Claudene Christian

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Claudene Christian
Christian chats with Gerald Zwicker, one of the HMS Bounty's shipwrights
Christian chats with Gerald Zwicker, one of the HMS Bounty's shipwrights
Born(1970-10-18)18 October 1970
Died29 October 2012(2012-10-29) (aged 42)
NationalityUnited States
Known forDied when Bounty, the 1960 replica of HMS Bounty sank

Claudene Christian (October 18, 1970 – October 29, 2012)[1] was an entrepreneur, sailor, gymnast, singer and beauty queen.[2][3][4][5][6]

In August 2012 Christian was interviewed by the Halifax Chronicle Herald, after she joined the volunteer crew of a replica of the original HMS Bounty, built by MGM for a film about the mutiny. Christian was a descendant of Fletcher Christian of the original HMS Bounty.[7][8]

The vessel sailed into Hurricane Sandy and sank on October 29, 2012.[9][10] Fourteen members of the ship's complement were able to board a life raft and were saved. The Virginian-Pilot quoted United States Coast Guard Captain Joe Kelly, who described how Christian and the ship's captain Robin Walbridge were about to join the rest of the ship's complement in the life raft, when the Bounty rolled, plunging them into the ocean.[11] However, according to later accounts from the survivors, they were all thrown into the water, and had desperately swum for one of the life rafts.[12][13] Search and rescue crews from Coast Guard helicopters rescued the crew members from the life raft. When Christian was found, ten hours later, she was "unresponsive". Resuscitation was attempted, but she was pronounced dead in a shore-based hospital in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

Patrik Jonsson, writing in The Christian Science Monitor, called her death "an almost inexplicable twist on that family legacy."[14]

Athletic career[edit]

Christian was born and raised in Alaska, where she was a high school gymnast, and winner of the 1987 Miss Alaska National Teen-ager pageant.[2][3][15][16]

During her teenage years the Anchorage Daily News repeatedly mentioned Christian's theatrical and athletic performances.[17][18][19] Christian was one of the opening acts when Marie Osmond had a gig in Anchorage in 1988.[20] She competed as a gymnast, on the horse and as an athlete in a pole-vaulting team. She was also a member of her high school's cheerleading squad.

She graduated from the University of Southern California, in 1992.[9][21] She studied Sports Information there, and was also a "USC Song Girl"—what the University of Southern California calls cheerleaders.[9][21][22][23][24] She also joined the Gamma Phi Beta sorority.[25] It was while serving as a cheerleader that she founded Cheerleader Doll, a company authorized to produce dolls the size of Barbie dolls, wearing the uniforms of college cheerleading squads.

Business career[edit]

A selection of dolls sold by Christian's company, Cheerleader Doll, each wearing the uniform from a different team of cheerleaders, from different Colleges and Universities.

The dolls manufactured by Christian's company, Cheerleader Doll, were authorized to use the uniforms of approximately 150 teams.[9][21] Christian had also been a partner in a bar (Dragons)[26] in Hermosa Beach, California, and an executive at a racing track.[4][27]

In April 2002 the Metropolitan News-Enterprise reported on three intellectual property suits between Cheerleader Doll and Mattel, the manufacturer of Barbie Dolls.[28][29] Claudene Christian initiated the first lawsuit, claiming a Mattel doll of a cheerleader improperly copied a Cheerleader Doll design. Mattel was able to establish, to the court's satisfaction, that the cheerleader doll they were marketing was based on a Mattel design that preceded Cheerleader Doll's. Mattel won and Cheerleader Doll was ordered to pay $100,000. Subsequently, her father and partner, Harry Christian, initiated a second lawsuit. Christian sought 2.4 billion dollars and various forms of injunctive relief. She lost, and the district court awarded Mattel $501,565 in attorney's fees.

Singing career[edit]

Christian sang publicly extensively while a teenager in Alaska, and professionally while she lived in California.[6] She was a member of a band called Joe's Band.[30]

Bounty's owners sued for negligence[edit]

CNN reported in May 2013 that Christian's family were suing the Bounty' owners, the HMS Bounty Organization.[31][32] They claimed the Bounty was unseaworthy on its last voyage, and that the Captain and the ship's owners made the unwise decision to head into Hurricane Sandy, rather than seek the shelter of a harbor.


