Once notorious for her shocking behavior, Shannen Doherty has transformed herself into America's sexiest witch!
Some of the defining moments of our age have come to us through the medium of television: the exploding space shuttle, Mr. Zapruder's "Farewell, Mr. Kennedy" home movie, the Reagan assassination attempt ... and "Beverly Hills, 90210". True, it's not a show that ever affected the course of history. But since its demise, many individuals have experienced a large hole in their lives, which is remarkable, considering how coy people are when it comes to admitting ever having watched it.
Scratching the surface, however, and the memories soon come flooding back. There's the one when Brian Green's nervy friend accidentally shoots himself in the head at his own birthday party; the one when Perry and Priestly get arrested at the very first stop on their motorbike road trip for urinating on an Indian burial ground; the one when Perry's long lost father turns up, only to be vaporized by a car bomb. And smack bang in the middle of all this implausibly glamorous farce was Shannen Doherty, breathing life into the evil, scheming, manipulating Brenda Walsh. For a while, her antics on the show with Luke Perry made them America's No. 1 couple, the subject of endless gossip and national fascination. And that noriety spilled over into real life too. "There's a diplomatic way of going about things", she recalls, talking to FHM at a diner in the Hollywood Hills. "But I was 20 years old then. I didn't know about diplomacy."
Now she's learned her lesson, Shannen has survived the demise of "Beverly Hills, 90210" with greater success than any of the regular cast, going on to star in the equally implausible WB hit "Charmed". These days, she spends her time riding her horses and directing occasional episodes of the witchy show. She still has the same trouser-troubling effect on the youth of America, but this time the sideburned goon Dylan and his ridiculous Porsche are nowhere to be found. Thank you, Hollywood.
Even though it was years ago, you'll always be known as a wild child. Does that bother you?
I realize that's a stigma that's now attached to me, I know that. But I've worked hard to get rid of it. I've worked hard to improve myself as a human being. I've worked hard to go to therapy. I don't want credit for it. I just want people to knock it off. Enough is enough.
Nicely put. You once said, "I want to grow old sitting in a rocking chair with a shotgun across my knees. This is the redneck in me." What's the last redneck thing you've done?
I eat deviled ham sandwiches all the time. It comes in a can like SPAM does. You take it out of the can, put it in a bowl, dump a bunch of mayonnaise in it and add chopped sweet pickles. It's delicious. I've turned a lot of people on to it by giving it to them and not telling them what it is.
You might not apologize for your cooking, but would you like to apologize to those who sat through your movie "Satan's School For Girls"?
I wouldn't put that on the top of my resume and say this is my proudest piece of work. But I don't really know if I'd apologize. Ratings-wise it was unbelievable. More people sat through it than clicked it off.
What would a gym-class locker-room experience be like in a school run by a Satan?
Normal high school cliques times 10, and you know they're pretty bad to begin with. I was always the one who went into the stall to change my clothes. I'm actually an incredibly shy girl, and all my friends would be changing right in front of each other. I was like, "Ugh." I had chicken legs. I could be a little bit more toned.
You were sentenced to 540 hours of community service for one of your "incidents." How much highway trash can one pick up with that sharp stick?
I don't know. It depends on how much money you're willing to pay government to get out of your community service. For me it was something like $60,000. Could you imagine the pictures? There's something to be said for that neon-orange vest, but it would have been hellish. Let me say, though, that I actually wanted to go to court. It was over some guy who called me a cunt and spit in my face. I didn't do anything to him. 'Cause you know that? I'm not going to jail. I'd get beat up severely there. I'd be some big woman's bitch. She'd be like, "Come here, small girl. Come here, Hollywood."
Most people think you're quite the ass kicker...
I have a very, very good punch. I got it right. I may be skinny, but I'm really strong. I was on the set of a very bad movie and the producer was this really sleazy guy. It was a scene where I was waking up from bed and I had on underwear and a tank top. I was walking by him and he said some disgusting, mal chauvinistic, sexist remark, like, "You really do something for those Calvins, the way your ass moves." I turned around to punch him, he moved out of the way and I hit the wall instead and fractured my wrist. If ever I got in a fight, I would just miss the mark. I would never be able to hold my own. If somebody called me on it one day, like, let's say I startet mouthing off to someone and they were like, "Come here, bitch," and got in my face, I'd start crying and run.
Surely you were just having an off day. You can't be completely uncoordinated.
Well, once on "Charmed" I was running to go catch demons in high heels and a skirt, and my foot slipped out from underneath me. I was wearing a G-string, and you know a G-string - things shift in there. If you're gonna wear a G-string, you've got to really make sure that stuff is set in the proper place all times. I flashed everybody behind the camera and they were like, "Wooooah!" We were rolling and it's all on film.
Surprisingly, many women aren't huge fans of "the string."
