Erika Eleniak is an American actress perhaps best known for her role in Baywatch as Shauni McClain. She also starred in the films Under Siege and The Beverly Hillbillies. During the late 1970s, Eleniak's father introduced her to her future career in the movie industry when his then girlfriend got Eleniak a part to model children's clothing for TV commercials. Her first acting role was in the 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial as the girl kissed by Elliott in the classroom scene.
Eleniak had several roles in television. She played Jamie Coburn in Broken Angel. In 1989 Eleniak decided that appearing in Playboy would help boost her career, and Steve Ferguson put her in contact with a Playboy photographer. Playboy featured her on two covers and later as the centerfold in the July 1989 issue.
After an audition and three call backs, Eleniak won a role in Baywatch as Shauni McClain. Eleniak was the lead female character for three seasons (1989-1992) until she left the series after the second episode of Season 3. She also played the high-school girlfriend of Jesse (John Stamos) in a November 1990 episode of Full House.
In 1992, Eleniak returned to film acting, playing Jordan Tate, a Playboy Playmate hired to do a striptease for the captain of the U.S. Navy battleship, USS Missouri, in Under Siege. In the film, she is described as Jordan Tate, Miss July 1989which is the month that Eleniak was Playmate of the Month. She plays a character that is supposed to be purely decorative but is actually intelligent, brave, and resourceful.
She attempted to capitalize on this success by starring as Elly May Clampett in the screen adaptation of The Beverly Hillbillies in 1993, but the film did not do so well at the box office. The next year she starred in the Dennis Hopper directed romantic comedy Chasers. William McNamara, one of her costars in this film, also became her partner in life. Eleniak went on to shoot another movie with McNamara, Girl in the Cadillac (1995). Eleniak also starred in an interactive game during 1995; she played identical twins in the 1995 film Panic in the Park. She continued to make more independent films including A Pyromaniac's Love Story (1995). Bordello of Blood (1996) and Ed Bain's 87th Precinct: Heatwave (1997). Eleniak has starred in a host of films, including The Pandora Project (1998) with Daniel Baldwin, One Hot Summer Night (1998) with Barry Bostwick. Final Voyage (1999) with Ice-T, Stealth Fighter (1999), The Opponent (2000), Vegas, City of Dreams (2001) with Angelica Bridges, Second To Die (2002), Snowbound (2001), Betrayal (2003) and Shakedown (2002).
In 2010, Erika appeared on the TV series CSI: Miami as Claire Peterson and on Desperate Housewives as Barbara Fine.