Shannon Lee Tweed was born March 10, 1957, in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. The daughter of a mink rancher, Shannon is the third oldest of seven siblings, one of which is her older sister, actress Tracy Tweed.
Shannon has Playboy to thank for her rise from obscurity -- okay, Newfoundland -- which is actually also the hometown of model/actress Natasha Henstridge. The blonde babe served as Play.mate of the Month and Play.mate of the Year in 1982, during which time she was romantically linked with Hugh Hefner himself.
Her work with the bunny magazine thrust Shannon into the limelight, but while her acting career proved to have longevity, her stay at the Play.boy Mansion was cut short after Hugh discovered she was taking cocaine. While Play.mates may be free with their bodies, they are strictly forbidden from delving into drugs.
Shannon took more than drugs from her stay at the mansion though; it was there that she met her long-time boyfriend, KISS vocalist and bassist, Gene Simmons. Shannon and Gene met in 1984, and lived together until the late '90s.
Besides the requisite string of Play.boy videos Shannon appeared in, she began to land roles in B-movies and popular television shows. In 1982, Shannon was cast in the debut season of the primetime soap Falcon Crest.
Only appearing in the first season of the series, Shannon did the TV tour throughout the '80s, guest-starring in shows like Fantasy Island, The Dukes of Hazzard, Three's A Crowd, Highway to Heaven, The Hitchhiker, L.A. Law, and 21 Jump Street. Shannon was also a season regular on Days of Our Lives in 1985.
Appearing mostly in straight-to-video films, Shannon's film resume -- consisting of more than 50 movies -- looks something like Of Unknown Origin, Hot Dog... The Movie, The Surrogate, Steele Justice, Lethal Woman, In the Cold of the Night, Code Name Vengeance, Twisted Justice, Night Visitor, Last Call, Sexual Response, Night Eyes 2, The Naked Truth, Indecent Behavior, Cold Sweat, Scorned, No Contest, Nightfire, Illicit Dreams, Hotline, Victim of Desire, Bimbo Movie Bash (starring Bill Maher and Morgan Fairchild), Forbidden Sins, The Rowdy Girls, and Diaries of Darkness.
While this may look more like Traci Lords' resume, it isn't. Apart from these B-movie erotic thrillers, Shannon's most notable roles were in 1987's Dragnet, Steele Justice (starring Sela Ward), and Meatballs III, 1988's Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death, and 1999's Detroit Rock City.
In the '90s, she joined the bevy of buxom blondes in Baywatch with a guest-appearance, and appeared on Frasier, The Howard Stern Show, Married... with Children, Wings, Nash Bridges, Pamela Anderson's V.I.P., Get Real, and The Parkers.
While Shannon and Gene Simmons never got married, they spent close to 15 years living together with their 2 children, Nicholas and Sophie.