Leonardo DiCaprio: Your Basic 'Baywatch' Reject

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He may be Leonardo DiCaprio: lover of supermodels, A-list favorite of Martin Scorsese; but once upon a time, DiCaprio was just a struggling actor who got dissed by "Baywatch." It was 1991, just before he would draw our eyes away from Kirk Cameron on "Growing Pains" and long before he would make "Titanic" soar even as it sunk, when DiCaprio auditioned to play the son of David Hasselhoff's Mitch Buchannon. And he lost.

Side note: Yes, this is old news. But it's summer and you're exhausted from the long weekend celebrating the July 4th holiday, so it's totally OK to read about "Baywatch" — maybe even helpful.

Hasselhoff told Movieline in 2012 he thought it was meant to be: "It was the best thing to happen to Leonardo DiCaprio. I saw Leonardo DiCaprio and I said, 'You know what? That was the best thing that ever happened to you! You would have never gotten "Titanic" and have been this big star. You'd be like Jeremy Jackson and David, looking for work.'"

Jeremy Jackson = the guy who actually did play Mitch's son Hobie and now is slightly less successful than the upcoming "Wolf of Wall Street," which gives him time to tell Howard Stern about working on those night moves with "Baywatch" guest star Michelle Williams back in the '90s.

Casting director Susan Glickman totally concurred with Hoff and elaborated for Esquire's "Baywatch: The Oral History" piece: "The funny thing is Leonardo DiCaprio came in and read and was brilliant and fabulous. Then they decided that David didn’t want to have a son that was that old — he was about four years older than Jeremy, I think. So Leo could have been Hobie, but that wasn't in the cards. If he had been two years younger, his whole career would have been ruined. He would've been on 'Baywatch.'"

"Baywatch" can ruin your career and your wardrobe. Just read what happened to "American Pie" funny guy Sean William Scott at his audition (hint: mugging, shirt literally stolen off back).

Now that you've whetted your syndicated surf show palate, we suggest adding "Baywatch: The Oral History" to your summer reading list. "Baywatch" was made in the USA, which means learning why Teri Hatcher and Neve Campbell also got blown off by "Baywatch" is kind of a wet, hot American summer sort of thing to do.

But honestly, it's probably been too long since you thought about Billy Warlock's swim trunks, and that's just as good a reason to revisit the half-naked '90s.

Check out "Baywatch" photos: