Internationally known as the 'Queen of the Internet," glamorous model-actress-spokesperson Cindy Margolis achieved international fame at the turn of the millennium after becoming the "Most Downloaded Celebrity on the Internet. " A natural self-marketer, Margolis jumpstarted her modeling career with a line of her own sexy greeting cards while still in college. By the early-1990s she was one of the most popular pin-up models in the country and could be seen making appearances on hit shows like "Married... with Children" (Fox, 1987-1997) and "Baywatch" (syndicated, 1989-2001). Margolis further cemented her iconic status with an appearance as a Fembot in Mike Myers' hit comedy "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" (1997) and briefly hosted "The Cindy Margolis Show" (UPN, 2000) prior to posing for a pair of nude pictorials in Playboy in 2006 and again in 2008. Personal struggles with infertility led to an admirably candid Margolis penning a book on the subject and becoming the spokesperson for a national organization devoted to addressing the issue. Arguably a late entrant into the realm of reality television, the former pin-up star took part on series like "Seducing Cindy" (Fox Reality Channel, 2010) and "Beverly Hills Nannies" (ABC Family, 2012- ) with varying degrees of success. Though eternally associated with the early boom days of the Internet, Margolis' innate talent for self-promotion and survival assured that she would remain a pop culture presence for years to come.
Born Cynthia Dawn Margolis on Oct. 1, 1965 in Los Angeles, she was the daughter of Karyn and William Margolis. With an outgoing personality to match her all-American, girl-next-door looks, Margolis had her sights set on making a name for herself from an early age. A natural self-promoter, Margolis' entrepreneurial instincts kicked in while attending California State University, Northridge where she designed her own line of specialty greeting cards for a business class assignment. Naturally, she posed as the model for the cards, which conveniently included her phone number. Soon orders for the cards were coming in, as were legitimate modeling offers from agents who had been shown her innovative class project. By the late-1980s, Margolis was modeling in highly-visible ad campaigns for companies like Vidal Sassoon, Coors, Hanes, and Sunkist. From there it was a short step on to the soundstage, where Margolis occasionally filled in as one of "Barker's Beauties" alongside the show's silver-haired host, Bob Barker on the long-running game show "The Price is Right" (CBS, 1972- ).
Predictably, Margolis began parlaying her increased notoriety into acting roles throughout the mid-1990s on such popular shows as "Married...with Children" (Fox, 1987-1997), "Murphy Brown" (CBS, 1988-1998), "Baywatch" (syndicated, 1989-2001) and its spin-off, "Baywatch Nights" (syndicated, 1995-97). Moviegoers also got an eyeful of the beauty as she steamed up the big screen as a platinum-haired Fembot in the smash comedy "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" (1997). She followed up that auspicious debut by landing a role in the less-revered Carrot Top comedy "Chairman of the Board" (1998). Her occasional appearances on Howard Stern's radio show earned the late night shock jock his highest ratings ever and Los Angeles area restaurateur Guy Starkman became the envy of every college-age male across the country when he and Margolis were wed in September 1998. As the Internet bubble continued to expand, Margolis' curvaceous presence went global, a milestone certified when Yahoo! named her "Queen of the Internet" for three consecutive years, from 1996 to 1999. The latter year garnered her a spot as the "Most Downloaded" personality on the Web in the millennium edition of The Guinness Book of World Records, which recorded an astonishing 70,000 downloads of Margolis in one 24-hour period.
No longer just a stunning blonde bombshell, she had become a bankable brand name, which she leveraged as the host of the short-lived dance party program "The Cindy Margolis Show" (UPN, 2000), taped in Miami Beach, FL. In refreshingly frank interviews, Margolis later revealed that she and her husband had experienced difficulty becoming pregnant in the months following their wedding. Using in-vitro fertility treatments, she and Starkman eventually conceived their first child, Nicholas, who was born in 2002. Three years later, the couple welcomed twins Sabrina and Sierra into the family, thanks to the incubation assistance of a surrogate mother. The mother of three later appeared nude for the first time in a 2006 issue of Playboy magazine and became the first and only contestant to win the culinary competition "Celebrity Cooking Showdown" (NBC, 2006), alongside partner Wolfgang Puck. Margolis also broadened her growing female fan demographic by authoring her first book, The Girlfriends Guide to Having a Baby... When the Old Fashioned Way Isn't Working, a true-life story chronicling her personal struggle and ultimate triumph over infertility.
In keeping with her new sense of activism, Margolis also unveiled a line of jewelry called the iLife Collection - the proceeds from which would go to support infertility issues nationwide - and was named as the first Official Celebrity Spokesperson for RESOLVE, the National Association for Infertility. In 2008, just weeks after her separation from Starkman, Margolis appeared nude in a second issue of Playboy, the cover of which proclaimed, "Cindy Margolis is Sexy and Single!" The newly unattached Margolis later became the focus of "Seducing Cindy" (Fox Reality Channel, 2010), another brief effort on an equally short-lived cable network. She returned to reality television as one of the celebrity heads of household featured on "Beverly Hills Nannies" (ABC Family, 2012- ). Relatively tame by the standards of the notoriously trashy genre, the reality program followed a group of upscale nannies as they attempted to secure childcare work within several high-profile households boasting the prestigious 90210 zip code.
By Bryce P. Coleman