One of life's easier chores is interviewing Brooke Burns. She's quick, bright and has an interesting life to talk about -- ranging from ballet and "Baywatch" to her current duties hosting "The Chase" on the Game Show Network. Here's the story I sent to papers:
By MIKE HUGHES
Brooke Burns may be
one of the luckiest – and unluckiest – people on Planet Earth.
The luck is obvious
in her busy existence. “I've always lived life full-speed-ahead,”
she said. “I've been wing-walking; I've swum with the sharks.”
She has the look
that got her all the right jobs early – modeling in Europe and
acting on TV, including two series filmed in Hawaii. Barely out of
her teens, she was tooling around the island in a BMW.
But she also has a
quick mind that works well for hosting. “The Chase” -- a brainy
game that's one of the top ratings-getters on the Game Show Network –
has just started a new season.
Then what about the
bad luck? Take your pick:
-- A skiing accident
ended her ballet dreams. “I was devastated,” she said. “All I
wanted was to dance.”
diving accident almost ended her life. Quick thinking by a friend –
floating her in the pool, with her neck supported, until the
ambulance arrived – saved her.
on a much smaller scale, a car accident this May totaled both cars.
“It was so near my home that my husband got there before the police
did,” she said.
simply said a man in flannel pajamas comforted her. Actually, she
says, it was husband Gavin O'Connor, who had been at home, working on
gets back to the positive side, which includes romances.
is a producer of “The Americans” cable series and directed its
pilot, which critics praised. Earlier, Burns was engaged to Bruce
Willis and married to Julian McMahon (“Nip/Tuck”); their daughter
(Madison, 14) has visited his homeland ... where her late
grandfather, Billy McMahon, was once the Australian prime minister.
also grew up comfortably. That was in Dallas, where her dad was in
the oil industry. “My dad also does a lot of mission work,” she
said, and religion continues to be a key part of her life.
first, her own focus was on dance, a long-shot. Burns reached
5-foot-9, which many ballet people consider OK for a star, but too
tall for any other role.
became a moot point after she tore a ligament skiing. “My mom had
told me not to go .... I got too confident. I thought, 'What could go
followed quickly. As a teen, she was working in Paris, Milan and
Munich. Then came acting, as a regular on “Baywatch” and other
series, including “Miss Guided,” “Pepper Dennis,” the
“Melrose Place” revival and “North Shore” ... which was
(after “Baywatch”), her second Hawaiian show.
likes to put her in swimwear, but Burns, 36, also does fine at
competitions. She hosted “Dog Eat Dog” and “Motor City
Masters,” co-hosted “Hole in the Wall,” then found her niche
with “The Chase.”
level, this is a standard quiz show, with fast-based questions in
far-flung categories; the key comes in the second half, when
contestants (given a slight lead) try to top “The Beast,” Mark
at 6-foot-7 and 360 pounds, he zips
out answers. "How much
he knows is amazing," Burns said.
figures she could only beat him if she chose
the subjects. "Maybe
ballet .... He is definitely a guy; he does get more engaged in some
after looking at him, people don't usually expect brainpower. Burns
is used to that, too.
"The Chase," Game Show Network
New episodes at 8 p.m. ET Tuesdays, rerunning at 11; also, reruns at
8 and 9 p.m. ET Saturdays