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Pam Anderson Was a Friend of Mine

It hit me why we’d been invited to their son’s birthday party — we were the only family with kids they knew

 Now that Pam Anderson is back in the “news” as one of the (truly) hot stars of “Dancing with the Stars,” it may be time to revisit her career — or at least her as a friend.

Now, I’m not saying I’m her closest friend — though her then-husband Tommy Lee did once babysit for my kids; and her later husband Kid Rock and my son did play on the same flag-football team. But I have known her for a while and like her a lot. She’s a good mama and a fine next-door neighbor.
And that’s probably not anything you heard on Howard Stern in her heyday (when he was most concerned with the fact she might remove her breast implants … fortunately, she relented!)
No, when my then-wife and I (my baby mama, as they like to say now — we only got married because the INS showed up at her workplace and tried to deport her and my two children back to Canada) … first bought in Malibu in 1998, the last thing we were thinking about was being Pam Anderson’s next-door neighbor. We were simply looking for a place with good public schools so we didn’t have to pay the Center for Early Education (the home, in Hollywood, for the kids of everyone from Steven Speilberg to Jodie Foster.) $20,000 per year times two!
But that’s how it worked out. In Westwood, where my first son was born, there was a young actor named Jeff Barton, whose wife Bobbie was the best friend of an old girlfriend of mine from 5th Avenue in New York, Rosie Herman. After they’d gotten married, Bobbie convinced Jeff to quit acting and move to Malibu, where they’d bought a big home on Point Dume and he went to work for Coldwell Banker, the real estate broker to the stars. Having been invited to their house enough times to realize how beautiful Malibu really was, we decided we should move there.
Through Jeff, we found a wonderful condo for sale in an architectural development overlooking Zuma Beach. We knew most of the residents of this small development were well-to-do — among them were Christopher Robin (of “Winnie the Pooh” fame) granddaughter (yes, there was a real Christopher Robin) and one of the American designers of Audi. But I don’t think either of us were ready for the moment on Saturday that we walked out of our townhome and bumped into our new neighbors, Pam and Tommy Lee.
As anyone who lives in Malibu can tell you, meeting Pam Anderson-Lee (or whatever she goes by now) in person is hardly overwhelming. Without makeup and in a baggy sweatsuit (her favored about-town look), she’s just another pretty blonde.  (On the other hand, were you ever to meet Cher out of makeup you truly wouldn’t recognize her!)
So there she was, one day, just another neighbor with her two children, Brandon, now 13 and Dylan, now 12 (but probably 5 and 4 at the time!) welcoming us to the neighborhood.
I remember a couple of instances, like the time I came home from my Saturday morning basketball game only to find the garage door open, as well as all the doors in my house. I found that my kids had a new babysitter … a 6’ 7” rock star with tattoos up and down both arms was there. His kids were happily playing on the deck with mine. Of course, the ankle bracelet I remember him wearing as a condition of parole from one of his latest escapades was a little off-putting — I was torn between being pissed off at my baby mama for leaving my kids in the hands of a ‘con or asking him to autograph my cut-off sleeve Motley Crue T-shirt I wore to basketball every week.
I opted for the autograph.
Another time, he and Pammy asked our kids to a birthday party for their oldest son.
Unfortunately, despite their desire to be regular parents (as Pammy said on her taping of Leno recently, she had to leave early to attend her sons’ Little League game), like most rock/movie/TV stars, they really didn’t have any concept of reality — nor real friends. (When someone has been doing everything for you ever since you were too young to vote, well, you lose that sense.)
When my kids and I showed up at the designated spot in Agoura — they’d rented a table in a public park, complete with balloons, just like regular folk — it hit me why we’d been invited. We were the only family with kids they knew. The rest of the guests consisted of the hot chicks from her then-hot “private eye” TV show and Tommy’s buddy Snoop Dogg. (At 6’4” I was, surprisingly, the smallest of the bunch — Snoop has to be at least 6’5” or so!)
The “birthday party” largely consisted of my sons playing with hers, she and the girls from her TV show sitting around and gossiping about guys while me, Tommy and Snoop cooked hot dogs. Unfortunately, of course (again because he’d never had to do anything for himself), Tommy had forgotten to buy any buns. Guess who ended up having to drive to Von’s to get buns? (You don’t think rock stars actually do anything, do you?)
But my lasting Pam moment was just before she moved up to his house on Mulholland. Like any homeowner, she’d seen the renovations we were making on our condo and wanted to show us her place.
Now, please remember, this was shortly after the legendary “sex tape” had come out–which begins with her showering in a secret grotto, soaping her breasts and promising Tommy (who was filming it) that, “in a couple of hours, these will all be yours” (it was their wedding day, of course!)
As Pammy showed us around her condo, she detailed for us what she’d done to the living room, the rec area, etc. before showing us what she called her “piece de resistance” — her grotto!
To which, before I could catch myself, I uttered — “Oh, I’ve seen this before … .”
To her credit, Pammy was either oblivious (which she isn’t) or too polite to say anything other than, “Now let me show you the kitchen.”
In short, a real trouper—as the audience for “Dancing” is well discovering.

Peter McAlevey is a motion-picture producer and former correspondent for Newsweek. His latest movie is "Kill Her, Not Me