Carmen Electra, the blonde bombshell who rose to fame with her saucy pictures in Playboy magazine, was born as Tara Leigh Patrick. With an exotic skin tone, azure blue eyes and an amazing figure, she always knew she was meant for stardom. Her parents were also into entertainment, so it’s no surprise that the lady chose to follow in their footsteps. She began her professional career as a dancer and singer before moving on to television. She took up her stage name Carmen Electra at the beginning of her singing career, which was meant to be quite short-lived. An opportunity to appear in an issue of Playboy magazine changed her fortunes forever. Her new found popularity as a beauty with a gorgeous figure led to offers from the highly popular television show ‘Baywatch’ in which she played the role of lifeguard Lani McKenzie. One television appearance led to another and soon she was chosen to host the game show, ‘Singled Out’ on MTV. Film offers also began to pour in and she made her big screen debut with ‘American Vampire’, followed by movies like ‘Scary movie’, ‘Dirty Love’ and ‘Epic movie’. She has also appeared in cameo roles in many television series and as a character in a video game.
Childhood & Early Life
Carmen was born to Patricia and Harry in Ohio. Her mother was a singer while her father was a guitarist-cum-entertainer. She is of mixed ancestry which explains her exotic looks.
She received her primary education from Ann Weigel Elementary School. As the daughter of entertainers, she learned dancing from an early age from Dance Artists dance studio.
She also attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati and decided to pursue a career in music.
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In 1990, she found work as a dancer at Kings Island amusement park in Ohio where she performed in the popular show ’It’s Magic’.
She moved to California in 1991 to pursue a singing career. She met the musician Prince and signed a recording contract with his Paisley Park Records. It was during this period, she adopted the stage name Carmen Electra.
Her debut album, the self-titled ‘Carmen Electra’ was released in 1993. The album flopped, marking the end of her singing career even before it began.
She began to work as a model and was offered a chance to pose for the Playboy magazine. In May 1996, her pictures appeared in the magazine.
Playboy pictures gave her considerable exposure and she was given a chance to star on the popular television series, ‘Baywatch’ as a replacement for Pamela Anderson.
She portrayed the lifeguard Lani McKenzie on ‘Baywatch’ for the 1997-98 season. She reprised the role in the reunion movie ‘Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding’ in 2003.
She made her big screen debut in 1997, as Sulka in the comedy-horror, ‘American Vampire’.
She was chosen to host the MTV game show, ‘Singled Out’ during the 1997-98 season.
She appeared again in the Playboy in June 1997. She would be featured on the magazine cover three more times in December 2000, April 2003 and January 2009.
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She acted in several movies during the late 1990s including ‘Starstruck’ (1998) and ‘The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human’ (1999).
She featured in ‘Scary Movie’ in 2000. The film was a spoof that parodied the popular horror movie franchises such as ‘Scream’, and ‘The Sixth Sense’.
She made cameo appearances in many movies over the next few years, some of the notable ones are ‘Sol Goode’ (2001), ‘Monster Island’ (2004), ‘Date Movie’ (2006), and ‘Christmas in Wonderland’ (2007).
In the 2008 movie ‘Meet the Spartans’, a film parodied on popular movies, television shows and pop cultural events, she played the role of Queen Margo. The film was a commercial hit despite receiving negative reviews from critics.
Her recent films include ‘Oy Vey! My Son is Gay!!’ (2009), ‘Mardi Gras: Spring Break’ (2011) and ‘2-Headed Shark Attack’ (2012).
She has also made several appearances on television shows, mostly in a cameo or minor roles, and has also featured in various TV advertisements.
Her claim to fame was her pictures in Playboy magazine that made the hitherto unknown model immensely popular. The beautiful woman posed for the magazine many times during her career, often appearing on the cover.
She played the busty lifeguard Lani McKenzie in the television series ‘Baywatch’. Her appearance in the drama series got her noticed by a wider audience.
Personal Life & Legacy
She was once married to basketball star Dennis Rodman. The marriage was very short lived.
Her second marriage was to guitarist Dave Navarro in 2003. The couple divorced in 2007.
She is involved with the non-profit organization, Head to Hollywood, which supports survivors of brain tumour. She also supports other charities that work for the betterment of abused children and patients of debilitating diseases.
She has produced exercise videos and equipments.
She appears as a character in the video game ‘Def Jam: Fight for New York’.
An extinct species of fly was named in her honour in 2002.