Why Didn’t Pam Anderson Become An Action Star? From “Baywatch” To “Barb Wire” And Then…Nothing! Here’s The Story!

“I am the ultimate California girl, which is funny, being that I’m Canadian!”

With that, let’s dive into the career of Pam Anderson – a superstar who was poised to be the next “empowered female action star”!

My “2021 Sex Kitten Countdown” looks at the careers of some of our favorite Cult Movie Queens…as I was researching Pamela Anderson, I started thinking: why didn’t she continue making bigger, more mainstream action films?

Let’s take a look:

Pamela Denise Anderson was born on July 1, 1967 in British Columbia, Canada.

Pamela was an acrobat and gymnast growing up, and her first job was as a Waitress.

She was “discovered” at a British Columbia Lions football game, and began to model for a variety of local products before Playboy beckoned.

The rest is history!

She made the cover of Playboy in October 1989, and the world got their first look at this “star in the making!”

Her success had Hollywood calling, and within a year she was showing up all over TV!

She appeared on a variety of TV shows in small roles before fame called. In 1991, she got her big break as Lisa, the Tool Time Girl, on “Home Improvement.”

Soon after, Pam got the role of C.J. Parker on the iconic hit show “Baywatch!”

As she said at the time:

“I am the ultimate California girl, which is funny, being that I’m Canadian!”

So far, so good…two hugely successful TV shows, and more covers and photo shoots with Playboy as well:

It was time for Pam to get into movies!

She ended up with more than 50 screen credits…but after running on the beach on TV, it was time to kick some cinematic ass!

“Raw Justice” was her action film debut in 1994…check out this classic trailer:

This has a “direct to VHS” feel to it, the kind of movie you’d see late night on Showtime or Cinemax…nothing at all wrong with that!

It was around this time that Pam married Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee in Cancun, Mexico.

Her biggest action film was next!

My “Barb Wire” Interview With Pam!

I met Pam at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival. I was producing “Wild On The Riviera” for E!, and we were alerted to a press event with Pam. Here’s how she remembers that day:

“This is before we shot one frame of film. It was so out of control. Boats were running into each other and people were falling off the boats with cameras. I was in complete shock!”

That media onslaught was to announce the arrival of a new fame action star!

This film was clearly designed to introduce a new, female action star along the lines of a James Bond-type series.!

Here’s the plot: during the Second American Civil War in 2017, “Barb Wire” owns a nightclub called the Hammerhead. Things become complicated when her ex-lover Axel Hood, who is married to the fugitive Corrina Devonshire, re-enters her life.

Here is the trailer:

She sure looked the part, the “Black Widow” of her time – but the film was panned, under-performed at the box office, and no more films were made…

Here’s what interested me: she was headed in the direction of action adventure, yet instead, Pamela went back to the “erotic thriller” category of the 90’s, which was filled with other Actresses in that genre already:

One great example is Actress Joan Severance – she was featured in a number of these “direct to video” dramas…see all of her credits here:

So, even though Anderson had just made “Barb Wire”, this is what came next:

“Naked Souls”

That same year, Anderson starred in this erotic thriller, playing an Artist trying to rescue her scientist boyfriend, who has switched bodies with an evil, elderly genius!

Check out the trailer:

This erotic thriller showcased an “enhanced” figure for Pam, who continued to pose for Playboy…and pose and pose and pose…

Ultimately, Pamela Anderson appeared a record 14 times on the cover of Playboy over the years!

As her TV popularity continued unabated, a sex tape emerged with Tommy Lee – one of the first ever with a celebrity, and it was hugely successful. There was always controversy over whether the couple had anything to do with its release.

She and Tommy Lee then had a child together, but ultimately they divorced.

Pamela had her breast implants removed in 1999, and ended up doing a wide variety of TV shows and movies – but her “empowered female” action roles were over.


There were many more photo shoots, and TV shows like “Stacked” for Fox, when she had her breast implants put back in – in fact, she worked steadily, but she never went back to the action genre, which is too bad…

Since 2016, Anderson has lived in Marseille in the south of France. Her 90’s erotic thrillers reminded me of another Actress who was hugely popular in that genre, and also was involved with a rocker:

Shannon Tweed had a great career in “direct to VHS” thriller in the 90’s, and ultimately married longtime companion Gene Simmons of KISS. See her most provocative roles here:

I also shared my “close encounter” with another 90’s sex kitten:

Victoria Silvstedt also had a great run of 90’s erotic films and you can see the best of them by clicking here:

And speaking of the Cannes Film Festival in the 90’s, that’s where I saw this film for the first time:

That’s right: I met Elizabeth Berkley and Director Paul Verhoeven when they showed 20 minutes of the wildness that was “Showgirls”!

Click here to see more about this epic cult film!

If you like these stories, and don’t want to miss any of my “2021 Sex Kitten Countdown” as well, then go to my website’s front page and sign on to follow me – there are NO ads at all, just lots of stories to come about the wild world of exploitation and cult films!

Click here and see the “follow” button on the upper right!


Make sure to subscribe for more of my “2021 Sex Kitten Countdown”! And let me know what you think of Pamela Anderson’s career – should she have been a bigger action star?

I want to know your thoughts!

Categories: Books / Media, Camp Cult Classics, Classic Action Films, Exploitation Films, JRsploitation, Nudity, sex kittens, Sexploitation Films, Talent / Celebrites

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10 replies

  1. Pamela Anderson (no pun intended) over exposed herself. People became tired of her. I did get a kick out V.I.P. however.


    • Yes, terrific point, but if “Barb Wire” had been a hit she may have gone down the mainstream action road instead of “direct to VHS” erotic thrillers, all cheaply done and she did indeed wear out her welcome – thanks for commenting, great to hear from you!


  2. Pam was always good to look at, but her talent as an actress is questionable, to say the least! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person


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