Baywatch premiered in 1989, and the world of guilty-pleasure TV hasn’t been the same since. The series, which mixed juicy drama, exciting action and steamy romance, was well-known for featuring a bevy of gorgeous stars, and its slo-mo scenes of bouncy babes and sculpted hunks running along the sandy beaches of Southern California made the Baywatch cast iconic in the early ’90s.
Surprisingly, Baywatch wasn’t a big hit at first, lasting only one season on NBC before it became an international phenomenon with first-run syndication. The series ran for 12 years, from 1989 to 2001, and at the peak of its popularity in 1996, it was watched by around 1 billion (yes, that’s billion with a B!) viewers across 140 countries.
The show’s cast was a revolving door, with various attractive actors filing in and out of lifeguard duty over the course of 241 episodes. The most consistent presence was David Hasselhoff, who played veteran lifeguard Mitch Buchanan.
By the time the show ended, not a single member of the original cast was left, yet the red swimsuits and sexy atmosphere remain a major pop cultural reference point over 20 years after the show went off the air.
While Baywatch became synonymous with Pamela Anderson’s busty, blonde presence, the ’90s icon didn’t actually join the cast until the third season! Here’s a look back at some of the most memorable members of the original Baywatch cast through the years.
David Hasselhoff as Mitch Buchanan (1989 — 2000)
David Hasselhoff (often called “the Hoff”) was already famous when he was cast on Baywatch. He had his first major role in The Young and the Restless, playing medical student Snapper Foster on the soap from 1973 to 1982. His popularity grew in the ’80s, when he starred as the enigmatic Michael Knight in Knight Rider. The popular drama ran from 1982 to 1986.
As Mitch Buchanan, Hasselfhoff was in more episodes of Baywatch than any other actor, and he even starred in the spinoff series Baywatch Nights. The Hoff’s ubiquity in the ’80s and ’90s made him a pop culture icon, but he didn’t just act. He also embarked on a musical career, and released multiple albums. In 2000 he made his Broadway debut in the Jekyll & Hyde musical.
Now 71, Hasselhoff remains a TV staple. He’s been a judge on America’s Got Talent, competed on Dancing With the Stars and shown up as himself in shows like Just Shoot Me!, Young Sheldon and The Goldbergs. On the big screen, he’s appeared (again often as himself) in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Click, Piranha 3DD, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and multiple Sharknado movies.
Pamela Anderson as C.J. Parker (1992 — 1997)
Pamela Anderson was one of the biggest sex symbols of the ’90s. She got her big break in 1989, when she was shown on the jumbotron at a football game while wearing a Labatt’s Beer t-shirt. Her beauty gained her instant attention, and soon enough, she started appearing in ads for the beer. She then gained notoriety as a Playboy cover girl and Playmate, and appeared on more covers of the magazine than any other woman in its history.
In 1991, she joined the cast of Home Improvement, and the next year she became a Baywatch babe. Anderson was in the Baywatch cast until 1997, and remains the show’s most iconic star. Post-Baywatch, she starred in the shows V.I.P. and Stacked, made guest appearances in shows like The Nanny, Just Shoot Me! and 8 Simple Rules and appeared in movies like Scary Movie 3, Superhero Movie and Blonde and Blonder.
Now 56, the often controversial actress remains in the spotlight as an author, animal rights activist and all-around pop culture icon.
Nicole Eggert as Summer Quinn (1992 — 1994)
Nicole Eggert started out as a child actress. In 1985, she appeared in Who’s the Boss?, playing a friend of Alyssa Milano’s character. Starting in 1987, she starred in the sitcom Charles in Charge and became a teen icon. Shortly after that show wrapped in 1990, she joined the cast of Baywatch in season three.
After leaving Baywatch in 1994, Eggert acted in a variety of TV movies and made appearances in shows including Married… With Children, Boy Meets World and Gilmore Girls. Now 51, she hasn’t acted since 2019 and currently hosts a podcast.
Yasmine Bleeth as Caroline Holden (1993 — 1997)
Before she joined the cast of Baywatch, Yasmine Bleeth was a soap opera star, with roles in Ryan’s Hope and One Life to Live. Following her Baywatch departure in 1997, she acted in Nash Bridges alongside Don Johnson for two seasons. She then starred in the primetime soap Titans in 2000, but it was cancelled in its first season. She also appeared in movies like BASEketball and Coming Soon.
