‘Baywatch’ alum Donna D’Errico says she still doesn’t know how to swim: ‘I can’t even tread water’

Donna D’Errico was ready to impress her with an audition for “Baywatch” — except that the actress didn’t get a single significant note.

“The only thing I had to do was pass a swimming test,” the actress told Fox News. “Except I couldn’t swim. I had a severe phobia of water. I couldn’t even step in the water [‘Baywatch’ swim coach] He asked me, “Can you swim properly?” I said: Of course! I lied.”

The star recalled how she tested at the YMCA pool located in Pacific Palisades, California. The star said she is determined to become one of the show’s most wanted lifeguards. However, Derico had no idea how to convince an entire crew that she could dive – or three – so easily.

“You have to be part of the most watched show in the world,” said the 53-year-old. “It was the opportunity of a lifetime. And here I am, knowing very well, that I can’t swim. It was all supposed to be basic stuff, not something technical. But all I kept thinking was, ‘What should I really do?’ I still came in at five in the morning and was told, “Go into the pool, and do a few laps to warm up.” Here I am clinging to the edge like a frightened kid, and he’s like, “Donna, what are you doing?” Go and do a few courses. It’s freezing there. I couldn’t leave him. I would drown. Finally, he said, “Donna, get out of the pool. You can’t swim.”

LILY JAMES STUNS in a signature red swimsuit as Pamela Anderson for the TV series

Donna Derico starred as Donna Marco in Baywatch.
(Getty Images)

“My initial reaction was, ‘Are you going to tell the producers? Derico laughed. “And he’s like, ‘Well, yeah, of course, I’m going to tell them you can’t swim. This is a show about lifeguards!’ I was so upset because I didn’t want to miss anything. So I take swimming lessons with the main guy five times a week at 5 a.m. in that pool. I drive this flight every morning. And I had a little kid at the time, they gave me the fins, which made it easy to swim and stomp on the water.”

Weeks later, Derico took another swimming test – and failed again. I took more lessons and barely passed the next exam. But it doesn’t matter – it worked. D’Errico went on to star in the series as Donna Marco from 1996 until 1998.

“To this day, I still can’t swim,” she admitted. “I’m terrified of the water. I can’t even step into the water. There’s one scene, and I think it’s the only one, where my character was in the water to save her. And I’m pretty sure I almost drowned trying to do it. I’m supposed to save a boy and you can see my lips She says the f word trying to swim in that pool. It’s one thing when you have your fins, but it’s another when you don’t. You can’t really swim when you’re terrified. I’m sure they never forced me to do another rescue again. But if I look for That episode, I’m sure you can see my mouth say the f-word!

Despite her water predicament, D’Errico insisted that she would love to be a part of the show and soon bonded with her castmates.

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Donna Derico (right) along with her Baywatch co-star Traci Bingham.

Donna Derico (right) along with her Baywatch co-star Traci Bingham.
(Photo by Fiona Hanson – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

“When I first started out, I was really nervous because everyone was a giant celebrity and here I am, completely new and shy,” she said. “I was even going to think to myself, ‘How did you get that show? But I remember once, I was in my trailer and had to use the bathroom. I was in a swimsuit, and when you put on a one-piece bathing suit, you have to pull everything down. I lifted the toilet seat, and there’s this huge lizard that’s a foot long. It was huge. I just flew out of there screaming. I open that trailer door and there’s David Hasselhoff and two crew members laughing hysterically. Thankfully, my swimsuits stopped in time! They were just cracking. But that set the tone.”

D’Errico noticed how Hasselhoff, now 69, was determined to make sure everyone felt welcome on the set.

“He was just a practical joker,” she said. “He was very welcoming and was eager to break the ice. This was his way of letting me know to loosen up. And you know, I laughed really well afterwards. It was a very fun and relaxed atmosphere. He always made people laugh. I look back on those memories very fondly because everyone was so welcoming. Very. Even when we had to shoot a tense scene, he would do or say something afterwards to make everyone laugh and smile again. I was always grateful.”

After her time on “Baywatch,” D’Errico said she was smeared for Hollywood. However, she has continued to make her mark as an actress by taking on roles that are very different from Marco.

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The Girls Of 'Baywatch', circa 1996. From L-R: Traci Bingham, Donna D'Errico, Yasmine Bleeth, Gena Lee Nolin and Nancy Valen.

The Girls Of ‘Baywatch’, circa 1996. From L-R: Traci Bingham, Donna D’Errico, Yasmine Bleeth, Gena Lee Nolin and Nancy Valen.
(Photo by Getty Images)

“I just did ‘Survive the Game’ with Bruce Willis and I was really happy to be given a role to be kind of an opponent,” she explained. “I have been trained to handle firearms and firearms for a very long time. So I was comfortable in the role. My character Carly is an ex-military. I chose to do all the stunts. I trained with a stunt coordinator and a full stunt team so I could do my own fight scenes This was really cool. It’s not a pretty role. I chose not to put on makeup and get my hair back. Carly is a tough girl, and it was fun.”

“We just completed Sean Patrick Flannery’s ‘Frank and Penelope’, which is coming out next year, and I’m really excited about that,” she said. “Maybe I’m more excited about this movie and the character than I’ve been talking about in a really long time. We shot it 12 miles from the Mexican border where it’s hot and desolate. So as a crew, we relied on each other, and it’s on screen. I’m really excited to see him. .”

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Donna Dona Derico shooting a scene for a movie

Donna Dona Derico shoots a scene for “Frank and Penelope,” Sean Patrick Flannery’s directorial debut.
(Photo courtesy of Tiiu Loigu)

Derico is anxious about what the future holds for her. But she doesn’t mind looking at her “Baywatch” past.

“It was such a huge life change,” she said.

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