While she made her film debut in E.T. The Extraterrestrial (1982), Erika Eleniak became a TV celebrity through rather less G-rated means. An actress since her teens, California girl and 1989 Playboy Playmate Eleniak made her name as one of the babes guarding the beaches on the TV hit Baywatch in 1989. After several seasons on the show and two Baywatch TV movies, Eleniak left the series in 1992 for more work in feature films. Though she starred as Steven Seagal's impromptu helper in his well-received 1992 action hit Under Siege and as one of the upwardly mobile southern transplants in The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), Eleniak's subsequent features failed to match her box office success with Seagal. After the failure of Dennis Hopper's Last Detail (1973) re-tread Chasers (1994) and the romantic fantasy A Pyromaniac's Love Story (1995), the actress worked steadily in B-films and TV movies, playing starring roles in the horror flick Tales From the Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood (1996), TV's Heatwave (1997) and One Hot Summer Night (1998), and action movies The Pandora Project (1998) and Stealth Fighter (1999). After her marriage in 1998, Eleniak billed herself as Erika Eleniak-Goglia. Eleniak was praised for her leading performance in The Opponent (2000), a feminist drama wherein she portrays a woman who is empowered after becoming a boxer. Sadly, The Opponent seemed to mark the peak of her career. She churned out one unremarkable film after the next throughout the early and mid-2000s, and in 2006 was a contestant in the fourth season of Celebrity Fit Club.
Biography by Lucia Bozzola
- Has one brother and is the eldest of five girls in her family.
- First job was at the age of 10 in a commercial for Underoos, a line of children's underwear.
- Made her film debut in an uncredited role in E.T.
- Was Playboy's Playmate of the Month in July 1989.
- As a 2006 cast member of Celebrity Fit Club (among a group that also included Ted Lange and Tina Yothers) lost 31 pounds.
- Offered a humorous take on her time on Baywatch and Celebrity Fit Club when she took part in a 2006 podcast, 80's Movie and Music Fest Cafe.
- Played Barbara Fine on Desperate Housewives in 2010.
- Active in efforts to battle breast cancer through a Dancing With the Stars 2011 benefit.