It remains one of the greatest and most unlikely success stories in television history. A one-season series NBC axed due to low ratings that became the most watched show in the world. The syndication market of the 1990s exploded thanks to its popularity as well as launching a wave of stars. It helped make David Hasselhoff more of an international icon and while it’s been mocked massively for its storylines and cheese factor, it nonetheless won the attention of fans to dominate the decade. Say Baywatch today and anyone watching TV in the 1990s knows what you’re talking about. It did usher in a wave of “T&A” shows of the time but still retained a huge fan base that maintains today. That looks ready to take off once more as this summer brings a big-screen movie starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron and pokes fun at the series’ tropes. However, as fun as the movie looks, it does lack some of the great charm and lovely ladies that made the series so notable.
Partly, it was Hasselhoff, the goofball actor enjoying himself as Mitch Buchanan, doing everything from saving lives to singing and even running a P.I. agency. But of course, what made Baywatch a hit was the women. Taking some of the most absolutely gorgeous women around and putting them in red swimsuits was a recipe for success and it paid off. Slews of actresses got famous thanks to Baywatch with many further doffing it all in magazine spreads. As sexy as the ladies of the new movie look, the original TV show just had a heat factor that can’t be touched. Here are 15 pictures of the ladies who made Baywatch so watchable and why the show remains an icon in television history.
15 Angie Harmon
Angie Harmon is a woman as hot now as she was when she got her start. The actress gained fame wearing suits for her role as Abbie Carmichael on Law & Order that got her attention. That would be followed by roles on Women’s Murder Club then playing Detective Jane Rizzoli in the hit TNT series Rizzoli & Isles. But before all of that, Harmon came to attention on Baywatch Nights. The spin-off had Mitch Buchanan opening a detective agency with Harmon playing Ryan McBride, a newbie detective helping him out. The show became infamous for transforming in its second season into a bizarre supernatural-themed series and it’s laughable seeing Harmon in situations involving zombies, fish-people and aliens. The actress looks back at the show with good humor as it at least got her attention in Hollywood to lead to much better TV fame. Harmon continues to look amazing in various magazine shoots (including doffing it all for Allure) and it’s a bit ironic she never got into a swimsuit for the show. But this pic showcases how stunning the 44-year-old looks in a bikini and parlayed her fame into a much better TV career.
Alexandra Paul comes from a unique family. Her identical twin sister Caroline was a firefighter and joked about how often people thought “the girl from Baywatch is saving me!” Alexandra joined the show in its third season as Stephanie, an old flame of Mitch’s and they had a long on-off relationship for several years. She was the voice of experience and terrific whether with long hair flowing or a shorter cut. Paul enjoyed the role for four seasons before finally written off by being killed in a vicious storm. She reprised the role of Stephanie’s ghost in a nutty episode of the spin-off Baywatch Nights. Paul also starred in the Hawaiian Wedding TV movie as a Stephanie look-alike romancing Mitch who turned out to be part of a plot by an old enemy for revenge. Today an activist, Paul continues to act in everything from Lifetime TV movies to Sharknado 4 and this pic showcases that even at 53, Paul can put most others on Baywatch to shame with a very hot body.
There’s always a somewhat sad entry on a list like this and unfortunately, Nicole Eggert is it. She played the aptly named Summer, a lovely young woman who moves to California with her mother to escape her abusive father. She had major plotlines like a battle with bulimia and romances to win fans over. Already known for Charles in Charge, Eggert was great in the part and the “nice girl” balance to Pamela Anderson’s far sexier C.J. She left the show in the fifth season for Summer attending college and returned for the 2003 reunion movie. Eggert has had numerous acting roles on cable TV and some infamy for the celebrity diving show Splash. However, in recent years, Eggert has become more infamous for gaining a lot of weight and some financial issues. In 2014, she was shown creating her own ice cream truck business which she insists is a family operation but has been the source of mockery. This picture showcases Eggert in her amazingly hot prime and how Alexandra Daddario has some big shoes to fill playing Summer in the upcoming movie.
After nine seasons, Baywatch finally seemed ready for cancellation due to the high costs of continuing to produce in California. However, the producers managed to get a revival by moving the show to Hawaii so the state could help pay for it. Stacy Kamano played Kekoa, a half-Japanese/half-Hawaiian who’s a natural in the water and joins the new Baywatch squad. The show enjoyed showing her off nicely, including a bit where she dives into a rescue off a boat party while dressed in red-hot lingerie. The show could give her some drama such as Kekoa’s conflicts with her strict Japanese father on her job and her dating a white man. Kamano stayed with the series until its end and later showed up in some other reality TV shows while working today in her native state. Her alluring looks made the last two seasons of the show very watchable and Stacy nicely showcased the beauty of Hawaii on full display.