Sadly, Bleeth struggled with drug addiction in the early ’00s, and today, at 55, she keeps a low profile and no longer acts.
Alexandra Paul as Stephanie Holden (1992 — 1997)
Alexandra Paul worked as a model and acted in movies like Christine and 8 Million Ways to Die before becoming a Baywatch beauty in 1992. Post-Baywatch, she joined the cast of Melrose Place‘s seventh season. She then became a prolific star of Lifetime movies, and has appeared in 15 of the channel’s productions since 1999.
Today, at 60, Paul still acts, and has long been an activist for animal rights and political causes. She also works as a wellness coach.
Erika Eleniak as Shauni McClain (1989 — 1992)
Erika Eleniak began her three-year stint on Baywatch during the first season. She eventually left the beach for a film career, appearing in Under Siege and The Beverly Hillbillies following her exit. Eleniak started acting with a bit part in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial as a pre-teen, and showed up in Silver Spoons and Charles in Charge prior to Baywatch. She also was Playboy‘s Miss July in 1989.
Now 54, Eleniak has acted in a variety of low-budget movies in recent years, and she currently works as an acting teacher, as well as pursuing an education in spirituality.
Billy Warlock as Eddie Kramer (1989 — 1992)
Billy Warlock started out with a small role in the horror sequel Halloween II. In 1982, he joined the cast of Happy Days for the show’s ninth season. The same year as his Baywatch debut, he starred in the cult-favorite horror movie Society.
Warlock would stay on Baywatch for three seasons. He also became a prolific soap opera star from the ’80s to the ’00s, with recurring roles in Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, The Young and the Restless, As The World Turns and One Life to Live.
Now 62, Warlock hasn’t acted since 2011, and left the entertainment world to help run a kids’ ski school in Colorado. Reflecting back on his days as a TV lifeguard, Warlock said that while he always enjoyed working on the show, “It seemed if I stayed too long, I’d be known as Billy Baywatch… In my career, things were starting to take off and I thought maybe it was time to get out there and spread my wings.”
Gregory Alan Williams as Officer Garner Ellerbee (1989 — 1998)
Playing LAPD Officer Garner Ellerbee, Gregory Alan Williams was a staple of the Baywatch cast from the show’s debut to 1998. Williams served in the United States Marine Corps before pursuing his acting career, making his feature film debut in the 1988 movie Above the Law opposite Steven Seagal. Since Baywatch ended, he’s continued to act steadily, with credits in shows like The Sopranos, The West Wing, Chicago Med and movies like Remember the Titans and Old School.
Now 67, Williams is still staying busy on the small screen, and can currently be seen in the satirical comedy series The Righteous Gemstones. He’s also written four books and directed four feature films.
Parker Stevenson as Craig Pomeroy (1989 — 1999)
Parker Stevenson was already well-known before he was cast in Baywatch. In the ’70s, he rose to fame playing Frank Hardy in the Hardy Boys TV series. He also appeared in movies like A Separate Peace, Lifeguard and Stroker Ace.
While Stevenson left Baywatch after the first season, he returned in seasons eight and nine. He can also be seen in shows like Judging Amy, Bull and Melrose Place. Now 71, Stevenson most recently starred in the popular Netflix series Greenhouse Academy. Outside of acting, he also works as a photographer.
Monte Markham as Don Thorpe (1989 — 1992)
Before he was senior lifeguard Captain Don Thorpe on Baywatch, Monte Markham already had decades of acting experience. He appeared on Broadway, acted in movies like Guns of the Magnificent Seven and Airport ’77 and was a TV fixture starting from ’60s onward. His many TV credits include The Six Million Dollar Man, Dallas, The Golden Girls, Murder She Wrote and more.
In the ’90s, Markham began producing, directing and narrating TV documentaries for the History Channel, including Masters of War and The Great Ships. Now 88, Markham is still keeping busy, most recently appearing in the film Silent Life: The Story of the Lady in Black and providing voiceover work for the video game Starfield.
Holly Gagnier as Gina Pomeroy (1989 — 1990)
Holly Gagnier only spent one season on the Southern California beaches in Baywatch. Prior to that, she was a seasoned soap opera star, with stints on One Life to Live and Days Of Our Lives. After hanging up her red bathing suit, she had many TV appearances, showing up on Crossing Jordan, ER, House, Scandal and more.
Now 64, Gagnier works as acting coach, and was most recently seen returning to her daytime TV roots on General Hospital in 2022.
Find even more ’90s TV icons below!