Your Guide to the Reality of Animal Circus



"The academic panel concluded that there appears to be little evidence to demonstrate that the welfare of animals kept in travelling circuses is any better or worse than that of animals kept in other captive environments" - Executive Summary of the DEFRA Circus Working Group 2007

Join us on Facebook The WELFARE of Circus animals.

Monday, 31 December 2012

ASPCA Pays $9.3 Million in Landmark Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Settlement

On 28th December, "Marketwatch" reports that Feld Entertainment, who run Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, have scored another victory over the animal rights movement. This very welcome news further exposes the truth about a nefarious movement that uses unjust means to further its own radical agenda:

More things in common...

RSPCA official charity logo
RSPCA official charity logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Rouster is not usually one to push a story by the Daily Mail. This tabloid rag that masquerades as middle-brow journalism has been responsible for many unfair and unbalanced reports on animals in entertainment, and often shows shocking examples of its own double-standards within short spaces of time. However, this weekend's story reveals something that Rouster has known and been trying to put across for a very long time. 

The RSPCA has never been Rouster's favourite "Animal Welfare" charity. Unlike many other very reputable non-profit animal welfare charities, the organization's stance has been far too political for our tastes. Their unwavering position against wild animals in circuses - despite numerous inspectors finding nothing wrong with travelling circuses, their own commissioned investigation coming out in favour of animals in circuses and in opposition to the overwhelming evidence contradicting their own self proclaimed "scientific" opinion -  obviously pits them directly against our own philosophy. However, they are generally considered to be the lesser of our threats. Unlike, PETA, ADI, HSUS, CAPS and so on, the RSPCA can still just about be seen as an Animal Welfare group, rather than Animal Rights. We believe that, on the whole, they don't muddy the water and a lot of their principles make good sense. They advocate good animal care as opposed to the AR stance of eventual abolition of the human/non-human animal bond. They don't want the world to turn vegan, pet ownership to cease and they are not voicing any opposition to animals in entertainment generally - just the bizarre anti-circus stance.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Christmas And It's Panto Time



Christmas is a time for traditional seasonal entertainment and in the UK pantomime is very popular and it can feature artists from all walks of the entertainment business including stars of the stage and screen and most recently winners of talent contests enjoying their “15 minutes of fame”.

One such artist is Ashleigh Butler and her performing dog Pudsey.  The success of this act - that won Britian's Got Talent - confirmed the love the British still seem to have for talented performing animals

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Travelling Further up the Wedge and Down the Slope

Animallib
Animallib (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The tactic is well-known by the minority of people - on both sides of the debate - who are plugged into the animal rights agenda: the more ground you give, the more ground is demanded. Bit by the bit, animal rights ideas are fed into the mainstream consciousness and result in illogical decisions being made about animals in captivity.

Back in December 2011, Rouster columnist, Gordon Bysshe wrote about how the prejudice against animal circuses was just the beginning:  A Slippery Slope Down the Big Top? (click here)

Here, John Dineley explains how the gradual phasing out of elephants from zoos resembles the same thing that happened with dolphins. Both instances have very little to do with conservation or welfare and everything to do with the pressure being exerted by the politics and pseudo-philosophy of the animal rights movement:  ZOOS AND THE TROJAN DOLPHIN? (click here)

Friday, 30 November 2012

Not Taking Animals Much Into Account

Humane Watch provides more undeniable evidence damning the reputation of the world's largest animal rights organization, the Humane Society of the United States. As the name implies, Humane Watch keeps a close eye on the activities of this activist behemoth that donates less than 1% of its over one and a half million dollar revenue, mainly made up of legacies and donations left by what Rouster believe to be well-meaning and misguided individuals, intending their gifts to go to animal shelters

Leveson too Late for Circuses?


Rouster welcomes, in principle, the findings of the Leveson report released yesterday by Lord Justice Leveson.

We are made up of a group of professionals firmly rooted in the core values of democracy. Consequently, we support the freedom of the press. Equally, however, we believe that the circus industry has been denied a fair voice in the media for too long. It is our aspiration to change this.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Know your enemy - Animal Defenders International



Animal Defenders International have risen to prominence over the last two decades. Despite having a rather radical agenda that is firmly in line with the ideals of animal rightism, the group seems to be relatively immune to the sort of bad publicity that abounds on other animal rights organisations such as the Humane Society for the United States (HSUS) or People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Why is this? This is as much a legitimate question as it is a rhetorical one.


