Why Baywatch Star Mike Newman Called It Quits In Hollywood

"Baywatch" star Mike Newman, affectionately known as Newmie on the series, did not go on to have an illustrious Hollywood career. In fact, after the series ended, he led a fairly regular life. While Newman's co-stars, including Pamela Anderson and her famed red swimsuit, remained in the entertainment sector, Newman chose a different path — and for good reason. 

As a real-life lifeguard, the former "Baywatch" star went on to coach actors in other productions, including Ashton Kutcher for "The Guardian," in which he played a swimmer. Newman also found success in real estate, which he acknowledged was a much more lucrative business decision than acting, during a 2014 chat with the Daily Mail.

Newman found acting quite challenging for several reasons. When speaking with People in 2023, he shared, "You don't realize how hard it is to look natural in front of the lens and watch yourself improve and, sometimes, not improve." This might be a sign that, despite his experience as a lifeguard and firefighter, he didn't always feel at ease while the cameras were rolling.

Newman often felt underappreciated on Baywatch

When Mike Newman first joined the "Baywatch" family, in 1989, he initially worked as a technical consultant and then performed stunts. Newman was ultimately upgraded to actor and appeared in 150 episodes in his recurring role. However, there were moments when he felt his co-stars wanted him excluded from the series.

"Having to deal with the people who scratch your name out on the script and put their name on there? That kind of thing ... you never get used to that," Newman revealed to People. While he did not elaborate on which of his fellow actors subjected him to this treatment, Newman literally provided the legwork for many of David Hasselhoff's sets. 

Before he had lines to recite, Newman's legs were seen running on the beach during scenes where Hasselhoff's character, Mitch Buchannon, was headed to save a troubled beachgoer. "Most of the time, when you saw Hasselhoff's legs, you were often looking at my own legs. Hasselhoff always had very skinny chicken legs!" he regaled the Daily Mail. Nevertheless, once the show aired for the final time in May 2001, Newman stopped acting for good. 

His battle with Parkinson's derailed his plans

In 2006, Mike Newman began noticing a tremor in his left hand. He took medication to treat Parkinson's disease but wasn't actually diagnosed with the condition for a while. The Mayo Clinic defines Parkinson's as: "A progressive disorder that affects the nervous system and the parts of the body controlled by the nerves." While tremors are the most recognized symptom, Parkinson's is also marked by stiff joints, changes in speech, and impaired body movements. 

In 2011, Newman went public with his diagnosis and was optimistic that stem-cell therapy could assist him and others battling the condition. Even with the water lover still enjoying activities such as jet skiing and scuba diving, Newman has been forced to slow down due to his illness. "Everything changes. All those things that you thought you were going to do with your children and grandchildren, pictures we were going to take, all the plans I had ... stopped," he told People

The lifelong sportsman made a brief return to Hollywood in "Baywatch: The American Dream," a docuseries highlighting the popularity of the series and its cast in which he also discussed his struggle with Parkinson's. While we shouldn't expect Newman to be on television again after the special, seeing him onscreen will surely be a treat for longtime fans of the hit show.