This Full House guest star became Elly May Clampett for Nineties kids

At least one critic claimed Erika Eleniak outdid Donna Douglas on the big screen.

In the Full House episode "Last Kiss," Uncle Jesse is stoked to go to his high school reunion until his old flame Carrie reaches out to reconnect, putting his current relationship in jeopardy.

By this time in the series, Jesse has already linked up with Becky, whom his character marries.

Playing the alluring Carrie in this episode was Erika Eleniak, perhaps best known to TV audiences as one of the original Baywatch babes.

Eleniak started acting when she was just 10 years old, with her first big role coming at the age of 12 when she appeared in the 1982 movie E.T. as Elliot’s girlfriend.

She said she had no idea the movie would become as big as it did.

"All I knew was that it was about a boy and an alien, and when you’re 12, you’re going, ‘Oh great!’" Eleniak said.

Her costar Henry Thomas did not think their kissing scene was as great as Eleniak did.

"When I had to kiss the girl, I had to do it two times!" 10-year-old Thomas told People. "I don’t like girls."

Whether Thomas liked her or not, from that point on, Eleniak was typecast as the "pretty girl," taking on guest roles on hit shows in the Eighties before joining the cast of Baywatch in 1989.

Her Full House episode aired in 1990, at a moment when Eleniak didn’t have the hots for Uncle Jesse, but actually was growing feelings off-screen for her Baywatch costar and onscreen love Billy Warlock.

Ultimately, Eleniak left Baywatch in 1992, ending her relationship with Warlock and leaving room for Pamela Anderson to start running the beach.

This decision freed up Eleniak for more movie roles.

Soon after, Eleniak was cast in the 1993 movie revival of The Beverly Hillbillies, starring as Elly May Clampett alongside comedy veterans Jim Varney as Jed, Cloris Leachman as Granny and Lily Tomlin as Jane Hathaway.

Favorably reviewed on its release, the Los Angeles Times critic described the reboot as a bridge between Baby Boomers and younger audiences: "The boomers watching this film can re-experience their childhood gooniness without too much strain while the teens who currently catch the show in syndication can feel as if they’re playing with a bigger and brighter version of an old toy."

One of the movie’s most controversial moments, however, came in the opening scene that shows Elly May wrestling with a bear and winning the fight.

A critic in The Missoulian wrote in 1993 that this scene was "blasphemy" to "all true fans" of The Beverly Hillbillies, who know Elly May would never harm a critter, let alone beat up a bear.

But that critic ultimately forgave the blip in the character read, proclaiming that Eleniak "sounds exactly like Elly May and looks better than the Donna Douglas original."

For Eleniak, playing Elly May led to more movie roles, but Eleniak never felt she stepped out of the shadow of her Baywatch years. She’s continued acting since, though, and most recently she’s set to star as another famous blonde, Marilyn Monroe, in a new biopic.

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TheSentinel 4 days ago
After I first watched the episode where Jesse reunited with Carrie at their class reunion dance, I thought right there and then that Jesse should've dumped Becky and hooked back up with and eventually married Carrie instead (and I still feel that way, as I never really did like Becky, from her early hard-to-get way toward Jesse, to her frequent volunteering of an unwilling Danny for humiliating stunts on their talk show, to her jealousy and her later controlling attitude toward Jesse - notably inherited from her mother - in some later episodes).
vinman63 8 days ago
Jim Varney as Jed and Cloris Leachman as Granny Moses.
CoreyC 17 days ago
Donna Douglas was the ugliest woman on The Twilight Zone.
KevinMeerschaert 18 days ago
Actually, most critics slammed the movie. Rightly so.
Daizy54 18 days ago
I Don’t Remember I barely watched Full House and if I Did I blocked it out..Haha!!
JHP 18 days ago
I said it once and will say it one more time - the ONLY full house I like is in my hands at the table with cards:)
LalaLucy 19 days ago
Umm....yeah. Only one Elly May and that is the lovely Donna Douglas. This joker is just a cheap copy like most any who attempt to bring a classic sitcom character to the big screen.
top_cat_james_1 19 days ago
Outdid Donna Douglas? In the chest department, yes. Otherwise, not even close.
NickG 20 days ago
Donna Douglas was Elly Mae. End of discussion.
WordsmithWorks 20 days ago
Which 90's kids actually saw the big screen "Beverly Hillbillies?"
I did. Wasn't anything to write home about. Too many fart jokes at some points.
daDoctah 21 days ago
Also Playboy's Miss July 1989, and in the Steven Seagall movie "Under Siege", she played Miss July 1989 as well.
TheSentinel daDoctah 4 days ago
And then, of course, she went on to appear as a regular on the first two seasons of Baywatch.
harlow1313 21 days ago
I hate that manufactured pretty-boy bad-boy squeaky clean and well-coiffed type character, as pictured at the top of the article. It makes me want to hurl.
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