Born in Glendale, California, Erika Eleniak is the eldest
daughter in her family of four girls and one boy whose parents
divorced. During the late 1970s, Eleniak's father introduced her
to her future career in the movie industry when his then
girlfriend got Eleniak a part to model children's clothing for
TV commercials. Her first role was in the world wide hit film
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)—as the girl kissed by Elliott.
In high school her life took a turn for the worse, as she plunged into a world of drugs and alcohol. Her redemption came in the form of Steve Ferguson, a young charismatic crippled man who became Erika's guiding light. He introduced her to Alcoholics Anonymous in 1988, and helped her through her detoxification
Erika Eleniak went on to have several small roles in television. She played Stephanie Curtis, Scott Baio's on-screen girlfriend in Charles in Charge (1984) (and was also his off-screen girlfriend) and Jamie Coburn in Broken Angel (1988) (TV). In 1989 Erika decided that appearing in Playboy would help boost her career, and Steve helped her realize that dream when he contacted a Playboy photographer. Playboy featured her on two covers and later as the centerfold in the July 1989 issue.
Later that year she won a role in Baywatch (1989) as Shauni McClain. Erika was the lead female character for three seasons until Pamela Anderson replaced her in 1992. While working on the series, Erika became involved with co-star Billy Warlock, a former soap opera star. Neither were single, but their friendship slowly changed into love (he was the reason why Erika ended up leaving the show after only two seasons). The relationship didn't last due to Billy's jealous nature - he later confessed in an interview, "I can't bear anyone else to see her body."
Erika Eleniak return to films was a memorable one. In 1992 she played Jordan Tate, a Playboy Playmate hired to do a striptease for the captain of a U.S. Navy ship, in Under Siege (1992) with Steven Seagal, a film that was one of that year's biggest hits. She attempted to capitalize on this success by starring as Ellie May in the screen adaptation of The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), but the film flopped. She then starred in the Dennis Hopper-directed romantic comedy Chasers (1994). William McNamara, her partner in this film, also became her partner in life. Erika went on to shoot another movie with William, Girl in the Cadillac (1995). The two seemed very happy together, and were engaged, but never married. Erika also tried her hand at making an interactive game during 1995. In Panic in the Park (1995) she played identical twins, but the game never really took off. She continued to make more independent films including A Pyromaniac's Love Story (1995), Bordello of Blood (1996) and Ed McBain's 87th Precinct: Heatwave (1997) (TV). In 1997 she met her future husband, Philip Goglia. They were wed on May 22, 1998, and she carried his name during their brief marriage, Erika Eleniak-Goglia. They resided together in Marina del Rey, California, until their divorce. Since then Erika has kept herself busy by starring in a host of films. These include The Pandora Project (1998) with Daniel Baldwin, Final Voyage (1999) with Ice-T, Stealth Fighter (1999) also with Ice-T, The Opponent (2000), Vegas, City of Dreams (2001) with Angelica Bridges, Second to Die (2002), Snowbound (2001), Betrayal (2003) and Shakedown (2002). After filming Snowbound Erika was so enthralled by the city of Calgary, Alberta that she purchased a home and currently lives there.
Erika still continues to act. She appeared as one of the cast members of the reality television series The Real Gilligan's Island for its second season which started in June 2005.
Erika Eleniak is an official contestant on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club, where overweight celebrities lose weight in a televised competition. Production and shooting of this show will begin in the summer of 2006. She was previously underweight due to an eating disorder and was once hospitalized because of laxative abuse.
Appearances in Playboy special editions
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