charvet, Poison frontman Bret Michaels (which also produced the first of her famous sex tapes), and pro surfer Kelly Slater, among others - Anderson finally settled down with Tommy Lee, drummer for the glam rock band, Motley Crüe. Following an exceptionally brief flirtation, the couple wed on a beach in Mexico on Feb. 19, 1995, with the bride wearing only a white bikini and the groom shirtless in shorts. Confounding fans who felt the relationship would barely last a few months, the couple's wild union produced two children, Brandon Thomas in 1996 and Dylan Jagger in 1997, not to mention countless pages of tabloid coverage.
Soon after their marriage, Anderson - who had recently changed her professional name to Pamela Lee - and her new husband were the focal point of numerous public relations nightmares. Wherever the couple went, paparazzi were in hot pursuit, resulting in more than one altercation between Lee and the pesky shutterbugs. In June 1996, word leaked that a homemade pornographic videotape starring Anderson and Lee had been obtained. The video - which was reportedly stolen by a contractor who was renovating their home - allegedly included footage of the couple's bizarre quickie beachside wedding ceremony as well as sexual situations. When the tape surfaced for sale on the Internet, Anderson and Lee quickly moved to block its distribution, but by then such action was too late. The damage was done, but some argued that the tape only enhanced her reputation as a sexpot and his as a well-endowed bad boy. Anderson and Lee filed a $90 million copyright infringement suit against the Internet Entertainment Group (IEG), the company which distributed the video, to claim a share of the profits of their purloined video. Following appeals, Anderson and Lee were awarded $1.5 million, plus legal fees.
In 1998, trouble with the seemingly happy couple began to emerge. Lee was arrested following a domestic dispute at their home in Malibu, in which Anderson accused her husband of kicking her in the back while she held their son. After pleading no contest to the assault, Lee was sentenced to four months in prison. While he was serving his sentence, the couple officially divorced. Over the years, Anderson and Lee reconciled a number of times - even as late as 1999 - but the relationship seemed destined to never work out. After much post-divorce rancor, Anderson and Lee finally called a truce, if only for the sake of their two children. Eventually, the couple would even become friends again in a few years, with both former lovers seemingly jealous of the other's current love interest from time to time.
As the 21st century dawned, Anderson remained more relevant than ever. In addition to launching her own line of shoes, clothing and pet accessory products, she became an outspoken champion for animal rights. As a celebrity spokesperson for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Anderson gained newfound respect among animal lovers the world over by volunteering her time and money to such charitable causes as the Canadian Seal protection fund and the PETA boycott of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) over their allegedly cruel practices while farming their chickens. She also frequently lent her image, including a famous semi-nude pose with the tagline "I'd Rather Go Naked than Wear Fur," to the cause.
In March 2002, Anderson surprised the world by publicly revealing that she'd been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, an incurable viral disease that affects the liver. How Anderson came to be infected remained unclear, but the popular belief was that it most likely resulted from sharing tattoo needles with her husband. For the record, Lee publicly denied ever having the disease and publicly took Anderson to task for what he insisted was a lie. In an October 2003 appearance on Howard Stern's radio show, Anderson jokingly estimated that she did not expect to live more than 10 to 15 years, a statement which was misconstrued by the tabloids as true. With her divorce behind her and "V.I.P." coming to an end, Anderson announced she was taking a year off to focus on her health and spend more time with her children. Even so, Anderson stayed in the public eye by writing a regular column for Jane magazine. She also teamed up with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee to create the animated series "Stripperella" (Spike, 2003), about a campy super-heroine based on Anderson's own likeness. The actress provided the voice of Stripperella, as well as her alter ego, the demure Erotica Jones.
After releasing her first book, Star (2004), co-written by Eric Shaw Quinn, Anderson made her much-anticipated return to television as the star of the wink-wink titled Fox comedy, "Stacked" (Fox, 2005-06). This time, Anderson played Skyler Dayton, a blond bombshell who works at a book store while trying to turn her love life around. The subject of an intense bidding war between ABC, NBC and Fox, "Stacked" premiered to strong ratings, but slipped dramatically as the series went on. In January 2006, Fox finally slammed the book on "Stacked" eight episodes into its second season. Despite the disappointment of her cancelled series, Anderson continued to make appearances on screen. In the 2006 mockumentary "Borat," she played a crucial role as the object of Kazakhstani journalist Borat Sagdiyev's affections, played by British chameleon Sacha Baron Cohen. Though Anderson herself only appeared briefly in an end cameo, much of the film's loose plot centered on the tactless foreign journalist's quest to kidnap and marry the famed sex symbol. Throughout the film's promotion, studio publicists laughably maintained that Anderson, like everyone else in the movie, was simply an unwitting dupe of the filmmakers. This claim, however, seemed incredibly unlikely, given that Anderson was kidnapped on-camera for the film's denouement. She later admitted to being in on the joke.
On a personal note, the actress was flying high as well when on July 18, 2006, she married her longtime on-again, off-again fiancée, Detroit rocker, Kid Rock, in Saint-Tropez. The couple also held additional wedding ceremonies in the United States. However, barely four months later - and only weeks after a sad miscarriage announcement - Anderson surprised the public by applying for an annulment. Both camps went back and forth as to why, with Anderson claiming Rock was incensed at her appearance in "Borat." Rock countered by insisting it was due to Anderson's partying ways. Regardless of the reasons, the couple insisted they would make the split amicable for the sake of the children. Meanwhile, Anderson made her first foray into reality television with "Pam: Girl on the Loose!" (E!, 2008), which documented the personal and professional life of the actress. After marrying Rick Solomon of Paris Hilton porn video fame in 2007, only to ask for an annulment to their Las Vegas wedding in early 2008, Anderson joined the season 10 cast of the popular reality competition, "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ). She hoofed her way through the Foxtrot and Rumba alongside the likes of Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, fellow bad girl Shannen Doherty and tabloid star Kate Gosselin.