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From Playboy star to “serene matriarch”


“It’s entirely likely that there isn’t one boring thing about Pamela Anderson,” says Julie Burchill in The Spectator. She was born in a Canadian fishing village to teenage parents – a chimney sweep and a waitress – who she describes as “the local Bonnie and Clyde” in her new memoir, Love, Pamela. Her grandmother “drank sherry for breakfast” and her mother “was so poor she used soup cans to curl her beautiful blonde hair”. Anderson was first scouted as a model when a roving camera at a sports event put her face on a giant screen. The day she discovered her fiancé was cheating on her, she got a call from Playboy inviting her to Los Angeles.

“Big things continued to happen to her by accident.” Anderson won her role in Baywatch because she went along to an audition to keep her actor boyfriend company. Then came her marriage to Tommy Lee, the pair’s notorious sex tape, and, later down the line, political crusades for Julian Assange and the animal rights charity Peta. “She learnt how to speak French, eat an artichoke and become a woman of the world.” Now Anderson is a “serene matriarch”, back living in the home she grew up in, with her parents in a house round the corner. “At last this fascinating woman can be judged as the sum of her parts rather than just as some of her parts.”