Kim Basinger

Published December 2nd, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Date of Birth: December 8, 1953 

Place of Birth: Athens, Ga., USA 

Sign: Sun in Sagittarius, Moon in Capricorn 

Relations: Father: Don (loan company manager); mother: Ann (model); siblings: Mick, Skip, Ashley, Barbara; ex-husband: Ron Britton (makeup artist); ex-companion: Prince; husband: Alec Baldwin; daughter: Ireland Eliesse  

Education: University of Georgia 


 

JUST LIKE MANY of her model peers, Kim Basinger decided to jump into the world of acting after a good, but not great, modeling career. 

One difference is that Kim made it. 

A middle child with two older brothers and two younger sisters, Basinger was born and raised in Athens, Georgia. Both of her parents came from entertainment backgrounds: dad studied at Chicago's American Conservatory of Music and spent a few years playing big-band jazz before marrying Basinger's mother, a champion swimmer and model who performed water ballet in several Esther Williams movies. Though as a toddler she told her father she was going to be a great actress when she grew up, Basinger was extremely shy as a child — so much so that her parents once had her tested to see if she was autistic. Eventually, she followed in her mother's footsteps, becoming a diver, dancer, and gymnast in high school. She was just 16 when she entered the Athens Junior Miss contest, and sang her way to the tiara with a number from My Fair Lady, "Wouldn't It Be Loverly." From there, she went on to win the Junior Miss Georgia title, and traveled to New York to compete in the national Junior Miss pageant. While there, she met fashion modeling magnate Eileen Ford, who on the spot offered the blue-eyed blonde with the bee-stung lips a contract with her renowned Ford Modeling Agency. Though she initially declined Ford's offer, hoping to pursue a career either in singing or acting, the young beauty queen had a change of heart when she got back home to Georgia, and promptly returned to New York.  

Moving to the Big Apple was a big switch for the small-town Georgia girl, and Basinger never grew more than just barely tolerant of the city and the social circle she joined there. She later recalled of her peers: "[They] put on makeup like great painters. They were very cool, they spoke other languages. I guess I was intimidated. I never felt like one of them." Though she may have fancied herself a social misfit, Basinger proved quite adept in terms of her new career. Throughout the early '70s, she appeared on dozens of magazine covers and in hundreds of ads, most notably as the Breck shampoo girl. She never abandoned her dreams of performing, and made time in her busy schedule for acting classes at the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse and open-mike-night performances in various Greenwich Village clubs, where she sang under the stage name "Chelsea." Weary of modeling and fearing that her acting ambitions were slowly slipping away, Basinger moved to Los Angeles in 1976, looking for a fresh start.  

After spending her first six months in the city living at a motel overlooking the Hollywood Freeway, Basinger broke into television doing episodes of such hit series as Charlie's Angels and The Six Million Dollar Man. She nailed down her first series role in 1977, as one-half of a male-female LAPD patrol team in the speedily-canceled cop drama Cat and Dog. Her unaffected portrayal of a fallen beauty queen in NBC's Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold won her the female lead in the network's 1980 remake of the screen classic From Here to Eternity, and just one year later she made her feature-film debut in Hard Country. Convinced that she needed to heighten her public profile, Basinger took it all off for an eight-page Playboy layout in 1983. Though her Playboy pics doubtless had the desired effect of raising eyebrows around Hollywood, 1983 would also prove a breakthrough film year for the unabashed actress: she held her own opposite Sean Connery as Bond girl Domino in Never Say Never Again; and romped with Burt Reynolds in the Blake Edwards remake of Frantois Truffaut's The Man Who Loved Women.  

Suddenly a hot property, Basinger shared the screen with fellow sex symbol Robert Redford in 1984's The Natural, and blew the lid off the box office in 1986 with a fearless performance opposite Mickey Rourke in director Adrian Lyne's sex-drenched relationship drama ,9 1/2 Weeks. The latter film was roundly reviled in the national press, but its sky-high ticket receipts established Basinger's status as a highly bankable star. Shortly thereafter, her marriage to makeup artist Ron Britton, whom she'd met during filming on her first movie, fell apart, and by the time she arrived on the set of 1989's Batman as an eleventh-hour replacement for Sean Young, Basinger had struck up a casual relationship with diminutive rock god Prince. As Vicki Vale, the photojournalist who becomes the object of desire of both Michael Keaton’s Caped Crusader and Jack Nicholson’s Joker, Basinger reached a career pinnacle that marked the beginning of a long dry season: seven straight cinematic flops followed the mind-boggling financial success of Batman.  

Also in 1989, Basinger headed up an investment group that purchased the tiny burg of Braselton, in her native Georgia, for $20 million. Just four years later, Basinger filed for bankruptcy after a judge ordered her to pay Main Line Pictures $8.1 million for backing out of a verbal commitment to star in Boxing Helena. Though she eventually appealed that ruling and reached an out-of-court settlement with Main Line, Basinger was forced to sell her interest in Braselton for just $1 million; court documents revealed that her monthly expenses at the time of her bankruptcy filing totaled $43,100, including $6,100 for clothing and $7,000 for "pet care and other personal expenses." On the heels of all the bad tidings, Basinger rebounded in 1994, with a high-profile marriage to actor Alec Baldwin, who had assiduously wooed her for three long years after first striking up a relationship with her on the set of 1991's The Marrying Man.  

The couple welcomed a baby girl into the world in 1995; Baldwin marked the happy event by flattening a photographer who attempted to snap a few shots of little Ireland Eliesse as her parents brought her home from the hospital. After taking a couple of years off to stay at home with her newborn child and devote her energies to animal rights issues, Basinger put all of her troubles behind her by upstaging such heavyweights as Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito with her luminous, Oscar-winning performance in 1997's highly regarded noir smash LA Confidential. After a three-year hiatus, Basinger returned to the screen in the starring vehicle I Dreamed of Africa, which recounts the true story of a woman who transplanted her family from Venice, Italy, to a secluded rural Kenyan ranch.  


 

Movies: 

2000 Bless The Child 

2000 I Dreamed of Africa 

1997 LA Confidential 

1994 The Getaway 

1994 Ready to Wear (prêt-à-porter) 

1994 A Century of Cinema 

1993 Wayne’s World 2 

1993 The Real McCoy 

1992 Final Analysis 

1992 Cool World 

1991 The Marrying Man 

1989 Breaking In 

1989 Batman 

1988 My Stepmother is an Alien 

1987 Nadine 

1987 Blind Date 

1986 9 ½ Weeks 

1986 No Mercy 

1985 Fool for Love 

1984 The Natural 

1983 Never Say Never Again 

1982 The Man Who Loved Women 

1982 Mother Lode 

1981 Hard Country 


 

TV: 


 

1992 Dangerous Game of Fame  

1991 MTV's 10th Anniversary Special  

1981 Killjoy  

1979 From Here to Eternity  

1978 Vegas  

1978 The Ghost of Flight 401  

1978 Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold  

1977 The Six-Million Dollar Man  

1977 McMillan  

1977 Dog and Cat 

1976 Charlie's Angels  


 

Commercials: 

1969 Breck Shampoo  

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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