These Are The Most Unforgettable Babes of Baywatch

Words: Josh Rakic
Photography: Getty Images/Handout

Celebrating the women who helped make Baywatch the most popular show on international television.

It may have left our TV screens almost 20 years ago (we refuse to include the Hawaiian spin-off) but Baywatch nostalgia remains as strong as ever - largely thanks to The Hoff and an unforgettable cast of Playboy models led by Pamela Anderson.

Next month the series finally gets the big screen treatment, with Dwayne Johnson assuming David Hasselhoff’s role as Mitch Buchannon. Moreover, The Rock revealed this week that the film features more skin and debauchery than the original nine seasons combined. So we decided to cast an eye back to the original series, and celebrate the pin-ups who helped make Baywatch the most popular show on international television for the best part of a decade.

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Pamela Anderson - C.J. Parker (1992–1997)

Other than The Hoff, no one can touch Pamela Anderson as the international and lasting face of Baywatch, the Canadian’s popularity effectively ensuring all casting was done with her look in mind. It shot her to stardom and to this day she remains as synonymous with the series as the beach itself.

Carmen Electra - Lani McKenzie (1997–1998)

With Pam chasing bigger fish on the back of her worldwide notoriety, Carmen Electra was brought in as the woman to replace her. And with a decidedly different look and darker hair color, it was as if producers “retired” the Pam look to segue the show into the future. Of course, it didn’t work out all that well, with the show effectively being cancelled and spun-off as Baywatch Hawaii a year later.

Erika Eleniak - Shauni McClain (1989–1992)

The original blonde bombshell of Baywatch, Eleniak set the standard for the cast members to come and counts as the third consecutive Playboy model on the list. The producers sure had their casting requirements downpat, Eleniak’s popularity helping launch the show to international syndication in 1991.

Yasmine Bleeth - Caroline Holden (1994–1997)

She’s been retired from acting since 2003, but from 1994 until then the glamour model turned actress was considered one of the most beautiful women in the world and constantly featured on “sexiest women alive” lists the worldover. At her peak, she rivalled Pam Anderson as Baywatch’s most popular cast member, and remained a sought-after magazine model until drug addiction saw her give away both modeling and acting for good.

 
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Gena Lee Nolin - Neely Capshaw (1995–1998)

From The Price Is Right to the sands of Santa Monica beach, Gena Lee Nolin was a frequent face on network television throughout the 1990s and could have been the face of Baywatch were it not for Pam. Like many before her, she quit Baywatch for her own show the same time Pam did, only for her show - Sheena - to be canceled after 35 episodes. She ended up another Playboy pin-up then has largely been relegated to obscurity and TV movies ever since.

Traci Bingham - Jordan Tate (1996-1998)

Famous for Baywatch, infamous for her relationships with North Korean ambassador Dennis Rodman, Traci Bingham remains one of the most under-rated Baywatch stars. Largely because she’s done little in the scripted realm since, largely relegated to reality TV roles and television movies. She, too posed in the Playboy’s 1998 Babes of Baywatch edition along with every name on this list barring Brooke Burns

Brooke Burns - Jesse Owens (1998 - 2001)

The most accomplished of any actress on the list, Burns’s work on Baywatch hardly defines her, as she continues to enjoy a healthy career on screen as an actress and host of countless television shows. She was married and engaged to Julian McMahon and Bruce Willis respectively.

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