The ninth season of Baywatch had the show hitting some stumbles, budget cuts and cast turnover that would pave the way for its Hawaii relaunch. Brooke Burns was introduced as Jessie, a cleaner for the lifeguard station who was shown amazingly clumsy. However, it turned out she was the “phantom lifeguard” who had been saving people and soon hired for the squad. Burns was great in the role with nice humor, a hot body in a bikini but didn’t show off as much in magazines as other ladies of the cast did. She carried the role over to the Hawaii spin-off although she left in its second season. Burns continues to do some acting, dying her hair dark for roles on the revived Melrose Place and even received an Emmy nomination for hosting the game show The Chase. Her most famous movie role was in Shallow Hal which had her undergoing an astonishing makeup job to look like an ugly woman. As this pic showcases, it doesn’t matter whether she’s blonde or brunette, Brooke can truly burn up a camera with her beauty.
Something about Krista Allen just screams out “sexy vixen” in spades. She actually considered being a teacher but then gave acting a try and it wasn’t long before her looks got her parts. This included the cable series Emmanuelle in Space that allowed Allen to show off her curvaceous body in various sexy scenes. She also played a video game warrior on a memorable X-Files episode and interesting that she had two series (Smallville and Mutant X) where she played a woman who could control men’s minds. On Baywatch Hawaii, she played Jenna, a wicked vixen working to take the team down which allowed Allen plenty of hot stuff. She was scheming and it worked well for her with the actress balancing the show with a run on Days of Our Lives. She’s had numerous acting stints since such as the short-lived CW comedy The Significant Mother as a woman dating her son’s best friend. While she’s just as hot today, this pic showcases the scorching energy Allen had in her prime and why any list of Baywatch ladies has to include her.
It all started with her. Erika Eleniak has the honor of being the very first Baywatch babe. She was part of the original cast on NBC when the show was still finding its footing and under network restrictions. Eleniak had been more famous before this as the little girl kissed in E.T. but grew up very nicely with a 1989 spread in Playboy. That landed her the gig on Baywatch as Shauni, a rookie who had to learn the ropes fast on the job. The sight of her in that now-iconic red suit was a sensation and a key reason people tuned in for the first three seasons of the show. Eleniak found further fame with her role as the stripper turned heroine in the action hit Under Siege. Given her ability to show off her body, it was surprising her decision to leave the show was a dislike over the “T&A” approach it was taking. She made numerous movies and later gained attention for her battles over her weight. While she’s retired from acting today, Eleniak paved the way for everyone else on this list and this pic shows off the woman that helped Baywatch become a phenomenon.
Traci Bingham made history with the show as the first major African-American cast member. It was a big deal as the show had infamously skewed to hot blondes and so having Bingham on added some real flavor to things. She played Jordan, a newbie lifeguard and while she didn’t get as much story time as others, she did receive attention whenever she was on screen. Like many of her cast mates, Bingham soon had a hot Playboy spread and seemed ready for more attention on the show but was let go as part of the “Baywatch Bloodbath” in 1998. Bingham soon gained more fame on reality shows like The Surreal Life and Celebrity Big Brother and is an advocate for PETA. While her term on the show was brief, Bingham still brought a new color to the series and as sexy as any other lady on that beach as this very hot shot proves.
The gorgeous redhead half-joked that the producers of the show might have thought they were hiring Angie Everhart. Bridges has talked about being mixed up numerous times with the supermodel due to their stunning looks and fiery red hair. That made her a standout in the 8th season of the show as a new leader of the team and later a red-hot FHM spread. She was let go as part of a major cast culling but did pop back up in the Hawaiian Wedding TV reunion movie. In 2001, Bridges rewarded fans with a sensational spread in Playboy and soon found a career as a hostess in Las Vegas. Today, Bridges shows her singing chops as lead singer of the band Strawberry Blondes and a popular figure on Twitter posting everything from pics of her dog to herself at the gun range. She still has that hot presence as in this scorching pic to remind people how redheads are in a much higher state of sexual presence.
In 1998, just before its ninth season, the show underwent what was called the “Baywatch Bloodbath” where nearly half the cast was let go due to budget cuts and some producer turnover. One of the few to survive the cut was Kelly Packard’s April. Packard was already well known for her role as singer Tiffany on the popular NBC teen sitcom California Dreams and perfect for the role of a blonde swimmer. Her April was tough and learning and while she didn’t flaunt her body as much as others, Packard still stood out with her lush blonde hair flowing and filling out the suit nicely. She left after the ninth season for various TV gigs like hosting Ripley’s Believe It or Not and once switched places with Tachina Arnold on Celebrity Wife Swap. Packard didn’t do any nude spreads but made the most of magazine appearances and showed how April was a pleasure to watch in any month.
