Erika Eleniak, a unique star
Erika is still waiting for her prince charming.
At 12, she was already famous for her role in a TV advertisement and her for part in "ET". During adolescence, she plunged into drugs and alcohol.
A living Hell which she escaped by falling in love with a paraplegic athlete and later, her relationship with Billy Warlock, her partner in "BayWatch", who she hoped to marry. Today, after a period of passing love affairs, the beautiful Erika is still waiting for her prince charming...
"I have had a very complicated life", says Erika Eleniak.
This striking blonde was one of the first beach beauties in the series "BayWatch". She was chosen from among hundreds of girls for her sense of humor."She is so funny", admits David Hasselhoff... Funny and very sexy. Before the striking Pamela Anderson, Erika was the foremost sex symbol on the team. She was also the one receiving the most mail. One fan wrote: "I would happily risk drowning if I knew you would save me." The still young life of Erika could help any scriptwriter low on inspiration.
It all began on September 29, 1969 in Glendale, a small suburb of Los Angeles where she spent the first 10 years of her life. she got her name from her Ukrainian great grand-father who emigrated to the United States. She did not have a typical family life. As a child she felt rejected, when her parents got divorced very quickly.
"At the time", sighs Erika, "I felt completely abandoned."
She owes her career to her father. Work replaced affection. "My dad, who came from his native Canada with the dream of becoming an actor in Hollywood, did not succeed. He pushed me into that life. At the time, he was going out with a lady working in film production, who put me on the path to being an actress, which made my mother furious. My parents started arguing again. I made my mother understand that the idea was not really that bad and finally, she let me go to auditions."
At 10, the petite blonde became a TV star by modelling for a make of children's clothes. As an adolescent she moved on to doing advertisements for shampoos and motorcycles.Then, released too young in an artificial world, alone, without any safeguards, Erika Eleniak plunged into drugs and alcohol.
"It was like a descent into Hell. Each day I was falling even deeper, like free-falling into a bottomless pit, without anything to hold me back. The people that I hung around with, especially my boyfriend, were into the same vices as myself. How would I get out of this mess? I had many horrible experiences."
Salvation came by chance on a Santa Monica beach. She was only 17 when she got to know Steve Ferguson. "He was so cute that I could not help myself and had to tell him. He was lying on the beach and I approached him, laughing, and said to him : "You are cutest man on the beach today!" At that age I was unbearable! He smiled at me without answering. At the end of the day, I saw him again, in a wheelchair. I ran up to him to ask "Maybe we can see each other again?" and he let me have his phone number."
Steve has been paralyzed for seven years. As an athlete and swimming champion, he fractured his back during a dive which left him paralysed. "He was 23 and when we started going out together and he promised me that my life would change." And god knows, it did change! He who has real problems made me understand that mine were insignificant and certainly not impossible to overcome.
He signed me up to Alcoholics anonymous and helped me through my detoxification. He was my savior. Life with him was exhilarating : he participated in boat races, drove his minibus, and was always on the move. If there is anyone for whom I have respect , it is him."
"Steve has become... my step brother."
One day Steve made an unusual proposal to Erika: "My dad lives alone, so does your mother. Why don't we introduce them to one another?" Thus a dinner with the in-laws in organized and it is love at first sight. Meanwhile Erika and Steve move in together, but quickly start to argue. Yet, instead of returning to live with her mother, Erika decides to move in with Steve's mother.
"I admit it was an odd idea. All we did was talk about Steve. At a glance I could see Steve's room, with his favorite tree in the garden. Not only did i have a broken heart, but my mother was not pleased that I went to live with the former wife of the man she loved. It was as if I was living out a TV soap opera."
The situation became even more complicated when Robert (Steve's father) and Erika's mother got married. "Which made Robert my step-father and Steve my step-brother. Strangely, this brought us closer together and I discovered how much I loved Steve. Thus I moved back in with Steve and there was even talk of marriage which would have brought both families even closer."
But Erika never married Steve.
While working on the the "BayWatch" series, Erika meets the attractive Billy Warlock, former husband of Marcy Walker. Neither of them is single, But their friendship will slowly change into love. He is the reason why Erika will end up leaving the show only after two seasons. Billy was called to another production and his fiance wanted to remain free to follow him around. Never the less, it was not long before the movie industry called her. What more logical choice when you were in the most watched movie in history: "ET" in which she gives her first kiss to Elliot (Henry Thomas) who was only 11.
"I was 12 and I was very exited, and I will always have fond memories of that scene."
Erika confides that she learnt how to kiss by watching her favorite TV show. "I saw the two heroes exchange a long and passionate kiss which seemed to have quite an effect on them. I said to myself that I would have to try this out myself. Thus, I asked a friend to let me try out this experiment on him. He had absolutely no objections!"
Her return to the movie scene was just as shattering. In 1992, she came to public notice in the movie "Under Siege" with Steven Segal. The film was a huge success. "We filmed on a real warship anchored in the bay of Mobile, Alabama. There were 6 decks between the bridge and the kitchens. It was a real labyrinth. I lost count of the number of times that I got lost!"
She can be seen again in "Chasers", with a scene that seems to have made an impression on most of the masculine population of the United States. "I was naked to the waist" admits Erika frankly. "These types of scenes are always hard to film, but William was sensational." William McNamara, her partner in this film, was also in her life. Her relationship with Billy Warlock, which was considered solid, fizzled out, without anyone really knowing why. Since then, Erika Eleniak leads the single life, as if she is avoiding being hurt again.
"I go out a lot with many different friends, but there isn't one that i would want to marry. Yet, I would like to get married. I can easily imagine myself living on a ranch in Montana with a family." In the meantime, while she awaits her prince charming, Erika is filming. Her next movie is entitled: "A pyromaniac's love story". (A love story involving a pyromaniac).
"It is an absurd title", she admits, "but it is a wonderful American comedy; just the sort I like. I love to recall the golden age of comedy when they were made the way Frank Capra filmed them. My all-time favorite is 'It's a wonderful life'. I really envy Donna Reed for having been James Stewart's partner in this movie."
Without doubt, with this story about a pyromaniacs obsessions, Erika Eleniak will once again inflame the masculine population.
Translation by Cristophe Vallee, Yianni Koukoutsis, Marc Philips and Christian Vinaa
Translation of french article found by Grunthos.