Actress Brooke Burns has sustained an extremely varied career in fiction films, sitcoms, series dramas, and reality television programs. Burns began her career with a temporary television role -- that of "idealized" woman Jennifer Higgin -- on David E. Kelley's surrealistic comedy drama Ally McBeal (1997). The next year, Burns scored a part on the long-running series Baywatch as lifeguard Jessie Owens, playing the character for over two seasons (1998-2001).
After Baywatch, Burns made her way into film work with a small role in Peter and Bobby Farrelly's comedy Shallow Hal, playing Katrina -- an unfortunate girl with a model build but an unsightly visage, who suddenly, "magically" gains a sexy countenance under the retooled mind of the superficial Hal (Jack Black). The physical nature of the part (it required Burns to wear a hideous prosthetic nose and gobs of grotesque makeup) both demonstrated Burns' courageous willingness to play with her onscreen image and made an indelible impression with viewers, by its very unforgettable nature.
The actress returned to the limelight in a much different capacity, as hostess of the short-lived U.S. "reality" game show Dog Eat Dog -- a kind of adult spin on Double Dare with contestants attempting to outdo each other in various physical and mental challenges. Burns then took on regular roles on two prime-time series dramas: the 2004 North Shore and the 2006 Pepper Dennis. Unfortunately, both series didn't make it past their first seasons. In 2008, she was cast in another regular television role, on the sitcom Miss Guided, but it was similarly short-lived.
Burns has a daughter, Madison, by actor Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck) whom she married in 1999 and divorced two years later. She also dated movie star Bruce Willis from 2003 to 2004, and was briefly engaged to him. The actress made national headlines in November 2005 given her involvement in a freak diving accident that fractured the upper vertebrae in her neck and brought her within an inch of permanent paralysis; she sustained irreparable interior physical damage but miraculously survived without permanent disability. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi