Yasmine Bleeth

Yasmine Bleeth

You may remember her as the brunette lifeguard on Baywatch. Well, she is now a full-fledged movie actress. Her new movie is Last Guy on Earth. It’s about a guy who, just before his wedding, gets a bonk on the head and imagines he is the… well, it’s right there in the title!

Baywatch was the second hit show for David Hasselhoff (the first was Knight Rider, about a guy with a robot car; they just reintroduced the show in 2008 and are talking about a movie version), and the show that really switched Pamela Anderson from a model to an actress.

But the new discovery on Baywatch was Yasmine, who had been a recurring cast member on the cryin’ soap Ryan’s Hope. And she did an episode of Herman’s Head with Hank Azaria. Then she came ashore on Baywatch in 1993, a huge hit and lasted for four seasons.

Since, then “Yaz,” as her friends call her, has been in two shows. She was a regular in the private-eye show Nash Bridges and starred in the nighttime drama Titans. She also showed up on Pamela Anderson’s post-Baywatch private-eye show, VIP… and in BASEketball, a very silly movie by the South Park guys (one of whom, Matt Stone, is Jewish!) about a new sport that combines, um, two other popular sports.

Yasmine’s earliest role was waaay early… she was only 10 months old when she was in a shampoo commercial! Then, at 6, she was in Candid Camera. At 12, she was in her first movie, Hey, Babe!, with the late Jewish stand-up comic Buddy Hackett. And, while still a 16-year-old high-schooler, she was already in Ryan’s Hope.

Yasmine’s father, a professional photographer, was Russian and German. Her mother, a model, was Algerian. (Algeria, where they speak French, is a country on the north coast of Africa, across the Mediterranean Sea from France and Spain.) So Yasmine went to an international school and learned both English and French.

By the way, her first name is Hebrew for "jasmine", a kind of flower (also the source for the names of the Disney princess from Aladdin and one of the Bratz). Her last name, Bleeth, is Yiddish.

Unfortunately things started to get sadder for Yasmine as he grew up. When she was 18, her parents divorced. And then, when she was 20, her mom died of breast cancer.

But even while her mom was still sick, Yasmine responded by becoming an advocate for breast cancer research. She helped a jeans company raise $5 million in one day with its “Wear Jeans to Work Day.” When she won on Celebrity Jeopardy, she donated her $10,000 prize for research, too. She also has been the spokesperson for Race for the Cure.

Although she is considered one of the most beautiful women alive, Yasmine has always worn clothes when taking photos, both as a model and actress. When E! asked her why, she used a Yiddish word for “expert” and said, “I'm a fashion maven, and I love people to see me with my clothes on!”

Bonus:

Candid Camera was a show created by Jewish producer Alan Funt. He used a hidden camera to catch regular people in pranks and stunts he’d set up. When they were totally embarrassed, Alan would step out from behind a wall or tree with a microphone and tell the poor victim, “Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!”

And guess who got his start writing some of the pranks for the show: Woody Allen!

Candid Camera’s loony legacy lives on in shows like The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, Crank Yankers, and Punk’d, as well as Howie Mandel’s hidden camera bits on the Tonight Show.

So the next time you’re sitting on a park bench and it starts talking to you… or your barber wants to give you a trim with a sword… or your substitute math teacher comes in to class wearing a chicken costume… Smile! Maybe you’re on a candid camera!

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