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WITH AN EYE ON . . . : Life's a big beach for Pamela Anderson of 'Baywatch' fame

July 17, 1994|N.F. MENDOZA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In a coastal dreamland of sunny skies and clear-blue water, bathing-suit clad beauties--male and female--cavort on the sand and save victims from the nasty surf. But even in this paradise of beautiful people, a lot of eyes alight on "Baywatch's" blond Canadian, Pamela Anderson.

"She is, of course, this big gorgeous attraction," acknowledges co-producer Craig Kwasizur. "She's the girl next door, with beauty and innocence. Really, the Beach Boys' song ('California Girls') says it all about Pamela."

And, as Kwasizur wryly notes: "She sure brings a good male presence to the show."

The woman who sets hearts aflutter in the 110 countries where the show is seen remains decidedly single, despite tabloid rumors to the contrary.

"Argh!" Anderson declares from a hotel room in San Diego, where she's shooting the "Mike Hammer" CBS television movie "Deader Than Ever" with Rob Estes. "All that 'Bad Girl of "Baywatch" ' stuff! I don't have a boyfriend," she says emphatically. "The most important person in my life right now is Star," her golden retriever.

She and Star share a Malibu beach house, from which Anderson says she has to be dragged out by friends.

"I'm a real stay-at-home," she insists, pointing out that being on a high-profile show doesn't make for much of a social life. "My girlfriends who aren't actresses date way more than I do," she says, adding that what she really wants is to get married and have a family.

For now, though, she has a lot on her mind. "I'm very much into meditation and mythology. I write fairy tales and poetry. I have a lot of fantasy in my head and it's important to me."

Her mystical musings--and those of her "Baywatch" character, C.J.--aren't the result of any California New Age.

But what about C.J.'s flower-child ways? "They got that from me," she says. "My incense and candles and meditating are from my grandfather, who was from Finland." Even though he died when she was 11, she still practices his teachings, including self-healing, and she religiously keeps a dream diary.

Born in Comox, British Columbia, Anderson treaded a short path to Hollywood. After her image was projected on a giant scoreboard screen at a Canadian football game in 1989, she became a spokesmodel for a beer company.

Next up was the first of her four Playboy covers, which took her to L.A. Her mother initially encouraged her to pose. "She said, 'Do it. It's compliment!' " Anderson recalls. "Playboy is such a professional organization. You don't feel like you're naked. You just feel like you're taking beautiful artistic photos. I'd done lots of swimsuit modeling and it's not that much different."

Modeling led to ABC's "Home Improvement," where she was the "Tool Time" girl. But after the hectic '92-'93 season of doing both shows, she decided to focus on "Baywatch," which shoots one show in four days. "We have two units going simultaneously," explains Anderson, who's now beginning her third season with "Baywatch." "We're always working."

Anderson's managed to squeeze in two movies into her busy schedule, "Good Cop, Bad Cop," which was shot in spring '93, and "Snapdragon," which was shot in winter '93 and airs on USA Friday.

Earlier this summer, she ventured to Tahiti to host the syndicated "Eden Quest," where she swam with sharks. "There was all kinds of great animal life, but one person got his nipple bit off by a fish who thought it was food, so I didn't go into the water after that!"

Last month, however, she hopped right back into "Baywatch's" eternal California surf, where an international audience is anxiously waiting for her to emerge during the show's fifth season this fall.

"Baywatch" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 p.m. on KCOP. "Snapdragon" airs Friday at 9 p.m. on USA Network.

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