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WITH AN EYE ON . . . : Swimming with family: Pamela Bach-Hasselhoff relies on 'my own laurels'

July 02, 1995|N.F. MENDOZA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

So what if her husband is an internationally known star? Pamela Bach-Hasselhoff has just one thing to say: "I am woman, hear me roar!"

Bach-Hasselhoff, talking from the San Fernando Valley home she shares with her husband, "Baywatch" star David Hasselhoff, and their two young daughters, laughs heartily: "All I can say is this--behind every strong man is a stronger woman."

And Bach-Hasselhoff displays that strength in roles on two syndicated series, both seen in Los Angeles on KCOP: "Sirens," in which she plays police psychologist Ellen Baskin and, uh, "Baywatch," as journalist-turned-cafe owner Kaye Morgan.

Before you launch into a tirade about nepotism, let Bach-Hasselhoff explain. "When I got the role on 'Baywatch' [three years ago], I wasn't even going by Hasselhoff. The name is great baggage to have, but I never open it up.

"Just because he's the star and producer [doesn't mean that's how I got the job]," she says firmly. "I know inside myself that I cannot negate the fact that I know my lines, I'm always on time, I'm very professional and never pull any weight on the set. In fact, I go the opposite to make people feel more comfortable. I rely on my own laurels."

The California dream team's professionalism on the L.A.-based set helps ease any potential tensions, they believe. "We're not lovey-dovey in front of everyone," Bach-Hasselhoff says.

The actress cites numerous roles before her marriage to Hasselhoff six years ago, from a bit part in Francis Ford Coppola's movie 'Rumblefish" to TV's "Cheers."

Although KCOP will run "Sirens" through the summer, the first-season show was recently canceled. "I just found out," Bach-Hasselhoff says. She's disappointed the role has ended: "It was a great role, a strong female lead. I'm very attracted to those parts; I love playing a policewoman. But it shot up in Montreal and it was very tiring to go there and leave the kids."

The Tulsa, Okla., native got her first dose of celebrity accompanying her mother to modeling jobs. "By the time my mom was 18, she had three daughters [Bach-Hasselhoff's the middle one], but she was so beautiful, she got all these modeling gigs to support us." The siblings called mom "Aunt Claudia" when she worked. "She was just so young, people had a hard time believing we were hers."

When the equally beautiful Bach-Hasselhoff hit 14, she followed in her mother's footsteps. Print work led to commercials and New York at 18. At a petite 5 feet 5, "I worked a lot as a shoe model," she says. "You know, those small feet, and also for Dole's sweater division," she recalls. "I was on a lot of yarn labels wearing a sweater."

Then, she says, "the realistic side" came to the fore. She attended college in Tulsa for two years. "I have an old soul," she explains. A knack for math led her to engineering. "I have my AA, and I kept thinking I'd go back to school." But entertainment's draw was strong.

Moving to L.A. in 1985 to be with her father, she worked as a page at KTLA. "That was one of my funnest jobs. I think they liked my personality." She also worked as a waitress at the Improv. Eventually, she returned to acting and guest roles on series. "It's a lot easier playing a different character than talking about myself."

Now, Bach-Hasselhoff--who sighs when she says she "just turned 30 and had a really hard time with it"--begins her "scaled-up from normal life" at 5 a.m. each day. That is her "private and work-out time," she says. Her days end "where I have to hold my eyes open."

She tries to remain as active as possible with daughters Taylor-Ann, 5, and Haley Amber, 3. "Between doing two shows, mommy, wife, running the household, cheerleader and love-bunny, I really need sleep!"

She might have inherited her energy from her mother who raised 36 foster children. "She needed the extra money and loved kids," explains Bach-Hasselhoff. "My mom has a comedy act in Branson [Mo.] now. She's only 52, but plays this lady in her 90s. She's hysterical. She's my inspiration, the neatest person you'd ever meet." As for her own career, Bach-Hasselhoff is pragmatic: " 'Sirens' shot so far away from my family, it would be ideal if I could get another show in Los Angeles."

But for now, that's just fine: "My life is so fantastic! I'm just blessed."

"Baywatch" airs Sundays at 7 p.m. and "Sirens" airs Sundays at 11 p.m. on KCOP. "Baywatch" also airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on KUSI.

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