Baywatch Nights had a rough start as fans just found the idea of Mitch as a private eye a bit nutty. To try and boost things up in their first season, the producers added Donna D’Errico, who had just appeared in a hot Playboy spread. The short but fun blonde had a great charm in the role and would continue through the series’ controversial supernatural makeover. Naturally, it wasn’t long before she was added to the main show so Donna could show off her nice bikini body. One episode even played on her past with her character (also named Donna) doing a nude layout and facing the possibility of being fired over it. D’Errico left the show in 1998, making appearances on TV shows and running her own spa. Finding religion, D’Errico has climbed Mount Ararat and today says she regrets some of her choices in the past. But this pic shows D’Errico should have nothing to be ashamed of given her amazing beauty and charm to stand out on two Baywatch shows.
4 Gena Lee
Few characters on Baywatch have changed as much as Neely. She was introduced in season 5 as a seemingly bad girl, accusing Mitch of harassing her but then being found out and fired. She was played by Heather Campbell then but when the character returned the next season, she was played by Gena Lee Nolin, a former Price is Right girl. Nolin kept up the idea of Neely as a “bad girl” but soon redeemed into a better character as she was a struggling single mom dealing with painkillers. Nolin’s wonderful charm kept the role going and made her a real winner with audiences. It culminated with Neely and Mitch getting married on an Alaskan cruise. However, in what’s come to be known as “The Baywatch Bloodbath,” Nolin was among the cast members let go before the ninth season. As if thinking the audience wouldn’t like someone else in the part, the writers had Neely returned to her bad ways, divorcing Mitch and soon written out. Nolin would gain more fans starring in a loincloth on Sheena and has become a bestselling author on her struggles with a thyroid condition. This pic showcases how hot Nolin was in any part and that her Neely is still the one fans loved the most.
Despite her exotic looks, Carmen Electra was actually born in Ohio. A dancer since childhood, she was working at the King’s Island amusement park before she became a dancer and backup singer for Prince. A spread in Playboy got her huge attention and soon landing the role of Lani on Baywatch. They played into her real past with Lani a would-be dancer and gave Electra a lot of chances to show off her very nice moves. She parlayed that into fame such as Scary Movie and several of the “parody” films like Epic Movie and Disaster Movie. Electra also gained some infamy with a rocky relationship with NBA star Dennis Rodman and a later marriage to David Navarro. Today, the 44-year-old still looks stunning, in terrific shape and does work with charities as well as teaching yoga. That stunning body can still be shown off in some good outfits nicely. Her role on Baywatch was short but Electra has shown her sexiness can withstand the test of time.
Among the various Baywatch babes, Yasmine Bleeth stands out. For one, she was a brunette in a sea of mostly blondes. For another, she was practically the only major star of the show who never doffed it all for Playboy. Joining in season four, Bleeth played Caroline, the younger sister of Alexandra Paul’s Stephanie, a stubborn girl wanting to make it on her own. Caroline was soon quite popular and pushed well on the show with Bleeth handling the stunts well. She left in 1997 for a role on the popular cop drama Nash Bridges. She was supposed to be pushed as part of the highly anticipated NBC drama Titans but the would-be ratings smash turned into a notable flop that was canceled after just 13 episodes. Shortly afterward, Bleeth’s career took a massive hit when she was arrested for a DUI and admitted to a cocaine addiction. Afterward, Bleeth decided to retire from acting and concentrate on charity work and getting well. It was a shame to lose her as this pic showcases the hot side Bleeth possessed and how she could stand tall with the rest of the show’s hotties.
Mention Baywatch and she’s the first face (and body) to come to mind. The stunningly stacked Canadian blonde came to attention via a Playboy spread and parlayed that to some fame playing “Tool Time Girl” Lisa on Home Improvement. After a breast enhancement, she was cast as C.J. on Baywatch and transformed into an international sex icon. Anderson helped make the show a hit with her hot body on display in that suit and some funny plotlines. That led to major success with magazine spreads and endorsements as well as her controversial marriage to rocker Tommy Lee. After finally leaving the show, Anderson headlined a new series, VIP and set the record for the most nude spreads in Playboy. She’s settled down a bit with motherhood but Anderson recently won acclaim for her turn in the movie The People Garden. That included doffing it all for a scene and Anderson, at 49, showing she still had it. Baywatch made her famous and Anderson remains the ultimate blonde bombshell that had fans tuning in every week.
Sources: US Weekly