50 - Although you'd never think it to look at her, on the most stunning actresses of the modern era turned 50 this year. Older, wiser and more beautiful than the rest, Kim Basinger's latest big cinematic outing - having sex in a mobile home and generally misbehaving as Eminem's mum in 8 Mile - proved she's in better professional and physical form than many actresses half her age. Over the 30 years since she started acting (she was in the Six Million Dollar Man and Charlie's Angels), Kim's been described as, "Wonderful... as appealing as she looks on the big screen, in person it's just even more," by David Letterman; "dark and manipulative" by ex-husband Alec Baldwin; and "a complete nutcase" by his brother, Billy. It's clear, though, that her idiosyncrasies and outstanding natural beauty make Kim a throwback to the bygone era of Hollywood siren - gorgeous, mysterious and a bit mental.
17 - Crowned Miss Georgia at the age of 16, Kim was in Playboy a year later. Her success as a model was rapid even by the vertiginous standards of the trade. To this day she maintains that she has never liked her appearance or considered herself to be particularly attractive, but hey, it's a living. By the mid-Seventies Kim was signed to the Ford modelling agency - the most prestigious of its day - and living in New York. While most of Manhattan went disco/drug mental, Kim was having none of it. "I spent most of my time in my room reading the Bible," she says. Never mind.
By 1986 things were back on track with the movie whose notoriety made Kim a worldwide object of desire. "She's hot, naked and covered in food!" read one especially accurate review of 9 1/2 Weeks. A milestone in the dubious genre known as "Erotidrama", 9 1/2 Weeks professed to be the most sexually explicit and important mainstream erotic movie since Last Tango in Paris. Whatever its merits, or lack of them, it made a star out of Basinger. "I love men and I love sex," she told Cosmopolitan, and from that point on she would never go out of style. By the end of the decade more than 60 per cent of male contestants on UK Blind Date responded that Basinger was their ideal paramour. Kim, who was living with Prince by then, was probably not watching.
4 - Four was the highest chart position achieved by one of Kim's records. Unlike most actresses' vocal endeavours Kim's hit wasn't even linked to a movie, and it was a great track. "Shake Your Head (Let's Go To Bed)" with Was (Not Was) stemmed from Kim's friendship with producer Don Was and featured backing vocals from Ozzy Osbourne. Amusingly, a pre-stardom Madonna was originally pencilled in to sing the tune, but Was preferred Kim's voice. During her liaison with Prince, Kim is rumoured to have recorded over an album's worth of material, most of which the midget keeps to himself.
It's clear, though, that her idiosyncrasies and outstanding natural beauty make Kim a throwback to the bygone era of Hollywood siren - gorgeous, mysterious and a bit mental.
418 - The population of Brasleton, Georgia - the town Kim bought for $20m dollars in 1989. For whatever reason - possibly a side effect of her self-confessed agoraphobia - Kim decided that she needed her own town. Her motives were more altruistic than autocratic and she planned to turn the community into some kind of arts centre boasting an annual Sundance-style Basinger Film Festival, thus bringing prosperity to all. Four years later, Kim declared bankruptcy and Brasleton was sold for $4m.
8,100,000 - The amount in dollars she was ordered to pay Mainline Pictures after a judge ruled that Kim had reneged on a verbal agreement to appear in the film Boxing Helena. If you've seen the film you'll realise that's a bargain.
91 - The year Kim made the Marrying Man and it was there that she met co-star and husband-to-be Alec Baldwin. The couple's on-set antics were notorious at the time. "Honest to God," said one senior member of the production crew, "if I were destitute and living on the street with no food and someone offered me a million dollars to work with Alec and Kim, I'd pass. Their actions were vile, deplorable, despicable."
Quite what went on, beyond the usual rumours of the co-stars' trailers trysts slowing down production, is the stuff of legend. Kim fiercely denies the rumour that she insisited her shower be Evian rather than tap water (highly unlikely for a radical environmentalist). Another crew member claimed Basinger never wore underwear, relying instead on a flotilla of "embarrassed assistants scampering for towels to throw over her legs." Quelle horreur! For her part, Kim said making the movie "was the worst situation anyone could imagine - ever. I thought hell was below us, but it fell right on my head." The couple eventually divorced in 2001.
7,000 - The Boxing Helena lawsuit revealed that Kim's spending on pets was $7,000 a month. Ath the time she had eight Shih Tzus, one Pekinese and seven cats to feed. Animals are big on Kim's agenda. According to her they "are the most helpless creatures and that's why they need us so much." A spokeswoman for Free The Elephants, Kim likes nothing more of a weekend than to go down with her daughter to the local animal sanctuary and muck out the beasts.
Animals are but one of Kim's pet activisims; she also cares deeply about the environment and the Win Without War movement. During Kim's marriage to Baldwin it was reported that, on occasion, "he arises in the morning to find her sitting with a fist in her mouth and a look of horror on her face, tears streaming down her cheeks as she watches the television news: 'Alec we've just got to do something about these Albanian refugees.'"
0 - The number of script pages seen by Basinger prior to her performance in Robert Altman's appalling satire Pret A Porter. "There was no script, no nothing," says Kim. "I felt awful." It is a mark of achievement that such a long career can incorporate flops (including My Stepmother Is An Alien) as well as Oscar-winning roles (LA Confidential) and casting against type (8 Mile). Still, she looks fantastic in all of them and remains the world's most glamorous single mum.
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