Why Hollywood Won't Cast Kelly Packard Anymore

Kelly Packard may have had a small taste of fame before, but when she donned the iconic red swimsuit as lifeguard April Giminski in Baywatch, she became an international star. Seen in over 144 countries and translated into 15 languages at the height of its fame, Baywatch was an astronomical hit that was reportedly watched by over a billion people worldwide. The action drama series was so insanely popular that the Shah of Iran's wife allegedly told star, David Hasselhoff, that people in her country bought tickets to gather around televisions and watch.

So how did a fresh-faced beauty with a global audience fall off the Tinseltown map? Well, a lot of possible reasons. From poor career choices to bad box office numbers and dramatic lifestyle changes to a pet goat on a ranch outside Los Angeles — let's jump in the water and search for all the reasons why Hollywood won't cast Kelly Packard anymore.

Reality TV is not the way

Trying to break into Hollywood is tough. Trying to break into Hollywood after you've appeared on a reality show is tougher. Packard has appeared in two. First up was Ripley's Believe It or Not!, where she served as a field correspondent to host Dean Cain for two seasons starting in 2002. Cain would introduce various segments and subjects with unusual abilities, and Packard would interview them and the crowd. Not exactly a huge return on her acting classes. 

In 2014, she made her way to ABC's Celebrity Wife Swap, a show that asks what would happen if famous families switched spouses for a week (not in that way, calm down). She swapped places with actress Tichina Arnold, best known for the iconic '90s sitcom Martin and Big Momma's House. Tichina's laid-back parenting style clashed with Packard's more strict approach, but as the format dictates, everybody walked away having learned valuable lessons and ways to improve their marriages and families. It did not, however, improve Packard's stock in Hollywood. 

The ranch life called

While still saving lives on Baywatch, Packard married Darrin Privet in 1997. Four kids and 21 years later, the former teen star and her ER doctor husband live on a ranch north of Los Angeles in Newhall, California. A self-proclaimed stay at home mom, she seems to have her hands full. 

She told Inside Edition her life has "changed dramatically," but she wouldn't have it any other way. "All of the animals — you would think it would be chaotic, but I have it down to a science. I am living the dream."

How many animals? Glad you asked. As of 2017, her ranch boasts 19 animals including chickens, a pot-bellied pig, two donkeys, and a horse. Packard says she's "still holding out" for a goat. Who wouldn't? With all this going on, it's no surprise that the glitzy lights of Hollywood have lost a lot of their luster for Packard. 

Fun fact: she still has her famous red swimsuit hanging on a wall encased in glass. Maybe it comes out when they have a babysitter. 

Jesus took the wheel

Seen here with her husband posing in front of the Seattle Temple, Packard joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as a teenager. She's been an active member of the church since and makes no effort to hide her faith.

During her appearance on Celebrity Wife Swap, those beliefs were addressed early in the episode during a family prayer (per Deseret News). "We're Mormon," she said. "We do not allow any alcohol, coffee, tea, tobacco in the house." She continued, "We have rules. With our kids, we limit the amount of time of television they watch and what they wear. I want them to grow up as kids. I don't want them to be exposed to anything before they have to be."

She claims (per God's Direct Contact) that being on Baywatch took her spiritual being to a "whole different level." The enormous popularity of the show let her know she could "touch people" with her faith and she's "tried to do that every day in [her] life since then."

While we don't think Hollywood is actively rejecting Mormons (Ryan Gosling seems to be doing okay), but her profound dedication to applying the doctrines and principles of Mormonism seems to have led her to seek fulfillment in places other than in front of the camera.

Her TV career peaked too early

Packard's television career got off to a scorching hot start. After securing guest spots on hits like BlossomThe Wonder Years, Boy Meets World, Step by Step, and Living Dolls; she nabbed her first series regular role at the age of 16 on NBC's Saturday morning teen comedy California Dreams. Airing right after the '90s phenomenon Saved By The Bell, the show about surfers starting a rock band was a massive hit that lasted five seasons. Due to their popularity, the cast even reunited on Jimmy Fallon in 2011. Sorry, only '90s kids will understand.

While starring as surfer girl Tiffani Smith on California Dreams from 1992-1996, Packard was guest starring on Baywatch. By 1997, she was a series regular. Two years later, her role in the action drama series ended, and unfortunately, so did Packard's streak. After an episode of USA High and a voice role on The Wild Thornberrys in 2001, Packard's once-promising career trajectory crashed and burned to the dismay of her fans. 

Her film career is... not great

If you were designing a template for a film career that would ensure superstardom, you would scroll past Kelly Packard's so fast you'd break your trackpad. Her film debut was 1991's And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird — a science-fiction family film about two boys who try to invent a robot to help their mom with her household chores. We can only imagine the think pieces if that was released today. Up next was 1997's the straight-to-video, Little Bigfoot. The year 1998 saw her appearing in yet another straight-to-video offering, Baywatch: White Thunder at Glacier Bay. We don't think even Baywatch fans watched that one. 

She followed that up with 2000's Get Your Stuff, a comedy about gay foster parents — she was seventh in billing. In 2002 (let us know if you're sensing a pattern here), Packard starred in the direct-to-video, The Killing Point. It was a standard revenge thriller that the last Blockbuster probably doesn't carry. Her biggest film to date was 2002's Auto Focus, starring Greg Kinnear and Willem Dafoe. A biopic about the life and murder of television actor Bob Crane, the film was met with positive reviews but tanked at the box office. Packard's character in the film? "Dawson's Blond." Not exactly a breakout role. At the time of this writing, her most recent film credit to hit the big screen is 2010's My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, starring Alyssa Milano. The romantic comedy made $1.4 million at the box office and currently holds a 47 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

Comeback Kelly

Kelly Packard still holds a special place in the hearts of the billions of Baywatch fans worldwide, so there's always going to be a built-in audience for whatever she decides to do next. "I do audition still and have done a few small things. I feel I am ready to work again if the right project comes along!" she told fan site, Baywatch TV in 2016.

It appears the "right project" came along in the form of The B-Team, and we have to admit, the plot sounds like pure comedy gold: "8 actors from a hit TV show about lifeguards were actually undercover CIA agents." Written by fellow Baywatch star Alexandra Paul and starring a group of Baywatch cast members, the film centers around the team getting recruited for "one last dangerous mission to stop a maniac from destroying the world."

Although the film is unable to reference the hit show due to production rights, the famous red suits will make an appearance. "We play ourselves, so the audience might not know what is true-to-life and what is made up for the movie," Paul told The Independent. "And that is exactly what we want. Were we really agents for the US government during our heyday? The CIA has used famous people as spies before."

Although Packard might not be bankable Hollywood or connect with younger audiences, if we can make six movies about shark tornadoes, we can make six movies about this. Make it happen, Netflix