Friday, 23 November 2012

Trial by Media.. and what the papers didn't tell you







As news stations and newspapers fall over themselves to report on the verdict of the Bobby Roberts case, the judge presiding over the case expressed a different type of excitement. Animal Defenders International (ADI) will, no doubt, mark this case down as a victory and the result would seem to indicate that they are justified. Jan Creamer, President and founder of Animal Defenders International, will decry the sentence given by the judge, as she did with the Mary Chipperfield case. Bobby Roberts received no fine, no costs and the judge dismissed any suggestion of Bobby Roberts not being able to keep animals, in the future.

ADI will undoubtedly use this as yet another example of how the law is unfair on animals and how organisations such as theirs need to be 'out there', continuing to fight the cause. "Please send your money to..." and you know all the rest. However, what Creamer and ADI won't be publicising is the way the judge viewed them.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Terrorism begins at home.


I get incredibly irritated by the anti-piracy ads at the front of DVDs.  “Movie piracy funds the drug trade, terrorism and every horrible thing that goes on in the streets.”  Come on, give me a break.  If you can’t make money out of trafficking drugs and weapons, you are clearly a moron and selling a few grainy copies of “Twilight” isn’t going to save you.

However, many of us, if not most of us, are directly or indirectly funding terrorism.  Yes, you too, probably.  I’m not joking.  Do you care about animals?  Do you get sad at Christmastime and fall for those television ads with the sad donkeys staring straight into your soul, the kittens in the rain, and so on?  Do you feel compelled to put a pound in a tin, buy a calendar or cards, set up a direct debit, or do your bit in some way?  Then you may well be sponsoring terrorism, at home and abroad.

It is now a well-known fact that some so-called animal charities do not match the picture that most of us have in our head.  For me, an animal charity should concern itself with stopping animal abuse and neglect; it should encourage the spread of information on proper animal care; it should help raise the bar for animal welfare standards; and, when necessary, it should help the courts with the fair prosecution of those people who mistreat animals. 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Don't even ask me about Azaleas!


I have worked with animals for longer than I care to admit in public.  Yet, during all those years I have discovered only one universal truth about animal training: that there is only one thing two animal trainers are likely to agree on, and that’s the fact that a third animal trainer is dead wrong.

No two animal training experts agree on all subjects.  There are countless schools of thoughts about how animals should best be trained, that’s true, and the most commonly accepted methods have changed over the years.  Generally speaking, the tendency in the Western world has been to shift towards “gentler” methods.  Just as our society in general has become less accepting of violence in the home, oppression in the work place and so on, we demand a kinder treatment for animals.  This is also possibly a reflection of the fact that for most of us, animals are a luxury, an addition to our life, rather than a necessity.  Not so long ago, when we relied on animals to perform tasks for us, people tended to have a less lenient view of their misbehaviour, and take sterner steps to control it.  Times move on, life changes and so do our ethics.  Our legislation, as legislation does, has followed suit, and the Animal Welfare Act of 2006 places serious responsibilities on all people who care for animals.

Friday, 14 September 2012

CAPS Not As Expert As They Think





If one didn’t need an example of the kind of parallel universe that the self confessed vegan supporting, animal-rights group, The Captive Animal Protection Society (CAPS) lives in, then look no further than its recent comments on Facebook regarding the new UK wild animal circus regulations.

“…big mammals are allowed in circuses all across the UK and Ireland. In fact, Defra's proposed licensing regulations for England would allow the reintroduction of animals that haven't been seen in UK circuses for years, such as primates, bears and cetaceans. This is why legislative bans are so important - without formal action, the gates are well and truly open for continued exploitation of animals such as the elephants pictured above.”

Far be it for us to correct CAPS and leave them to continue to make their many inaccurate statements revealing how little they really do know about the welfare of zoo animals; despite the fact that they present themselves as "experts" in this field when commenting to the UK government as they recently did HERE.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Britain's got Talented Liars

circus
circus (Photo credit: fsse8info)
Our country is known worldwide for its love of animals.  In fact, we can be proud of the fact that the world’s first animal welfare charity, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which later on became the RSPCA, was established in this country in 1824.  The love and respect for animals and their needs is a quintessential part of our culture and is reflected both in our animal welfare legislation and in the way people interact with animals on a daily basis.

