Yasmine Amanda Bleeth (born June 14, 1968) is an American actress, best known for her role as Caroline Holden in the long-running series Baywatch.
Early life and career:
Bleeth was born in New York City, the daughter of Carina, a model, and Philip Bleeth, a business proprietor. She is of Russian, German, French and Algerian descent. Her earliest known acting role was in a Johnson & Johnson's No More Tears baby shampoo television commercial at age 10 months at the end of 1968 or the beginning of 1969. She once said: "I did my first commercial when I was 10 months old, and I've been in the business ever since." At the age of six, she appeared on Candid Camera. Later that year she appeared in a Max Factor cosmetic advertising campaign with model Cristina Ferrare. Her work in this campaign caught the eye of fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo, who subsequently included her and her mother in his book entitled Scavullo Women.
Total Film magazine quoted Bleeth stating: "When I was a girl I used to have to force boys to kiss me. My toughest friend had to hold them down." She has also stated that she was popular with the boys, and that female classmates had beat her up as a result.
Bleeth starred in her first movie in 1980 at the age of 12. She was cast opposite Buddy Hackett in the feature film Hey Babe!. By the time she graduated from high school, she had had already been working on the soap opera Ryan's Hope since the age of 16. In 1991, she created the role of Lee Anne Demerest on the highly acclaimed soap opera One Life to Live.
When Bleeth was 20, her mother, Carina Bleeth, died from inflammatory breast cancer at the age of 47. Bleeth said that she never accepted the fact that her mother was dying until she took her last breath.
Bleeth's role on Baywatch brought her widespread attention. People named her one of magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 1995. She would be one of FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World every year from 1996–2001, and FHM's U.S. 100 Sexiest Women every year from 2000–03. As a result of her role in Baywatch, Bleeth was offered other roles in television and film. She has been a featured actress in five series and has guest-starred in other shows. During her television career, she continued to work as a model, frequently appearing in swimwear or lingerie.
She has never appeared nude despite many offers. Bleeth was asked by a fan: "Why have you turned down repeated offers to pose for Playboy?". She replied: "I'm not interested in Playboy. I'm a fashion maven, and I love people to see me with my clothes on." She once had her own line of swimwear called Yaz Wear.
Bleeth accepted a starring role in the short-lived series Titans in 2000. Aaron Spelling was so eager to cast Bleeth in the role of a vixen on Titans that his company convinced CBS to grant her an early release from her Nash Bridges contract. In an interview with Dennis Hensley, she said she delighted in her over-the-top depiction of a crazed beauty queen in the 1997 TV movie Crowned and Dangerous. She said, "I keep my crown from that film on my desk in a little Lucite box. My little brother tried it on once, and I screamed at him, 'Take it off! Take it off!' I get a little nasty about my crown."
Bleeth met her future husband, strip club owner Paul Cerrito, at the Promises clinic during her first stay there. Bleeth would later comment, "They say you shouldn't get into any relationship in the first year of sobriety — especially with someone in the program, but Paul and I fell in love immediately." They were married in Santa Barbara, California on August 25, 2002 and now live in Birmingham, Michigan. Cerrito runs Jon Jon's Cabaret, a strip joint, in nearby Warren. Bleeth was number 2 most searched on Yahoo Search on May 4, 2009.
Bleeth was the 1998 spokesperson for the Lee National Denim Day fundraising campaign, which raises millions of dollars for breast cancer research and education. In 1998 it occurred on October 9, and was called the 'Wear Jeans to Work' campaign. Through Bleeth's help, $5 million was raised on that one day to help the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Her primary message to women was to pay attention to their bodies; Her mother was initially misdiagnosed by a doctor who thought that she was going through early menopause.
Bleeth donated the proceeds of her $10,000 win on Celebrity Jeopardy! to breast cancer research. Bleeth has been a spokesperson for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation who, along with corporate sponsor Ford, put together the nationally run Race for the Cure.
Cocaine addiction and arrest:
In December 2000, Bleeth voluntarily entered the Malibu-based Promises rehabilitation clinic to overcome a cocaine addiction. On September 12, 2001, Bleeth was arrested in Michigan after her car pulled off the highway and wound up on a median. No other cars were involved. The car accident occurred on Interstate 94 near Detroit as she and her future husband, Paul Cerrito, were heading to Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
Police found four syringes with an injectable form of cocaine in them and a small plastic bag with cocaine residue on it. The next day police conducted a search of her hotel room, and they found more cocaine and drug paraphernalia. In November 2001, through a plea bargain, Bleeth pleaded guilty to possessing less than 25 grams of cocaine and to driving while impaired. She was sentenced in January 2002 to two years of probation and 100 hours of community service. Bleeth's lawyer, Jerry Sabbota, stated that the actress was satisfied with the plea bargain, noting that her record will be cleared of any felonies after she fulfills the terms of her probation. "When all is said and done she'll have a traffic ticket on her record. She wasn't treated any better than anyone else, and she wasn't treated any worse," Sabbota said. Her attorney stated that Bleeth was receiving therapy from the founder of the Promises rehabilitation clinic. Bleeth completely fulfilled the terms of her probation as of January 2004, and her record was cleared as previously determined by the plea bargain.
In an issue of Glamour from April 2003, Bleeth wrote a three page article entitled "Back From my Drugs Hell" about her rocky path to recovery, her cocaine addiction, and her struggle to remain sober.
Bleeth wrote that her cocaine habit was so severe that she collapsed at a photo shoot for Glamour, and she went without sleep for five days at a time. She wrote that "consciously trying to stay off drugs is now part of my life and always will be."
Commenting on her cocaine addiction, Bleeth said, "It was almost like falling in love... It became my boyfriend, my best friend, my family."