Sultry model, actress and dancer Carmen Electra was born Tara Leigh Patrick on April 20, 1972, in Sharonville, Ohio. She began studying dance at a young age and attended Cincinnati’s School for the Creative and Performing Arts. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career and caught the eye of Prince. Carmen signed with his Paisley Park record label and took his advice to change her name. She released her debut, self-titled album in 1993 and also started acting that year, doing guest appearances on TV shows.
In 1995, Carmen did her first Playboy shoot (several other pictorials and covers followed). The spread won her attention and additional roles. She did several other TV guest spots, including Baywatch Nights and Just Shoot Me!, as well as movie roles in Good Burger and An American Vampire Story, before landing a regular spot on TV’s Baywatch in 1997, replacing Pamela Anderson. The same year Carmen also replaced Playmate Jenny McCarthy on MTV’s Singled Out. Contrary to what you may have read on many websites, and as much as we love Carmen, she is not officially a Playmate.
Carmen starred in her own series on the WB, Hyperion Bay, in 1998 and began a string of movie roles, including Scary Movie, Starsky & Hutch, and Date Movie. In 2002 she returned to her dance roots, becoming part of the LA burlesque troop Pussycat Dolls. In 2003 she joined MC Hammer and Jamie King as a judge on ABC Family’s new version of Dance Fever. And in 2004 Carmen dipped into reality TV starring on MTV’s ‘Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen & Dave, which was about her marriage to guitarist Dave Navarro.
Carmen’s TV and movie spots have continued. She appeared as a guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance and Britain’s Got Talent and starred in the 2014 movie Lap Dance. Outside of acting, Carmen wrote the book “How to be Sexy” and has her own series of workout videos, including “Carmen Electra’s Aerobic Striptease.” She has been the face of MAX Factor and starred in MGM Grand Vegas’ Crazy Horse Burlesque Show. And she started the Naked Women’s Wrestling League, acting as commissioner for the professional wrestling promotion.
Carmen is also known for her off-screen romances. She was linked to Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe and Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit before marrying Dennis Rodman in 1998. That marriage was short-lived, and she married Dave Navarro in 2000. After Carmen and Dave split in 2006, she was engaged to guitarist Rob Patterson for a number of years, but the couple never married. Carmen also briefly dated Simon Cowell.