I have been working with dogs for years, and still people take me by surprise with their extreme kindness towards their pets.  I have several elderly customers, not in the best of health, who take their equally elderly dogs out on strollers so they can enjoy a nice walk without overexerting themselves.  I know plenty of ladies who perm and dye their own hair at home but fork out every month for their dogs to have “a proper groom”, because they “deserve it”.  In fact, I’m willing to bet that a good proportion of my doggy customers eat better than their owners, and definitely better than me.  Let’s face it; most of us are animal-mad here.  We treat our animals well, and expect other people to maintain the same high standards with their animals.


Monday, 6 August 2012

Going for Gold but not in Kilmarnock.


 
Just when you thought that things could not get any worse for circuses in the United Kingdom we now have the famous Zippos Circus announcing that it will be its last time performing on council land in Kilmarnock, Scotland. This is due to the fact that East Ayrshire Council has decided to ban all circuses with animals from its land

Friday, 22 June 2012

Britain's Got Talent, and Strange Bedfellows Too

In recent decades the Circus community has been plagued by false accusations of animal abuse and mistreatment.  Animal Rights organisations such as PETA, CAPS and Born Free, as well as allegedly more moderate Animal Welfare organisations such as the RSPCA have ganged up to vilify a whole industry and community.  At the bottom of these brutal campaigns is the claim that “travelling circuses, by their very nature, cannot meet the welfare needs of wild animals”.

This is despite the fact that the only independent scientific study of Animal Welfare in Circus, carried out by Dr Marthe Kiley-Worthington and commissioned by the RSPCA and UFAW (Universities Federation for Animal Welfare) demonstrated that “circuses do not by their nature cause suffering and distress in animals”.


The fact is that while thousands of people are taken to court by the RSPCA every year, no British Circus has ever been convicted of animal cruelty.


The campaigns conveniently ignore both the facts and the studies, and continue their harassment of animal circuses and their public.  Animal circuses are routinely subjected to verbal abuse, death threats, vandalism and theft.  The animals themselves are often subjected to cruel stunts by activists seeking to disrupt the shows – activists letting off fireworks near circus horses now happens so regularly as to be almost routine.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

More Voices from the Sidelines...

"circus"
"circus" (Photo credit: thaiz_mm)
This month Rouster praises two journalists for having the courage to take a look at the "pro" side of the animal circus debate. It would appear that June is not the month to be advocating that side from a media point of view. One year ago back bench politicians voted in favour of a ban on the use of wild animals in UK circuses. I won't go into details about the unfairness of this particular "debate". You have only to consult our list of articles and essays on the right hand side of this blog to see what happened in a so-called democratic country. This is also the month that saw the beginning of Animal Defenders International's ludicrous case against Bobby and Moira Roberts.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Who wants to CAP the fun at the Olympics?

200
200 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Somewhere near the top of Rouster's main objectives is to bring public attention to the fact that the animal rights agenda affects us all. Today's press release from the CAPS (Captive Animal Protection Society) shows that the AR agenda will only settle for the total ban on animals in live events. This shameless publicity stunt, supposedly in response to CAPS members pressuring their leaders to do something about director Danny Boyle's intentions to recreate a farm landscape for the opening ceremony, has made it into the mainstream press. CAPS have already started a petition to prevent the use of live animals taking place. Interestingly the RSPCA (famous AW/AR fence-sitters and opponents to wild animals in circus) have been actively engaged in addressing welfare concerns with the various farmyard animals used in Boyle's production. With a bit of luck this entire episode could highlight the clear difference between animal welfare, which promotes the responsible use of non-human animals by humans, with the radical agenda of the animal rights movement.

If anyone was in any doubt that CAPS, Viva! and others in the animal rights movement do not have other animal institutions in their sites aside from wild animal circuses, this statement from CAPS director, Liz Tyson says it all: "We are calling on the Olympic organisers to step in and ensure that the use of live animals does not happen". 




