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Former Playmates Tell Different Tales

Ed Bark The Dallas Morning News

Latently renouncing Playboy and all its evil ways, Jenny McCarthy now says her centerfold layouts and multiple nude videos were out-of-body experiences.

“Desperate” to be a model and languishing as a grocery worker, she recalls walking down the streets of Chicago and beholding “this big gold bunny.”

“And I went, ‘Jenny, no, no.’ All of a sudden my body started walking there. … That’s exactly what happened. A larger force, and I call it destiny, brought me in the door, moved my mouth, took the robe off and did it.”

Such was the twaddle coming from a recent interview session for the NBC sitcom “Jenny,” scheduled for Sundays at 8:30 p.m. this fall.

Meanwhile, an unrepentant Shannon Tweed will celebrate turning 40 with a new Playboy layout in November. And she’ll co-star this fall in “The Tom Show” (Sundays at 9 p.m.), a new WB sitcom starring Tom Arnold.

“I’m not one of those who did the magazine, then tries to hide it for the rest of your life,” Tweed says. “I continue a healthy relationship with them.”

What we have here is a telling tale of two Playboy Playmates of the Year. McCarthy, 26, did the honors in 1994, but since has excised any references to the magazine in her NBC bio.

“Immediately when you pose for Playboy, they think you’re going to get naked in anything you do, which is ridiculous,” McCarthy says. “After that, I made a vow never to do it again, because I was so humiliated.”

Tweed, the magazine’s 1982 standardbearer, begins her WB bio with, “An accomplished actress, Shannon Tweed is also one of Playboy magazine’s most famous Playmates.” Tweed’s bio, in fact, says her “exposure” as a Playmate led to mainstream TV acting roles in series ranging from “Days of Our Lives” to “L.A. Law.”

McCarthy professes to have higher aspirations than Tweed, whose films are mostly “erotic thrillers” such as “Indecent Behavior,” “Hard Vice,” “Cold Sweat” and “Intimate Delusions.”

“I did Playboy because I had to,” McCarthy says straight-faced. “I don’t consider myself at all a sexual being. You know, in Playboy, you have to feel like that’s what you want to be. … So Shannon Tweed, she’s absolutely succeeded in the B-grade movie area. And that’s what she wants. She makes millions of dollars doing it. I don’t want that. I want it all, baby.”

Tweed initially responds by sticking her tongue out and putting her finger in her nose, a la McCarthy on MTV’s Singled Out.

“I haven’t really regretted anything I’ve done professionally, because it’s all a learning experience,” she says later. “People make mistakes in their lives. Mine happen to be public.”

She is incredulous upon hearing McCarthy’s post-Playboy tale of woe. In short, McCarthy says no one would let her audition for “serious” roles, such as the boy-toy on “Singled Out,” once word got out that she’d been a Playmate. She eventually “just kind of snuck in” and got the job.

“I don’t believe her,” Tweed says.

Arnold then chimes in: “Dude, she (McCarthy) was talking about traumatic experiences. Did she mention her role in “The Stupids” (with Arnold)?”

No, she didn’t. But she feels kinda dumb for relinquishing any rights to reclaim “the 60,000 pictures they take when you’re a Playmate.”

“When you go in there, you sign on the dotted line, and they have rights forever with everything,” McCarthy says, her voice breaking. “They can use me in commercials, which they have. You give up all rights.”

Tweed is unmoved. “Who exploited whom?” she asks. “Just a second. She’s doing pretty darn well.”

Which leads this observer to deduce: There’s more truth in Shannon Tweed’s pinkie than in the sum of Jenny McCarthy’s parts.

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