Born in 1959, Victoria lived in the shadow of her tormented aunt. Marlene was convinced her daughter could avoid schizophrenia only if she became an extreme extrovert. So Victoria was banished from doing any "woman's work," her mom says — no household chores or cooking.

She became attached to her dad, a physical-education teacher at North Glades Elementary, near Carol City, where they lived. Jim Jackson believed his family had a gene that inclined them toward obesity. "He said I was 'genetically inferior,'" Victoria says. "I think it made me nuts. That's probably where my eating disorders came from."

Her childhood was spent on balance beams and parallel bars. From age four she could do a handstand, a move that would make her famous on SNL.

Nearly every hour that wasn't spent in school or church, she practiced in their yard or at a nearby gym. She would tumble on gravel until her hands were bloody. "I did not like gymnastics at all," Victoria says. "My hands were ripped. My hip bones had bruises on them. My knees are permanently injured. My neck got cracked once. I mean, doing 200 sit-ups is not fun."

Her brother, Jim Jr., one year younger, was too introspective and ruminative for his dad. "We thought he was stupid," Jim Sr. says of his son, who is now a Los Angeles architect. The kid's crime: being born after Victoria, making him too small for Dad's elaborate male-and-female gymnastic routine called adagio. "I was a disappointment at birth," Jim Jr. says.

Her brother says the children were trapped in their father's cinema-inspired fantasy world. Jim Sr. had Victoria flip through rings of fire. Or Jim Jr. would hang upside down over a burning log while she threw torches at it. "The flames started licking at my hair," the son recalls. "I was frozen stiff, frightened out of my mind."

In 1974, Jim Sr. paid $52,000 for a more upscale, three-bedroom place in Miami Shores. Victoria, a cheerleader at the private high school Dade Christian, dated a perfectly postured Baptist boy named William Paul Wessel, who was so strait-laced he carried a briefcase to class. By the time she graduated in 1977, Saturday Night Live had premiered its star-making rookie cast, including Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase and John Belushi.

She had never watched the show. The family had no TV set. The only movies she knew were The Sound of Music and The Love Bug. When her dad asked what she wanted to do with her life, she remembers earnestly replying, "I'd like to be Julie Andrews on the top of a mountain singing with my children in matching outfits with a ukulele."

But freed from her dad, the gymnastics Gestapo, "Vicky went a little crazy," her brother says. She broke up with her beau, Paul, and bounced from Broward's Florida Bible College to South Carolina's Furman University to Auburn University in Alabama. The summer before her senior year, she took up an art she had been raised to believe was one step above the occult: theater.

It was at a rehearsal in Birmingham for Meet Me in St. Louis that her impromptu acrobatics and helium voice caught the attention of the production's celebrity draw. Johnny Crawford had played Chuck Connors' son on the TV Western The Rifleman twenty years earlier. Intrigued, he took Victoria to lunch, and on the way, she did a handstand on a fire hydrant and a tractor tire. Jeez, Crawford recalls thinking. There's nothing like this girl. "I felt like I had discovered something really special."

When he offered her a one-way plane ticket, she quit school to crash at his place in the Hollywood Hills. (Victoria finally got her bachelor's degree in theater in 2010 at Palm Beach Atlantic University.) She was the impossibly high-pitched queen in a production of Hamlet at the Variety Arts Center in downtown LA, and Crawford introduced her to his friend Hugh Hefner. At the Playboy mansion, Victoria stood on her head and recited poetry while half-naked Bunnies looked at her quizzically.

That strange shtick became Victoria Jackson's comedy act. She was upside down, warbling a song about a mugger, when screen agent Dolores Robinson first saw her in a tiny upscale Beverly Hills wine bar called Englander's. "I'd never seen anything like her before," Robinson says.

"Some people thought I was a genius," Victoria recalls. "Some people thought I was retarded."

Now that she's a Fox News proselytizer, there's an element of heavy-handed parable to Victoria's life story: good girl corrupted by Hollywood. And it's no mystery in what role she has cast Nelson "Nisan" Eventoff, whom she met when she was 22 years old. She used to publicly refer to him — until he threatened to sue her for it — only as "Satan."

They worked the same venues. He was a fire-eater who played the piano in blackface. She was smitten. Victoria claims Nisan rolled the first joint she ever smoked. "It made me very creative, horny and paranoid," she says. Then he brought her to the Silver Lake home he shared with several other hippies, dogs, finches and a ferret. There she lost her virginity to the fire-eater.

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