 Astley's Legacy was formed to counter the misinformation and propaganda spread by animal rights activists. As well as fighting the corner for circus animals and their trainers, we are here to promote and celebrate the cultural heritage of circus in general, and especially in the country of its birth - Great Britain. For more information please see our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/223570581049199/

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Saturday, 26 May 2012

How Long Will Britain’s Have Talent?




The final of the television talent show “Britain’s Got Talent” announced its winner “via popular public vote” and it was the human-animal duo of Ashleigh and Pudsey the dog who won.  Thus demonstrating very clearly that, despite the claims of the highly vocal animal-rights groups, the British public still has a clear affection for performing animal acts. Although the most disturbing thing about this is that if Ashleigh and Pudsey’s performance had taken place within the context of a circus it is possible that the reaction would not have been as supportive.

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Hitman and Fur

There was a time when informing a largely ignorant general public that animal rights activists regularly occupy the top spot of FBI's "Most Wanted" domestic terrorists prompted shock. It was a good card that Rouster liked to play when they wanted to cut to the chase in explaining the dangers posed by those who believe in a policy where all animal usage by humans - from hunting to research to manufacturing to pet ownership - is criminal exploitation. However, this fact, which stirred up anti-animal rights groups in the 1990s, but didn't really impact on the general public, had almost become something of a joke in the eyes of some media commentators. "Balanced" documentaries began to emerge in the 2000s that implied the FBI's decision to place animal rights activists in the same league as white supremacist action groups was something of an over-reaction. After all the FBI have not been above such over-reactions and many would argue outright distractions. In the 1930s FBI founder J.E. Hoover's decision to list bank robbers like John Dillinger and Ma Barker as "public enemy number ones" whilst publicly denying the existence of the rapidly rising American Mafia.

There have been incidents, where "harmless" activists or supporters seem to have been hounded by the feds and unfairly treated. This, of course, is wonderful material for those animal rightists who lean heavily on sexy anti-establishment politics. However, one needs to take a step back and look at the whole animal rights picture to get a better idea of what we are dealing with. Are these concerns legit?

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Elephant Hind Leg Myth - Debunked!

The tide of collective human emotion is a strange and unpredictable thing. It sweeps one way, seemingly bringing joy and wonderment for many years and then, suddenly, it sweeps another way inspiring pity and pathos - sometimes, all around a single issue. Some people think in pictures and this is an image that can illicit the most polarized of views one can imagine. For as long as there have been performing elephants, the "trick" or behaviour of having these huge land mammals stand on their hind legs has been a regular mainstay of most routines. It is an impressive sight; a huge hulking animal exhibiting amazing balancing ability. Animal trainers have further extended this skill by having their charges perform other balancing skills, standing on various objects and even on one leg. Audiences were and still are awed by these feats. However, over time, the very concept of having an elephant stand on its hind legs has also become a regular feature of animal rights propaganda.  Unfortunately there is strong evidence that the idea that an elephant standing on its hind legs is an unnatural and damaging action has permeated some of our media.

Friday, 30 March 2012

The "ethical question"

The Journal of EthicsThe Journal of Ethics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)To put it mildly, the "ethical question" about animals in Circus scares the life out of me.  Let me put you in the picture, just in case you missed the story unfolding:


1990. Dr Marthe Kiley-Worthington, one of the worlds foremost animal behaviour experts, publishes a book titled “Animals in Circuses and Zoos: Chiron’s world?” .  “Chiron was a centaur, half man half horse, symbolising the joining together of humans and animals. Is this close relationship what is happening, or what could happen, between people and animals in circuses and zoos?”  The book contains the results of an 18-month scientific study of circus animals, in comparison with animals in zoos and in the wild, commissioned by the RSPCA and UFAW (Universities Federation for Animal Welfare).  The summary of the results is as follows:

“After 3000 hours of scientific observation of animals and many visits to circuses and zoos, including training, travel and performance, Dr Kiley-Worthington concludes that, while there are improvements that must be made, circuses do not by their nature cause suffering and distress in animals. She states, "On balance, I do not think that the animals best interests are necessarily served by money and activities diverted to try and ban circuses and zoos either locally or nationally. What is much more important is to continue to encourage the zoos and circuses to improve their animal welfare along the lines recommended."”

Friday, 23 March 2012

The House Divided & Sanity from the Sidelines

circuscircus (Photo credit: fsse8info)Rouster does not wish to waste our reader's precious time drawing more attention to a certain individual who has used the unfortunate predicament animal circuses in the UK currently face to bolster their own business. It saddens (although doesn't surprise) Rouster to see said individual, who freely admits to having made his name and fortune through animal circuses, now being championed by the likes of CAPS and the animal rights movement in general as they fight
their "cause".

Britain's Shame - A Reader's Reflection

MONTE CARLO, MONACO - JANUARY 18:  Princess St...MONTE CARLO, MONACO - JANUARY 18: Princess Stephanie of Monaco sits astride an elephant from the American circus troupe ahead of the 35th edition of the Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival on January 18, 2011 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. The International Circus Festival will be held between January 20 to January 30, 2011. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)There is little doubting that British animal circuses are in the darkest days of their 244 year old existence. A ban on wild animals in circus in the UK seems imminent. Despite eventually agreeing to government enforced regulations - something the Association of Circus Proprietors have been pushing for over the past 20 years or so - the UK coalition government has issued a statement that it intends to ban the use of wild animals in circuses by 2015. In a outrageous ministerial statement the government has admitted they cannot enforce a ban based on a system of logic and rationality, science, so they now wish to proceed anyway and base their argument on "ethics". We will, no doubt, come to this very dark moment in British politics again on this blog.

Invented in the UK as a new type of equestrian show and eventually merged with wild animal menageries street theatre the traditional circus became a global phenomenon that captured the imagination of virtually every country in the world.  It is part of Americana in the United States and has had a place in the hearts of Canadians and South Americans since the 19th century. In Japan huge six pole Big Tops cram in packed houses, as queues encircle the gigantic grounds that are booked for engagements that last months on end.  Today animal circus is revered and protected as an art-form in most of Western Europe. Bans have encroached on some countries, such as Greece, where a cynic might regard this drastic piece of legislation to be something of a diversionary tactic when one considers the problems that particular country faces. However, in France, Spain and Italy the circus still stands strong and it is on that little principality set between France and Italy, Monaco, where the anonymous writer of this following reflective and heartfelt piece finds their inspiration...

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Deconstructing the labels by Anna Webb

Anna Webb returns to the fore with a vengeance in this excellent analysis of the meaningless yet emotive language animal rights and pseudo-animal welfare groups use to reel in public support. The issue of language is an important once when it comes to the animal rights movement and Rouster is very intrigued by the reference to George Orwell in this essay. Orwell, of course, saw language as a means to influence and control people. In "1984", for example, "Newspeak", coupled with "Double Think", was created so that the masses found it hard to express themselves in anyway outside of the ruling government's philosophy. In "Animalscam" Kathleen Marquardt wrote about the way animal rights groups purposefully created phrases like "companion animal" instead of "pet", and used words like "murder" to describe any sort of killing of an non-human animal. However, this essay takes a look  the reality behind the very labels these groups use...
 
Orwell said in his essay “Politics and the English Language" that “political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness”.  It is “designed to ... give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”  This phenomenon, while being particularly prominent in strictly political speech, is also present in all sorts of partisan slogans.  It is a fact that there is a fine line, sometimes, between words meaning a great deal and them meaning absolutely nothing.  I am not talking about garden-variety sloppy writing as the result of sloppy thinking.  I am talking about a deliberate abuse of language to create meaningless but indisputable sound-bites.  If you want to know what’s in the tin, you need to de-construct the label.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Child Exploitation Part II

English: Photograph from the records of the Na...Image via Wikipedia
In the blog last year Rouster pointed out the double standards shamelessly exhibited by animal rights groups such as CAPS  who are prepared to claim that performing animals are exploited, but seem not to be concerned with the exploitation of naïve young children to further their political aspirations. Recently yet another disturbing example has been brought to our attention.  The video below shows yet another enthusiastic animal rights activist parent not adverse to exploiting their children in the interests of furthering their own agenda.

Whilst not condoning the apparent abuse of these animals seen on the video Rouster's attention from the issue is distracted by a different kind of abuse on display. 

