About Stella Stevens
Stella Stevens (born October 1, 1938) is an American film, television and stage actress, who began her acting career in 1959 and starred in such popular films as The Nutty Professor, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, The Silencers, The Ballad of Cable Hogue and The Poseidon Adventure.
She has also been a film producer, director and pin-up girl.
Born Estelle Caro Eggleston in Yazoo City, Mississippi, the only child of Thomas Ellett Eggleston and Dovey Estelle (née Caro), at the age of 18 she married electrician Noble Herman Stephens on December 1, 1954, probably in Memphis, Tennessee. They had one child (her only child), actor/producer Andrew Stevens, née Herman Andrew Stephens. The couple divorced three years later, although she and her son retained a variation of his surname as their own professional surnames.
Stevens was first under contract to 20th Century-Fox, but was dropped after six months. After winning the role of "Appassionata Von Climax" in the musical Li'l Abner (1959), she signed a contract with Paramount Pictures (1959-1963) and later Columbia Pictures (1964-1968). She shared the 1960 Golden Globe Award for "Most Promising Newcomer - Female", with Tuesday Weld, Angie Dickinson and Janet Munro for Say One For Me.
When high-speed Ektachrome film was introduced in 1959, Stevens was the first person ever photographed for a formal portrait by the light of a single candle and several reflectors for the cover of a photography magazine.
In 1960 she was Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Month for January (and had featured pictorials in 1965 and 1968). Stevens was in the 100 sexiest stars of the 20th century (#27). During the 1960s she was one of the ten most photographed women in the world, carving herself a distinctive "sex kitten" niche that was quite distinct from the overwhelming sexpot image of Marilyn Monroe and the numerous Monroe clones of the period.
In 1962 Stevens starred opposite Elvis Presley in Girls! Girls! Girls!. Later that year she portrayed Jerry Lewis' love interest in The Nutty Professor. This was followed by other comic turns as the former "Miss Montana" beauty queen in Vincente Minnelli's The Courtship of Eddie's Father and opposite Dean Martin in the "Matt Helm" spy spoof The Silencers, plus How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life. Stevens was featured in Sam Peckinpah's western The Ballad of Cable Hogue in 1970 with Jason Robards, for which she got very good reviews. In 1972 she appeared in Irwin Allen's The Poseidon Adventure as "Linda Rogo" (the ex-hooker wife of Ernest Borgnine's character).
Stevens has appeared in many television shows. An early appearance was in the Bonanza episode "Silent Thunder", playing a deaf mute (the episode aired in December 1960), a role she played with exceptional charm and to critical acclaim. She was a regular on the 1981-82 primetime soap opera Flamingo Road. She teamed with the late Sandy Dennis in a touring production of an all-female version of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple, playing the Oscar Madison character. She had a contract role on NBC's daytime drama Santa Barbara as Phyllis Blake from 1989 to 1990. Stevens produced and directed two films, The Ranch (1989) and The American Heroine (1979).
In the late 1970s, Stevens moved to the small town of Twisp, Washington, and opened an art gallery.