Nobody wants to see this ass in a G-string, I'm sorry. Once, this photographer tried to get me in some pose where my legs were apart. I was in a slpi, which was very tight. If I want to get that raunchy, then I'll get paid for it. Some women have no problem putting on a G-string. They love to get out there and strut their stuff in a skimpy clothing. For me, it's always hard to stand around in my underwear, especially when it's freezing like it was at the FHM shoot.
You got your start on the crime shows "21, Jump Street" and "Magnum PI". Did that training help during your run-ins with LAPD?
Yeah, it worked. I learned a lot. I know how to evade the law really, really well. It taught me all the loopholes in our judicial system. I fancy myself as very sly and slick, and I can get away with a lot of stuff. I had broken up with a boyfriend and was really curious as to what he was doing. So I got two of my friends to go and do a drive-by with me. But I'm an asshole; I took my own car. And his house is on a cul-de-sac. One of my friends said, "I'll sneak up to the house and see if he's in there." And I said, "Cool, go do it." All of a sudden, this car pulls up and screeches to a stop. It's my boyfriend with all of his friends; I'm in my Mercedes and he knows the car. I threw the car into drive and screeched of. I was so busted.
So you learned nothing from Johnny Depp or Tom Selleck?
That was the last of my drive-bys ... actually that's not true. I love drive-bys. I don't know what it is. I would get a girlfriend to come with me and we'd go the 7-Eleven and stock up on Twinkies and Zingers and Coca-Colas. It's also a stakeout at times.
Some people might call you crazy.
Yeah, I think I'm crazy to a certain extent, but I think drive-bys and stakeouts are fun. I don't think there's one woman out there who has not done a drive-by in her life. Women are pretty suspicious by nature.
And men are liars by nature. Moreover, they love to lie to women. You must have heard some good ones in your day.
I've heard doozeys. One is after a week of dating, a guy telling you he loves you. I look at him and go, "What is that you love?" It's such bullshit because he doesn't know you at that point. Is he in love with the image that he press puts out there, is he in love with pictures of me in lingerie, or the bad girl? It's retarded.
Speaking of retarded, you had an early role on "Life Goes On" where you played Corky's love interest. Did he grab your butt or get frisky?
Honestly, I'm the first one to call somebody out if they're a nighmare to deal with, a bitch or an asshole. But he was so sweet. I think we had to dance together and I remember he kept on holding me very tight. He was very close to me.
He didn't try to take you back to his twailer?
No, he was a really sweet boy.
What's the most ridiculously extravagant thing in your trailer?
My whole trailer is ridiculous. The whole thing has skylights, hardwood floors. I have a double cobalt-blue sink for my kitchen and a refrigerator, an oven and a microwave. And all of the cabinets are glass with steel trim.
Your real home must be a certified pimp palace then.
I'm between homes at the moment. I had a security company come to my last house shortly after I moved in to check the place out. They started telling me these stories about how they would be called by the previous owner, and when they showed up, they'd find guys with Uzis inside the house. Then I got a black rose on my doorstep. There was really frightening stuff happening. I moved out.
Back to your trailer, what's the most embarassing thing about it?
We have guys that go in there to clean out the toilets. That probably the most embarassing part. Once a week they come, and somebody knows who craps the most out of all of us.
A case of chronic bowel syndrome, perhaps?
No, but I have Crohn's disease. It's a parasite in your body; it can kind of mess with you. There's nothing sexy about women saying, "I got to go take a crap."
Speaking of classy, what's the proper way to get sick in public, when you just don't have any other opinion?
I threw up once at a table and caused a scene. It was really horrible. I was in Dallas of all place. I was at this blues club and I had ben drinking something I had never had before. I had no idea how much alcohol was in this thing. I just couldn't hold it in. When I realized I could not physically get up without throwning up on my way out, I sort of just turned and very quietly put my head down and covered my face with my hair. It was by far my most embarassing moment.
You bought a few horses. Have you been tossed on your melon yet?
I slightly tapped my horse Louis Cito on the side and he completely flipped out. He reared up and startetd bucking. He gave me a black eye and then just tossed me so high in the air. My trainer was laughing hysterically. He said, "You looked like you were para-gliding."
What's with those ridiculous helmets you horse riders wear?
I'm probably the wrong person to ask because I don't wear a helmet. Every time I've worn a helmet I've gotten hurt. My young one has thrown me off a bunch of times. I had to go to a back specialist and I'm supposed to wear a bacl brace 24 hours a day.
That must be great training for that corset you're wearing in the photos.
Yeah, it looks like a back brace. The back brace itself hurt more than my actual back problem.
Why do you suppose men fantasize about women riding bareback?
It's that whole Guinevere and King Arthur time period. I don't ride bareback and I wear underwear when I ride. And as far as the perverted side of it, which is the movement of a woman on a horse, it can appear to be sexual. But men will fantasize about almost anything.
Interview by Tony Romando