Clearly scripted and prepared for the shoot, this poor young girl is being coerced by her parents and pushed into a bad emotional state. One has to wonder at the motivations behind this very cynical exercise and why the parents did not make the video themselves.

Not surprisingly this individual has blocked any comment on the You Tube page and as always hides behind a pseudo name.


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Friday, 6 January 2012

A Simple Point, A Fair Deal

Humane Watch is a major critic of the world's largest animal rights organization, the Humane Society of the United States. We know that animal rights philosophy is not founded any real rational argument. It's an argument to emotion and at worst is anti-human. However, the other major evil regarding the business of animals rights - and I do mean "business" - is that in addition to inciting violence and pushing radical views the top organizations don't seem to actually do much to actually save and protect animals. They accumulate a fortune in donations, but very little of it seems to go back into actively caring for animals.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Rouster’s Top 10 Hypocritical Anti-Circus Celebrities (Number 4)

Released into the public domain by PETA.Image via Wikipedia 
Steve-O 

15% of the vote

Who? 

Steve-O is a celebrated stunt performer. He made his name through the phenomenally successful MTV show, “Jackass”, which inspired the craze of filming amateur pranks, stunts and self-inflicting injuries. His entire career has been based off his time in this series and the feature film spin-offs.  Since he “Jackass” days Steve-O has generally been featured in reality TV shows and even had his own TV show, “Dr Steve-O”. He is known for anarchic and manic – which, of course, translates as “cool” to his target young audience – image. He has been arrested on many occasions for drugs-related charges, as well as violations of obscenity laws (most notably stapling his scrotum to his leg) and for charges of assault. He has also spent time in mental institutions. All of this notoriety has obviously helped keep him in the public eye and his products selling. 

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Austrian Court Decision on Animals in Circuses Does Not Decide European Question

Circus Krone main entrance in Halle(Saale)Image by gynti_46 via Flickr Below you will find the European Circus Association's response to the Austrian Constitutional Court ruling on a ban on wild animals in circuses. 
In a decision published on 21 December 2011, the Austrian Constitutional Court ruled that Austria’s ban on “wild” animals in the circus does not violate the Austrian Constitution. The court did not decide the legality of the ban under European law, which requires that Member States of the European Union use the least restrictive means possible to achieve their objectives when governmental legislation impacts freedom of services and functioning of the internal market. Whether the Austrian ban violates European law is a matter that is ultimately for the European Court of Justice to decide.

Surprised! by Humane Watch

On 8th December 2011 Rouster reported on Humane Watch's current awareness campaign. They revealed in an editorial in "The Animal Finder's Guide" journal that according to their published accounts less 1% of the money raised by the Humane Society of the United States goes into local pet shelters. Most is absorbed into administration or in their high profile campaigns against circuses and other animal businesses. Rouster is very pleased with the below advert too. Please feel free to distribute:


 http://humanewatch.org/

Astley's Legacy was formed to counter the misinformation and propaganda spread by animal rights activists. As well as fighting the corner for circus animals and their trainers, we are here to promote and celebrate the cultural heritage of circus in general, and especially in the country of its birth - Great Britain. For more information please see our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/223570581049199/
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Rouster's Top 10 Hypocritical Anti-Circus Celebrities (Number 5)

Cover of "I Dreamed of Africa"Cover of I Dreamed of Africa
Kim Basinger – 12% of the vote

Who?

Born to showbusiness parents, Basinger began her career as a model, then became a regular on TV ads and finally began her TV acting in the mid-70s. She appeared nude in Playboy to promote non-Eon produced James Bond film “Never Say Never Again” in 1983, in which she starred in her breakout role as a Bond girl. Other film opportunities followed, including the erotic drama “9½ Weeks”, where she starred alongside Mickey Rourke. The film was a commercial flop and received a lukewarm reception from critics, but the film’s cult status on video rental ensured Basinger’s star appeal. She now became known as a cinematic sex symbol for the 1980s, appearing in such comedy romances as “Nadine” and “Blind Date”. She finished off the decade in one of her most famous roles as Vicki Vale, the love interest in Tim Burton’s 1989 blockbuster “Batman”. Her last major success was in 1997’s “L.A. Confidential”, where she won the most prestigious award in her acting career, an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.