  1. ^ Claudene Christian Obituary Anchorage Daily News
  2. ^ a b "Cheerleader doll: my story". Archived from the original on 2012-10-30.
  3. ^ a b "West senior wins pageant". Anchorage Daily News. 1987-06-25. p. 22. Retrieved 2012-11-01.
  4. ^ a b Donna Littlejohn (2012-10-30). "Body of former resident, one of two missing crew members from HMS Bounty, recovered". The Beach Reporter. Archived from the original on 2012-11-01.
  5. ^ Ben Anderson (2012-10-29). "Former Alaskan swept from HMS Bounty becomes victim of Hurricane Sandy". Alaska Dispatch. Archived from the original on 2012-11-01.
  6. ^ a b Ed Pilolla (2012-10-30). "Hurricane Sandy claims life of former Hermosa Beach singer and entrepreneur". Easy Reader. Archived from the original on 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  7. ^ Jonsson, Patrik (30 October 2012). "HMS Bounty casualty claimed tie to mutinous Fletcher Christian". Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  8. ^ Allen, Nick (October 31, 2012). "Sandy's Bounty victim was descendent of man who led famous mutiny". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d "HMS Bounty: Captain missing after Hurricane Sandy sinks ship, 42-year-old woman identified as dead crewman". National Post. 2012-10-30. Archived from the original on 2012-11-01.
  10. ^ Anna Almendrala (2012-10-30). "Claudene Christian Dead: HMS Bounty Crew Member Found Unresponsive In Atlantic Ocean". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 2012-11-01.
  11. ^ Aaron Applegate; Dianna Cahn; Jeff Hampton (2012-10-30). "Bounty crew member dies; search continues for captain". Virginian-Pilot. Archived from the original on 2012-11-01.
  12. ^ Thom Paterson (2013). "Life & Death on the Bounty". CNN. Archived from the original on 2014-07-20. Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  13. ^ Beverly Ware (2013-02-15). "Witness recounts Claudene Christian's last minutes on Bounty". Chronicle Herald. Archived from the original on 2013-12-11. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
  14. ^ Patrik Jonsson (2012-10-31). "HMS Bounty goes down in Hurricane Sandy, takes only one soul". Alaska Dispatch. Archived from the original on 2012-11-01.
  15. ^ Doyle Woody (1984-11-02). "West gymnasts roll to tri-meet victory". Anchorage Daily News. p. 10p. Retrieved 2012-11-01.
  16. ^ Matt White (2013-02-11). "The USC Song Girl and The Sea". Los Angeles Magazine. Archived from the original on 2014-08-09. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
  17. ^ "Swinging and Swayin". Anchorage Daily News. 1984-08-14. p. 14. Retrieved 2012-11-01.
  18. ^ "Not just clownin' around". Anchorage Daily News. 1988-04-17. Retrieved 2012-11-01.
  19. ^ "Moira makes statistical gains". Anchorage Daily News. 1985-03-07. p. 9. Retrieved November 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  20. ^ Helen Bohac (1988-04-07). "'Miss Somebodies' identified". Anchorage Daily News. p. 19. Retrieved 2012-11-01.
  21. ^ a b c Dennis Romero (2012-10-30). "Claudene Christian: HMS Bounty Crew Member Was USC Grad, South Bay Local". LA Weekly. Archived from the original on 2012-11-01.
  22. ^ Jordan Moore (2012-10-30). "Hurricane Sandy Hits Trojan Family". USC Trojans. Archived from the original on 2012-11-01.
  23. ^ "Former USC song girl dies as tall ship Bounty sinks in Sandy". Los Angeles Times. 2012-10-30. Archived from the original on 2012-11-01.
  24. ^ Mark Memmott (2012-10-30). "VIDEO: Coast Guard Rescues 14 Forced By Sandy To Abandon Tall Ship". National Public Radio. Archived from the original on 2012-11-01.
  25. ^ "HMS Bounty: Woman killed on tall ship during Sandy loved adventure". Los Angeles Times. October 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-11-01.
  26. ^[permanent dead link]
  27. ^ "LANDMARK 105 FREEWAY OPENS". Daily News of Los Angeles. 1993-10-15. Retrieved 2012-11-01.
  28. ^ Kenneth Ofgang (2002-04-16). "Ninth Circuit Vacates $500,000 Sanctions Award Against Attorney in Barbie Doll Copyright Dispute". Metropolitan News Enterprise. Archived from the original on 2012-11-01.
  29. ^ Kenneth Ofgang (2002-12-17). "Toy Maker's Libel Suit Against Law Firm No SLAPP, C.A. RulesAttorney in Barbie Doll Copyright Dispute". Metropolitan News Enterprise. Archived from the original on 2012-11-01.
  30. ^ "Superstorm Sandy Claims Life of Former USC Song Girl". KTLA Los Angeles. October 30, 2012. Archived from the original on October 30, 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  31. ^ Thom Patterson (2013-05-12). "Family of killed Bounty deckhand sues shipowners". CNN. Archived from the original on 2013-12-20. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
  32. ^ Dab Bates (2013-10-21). "EXCLUSIVE: 'Get some rest, you'll need it': New book reveals last words of doomed HMS Bounty's arrogant captain who'd sailed INTO the path of Hurricane Sandy". Daily Mail. Archived from the original on 2014-08-03. Retrieved 2014-08-09.