Stella Stevens


Actor
Stella Stevens

About

Also Known As
Estelle Eggleston
Birth Place
Yazoo City, Mississippi, USA
Born
October 01, 1936

Biography

A popular screen siren of the early 1960s, actress Stella Stevens lent sex appeal to such popular light dramas and comedies as "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" (1963) and "The Nutty Professor" (1964) before becoming a staple of TV and low-budget films for the next three decades. Though a talented actress, especially in gentle comedies, casting agents found it difficult to see past Steve...

Photos & Videos

The Poseidon Adventure - Movie Posters
Too Late Blues - Movie Posters
Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows - Movie Poster

Family & Companions

Noble Herman Stephens
Husband
Married on September 1, 1954; divorced.

Bibliography

"Razzle Dazzle"
Stella Stevens (1999)

Biography

A popular screen siren of the early 1960s, actress Stella Stevens lent sex appeal to such popular light dramas and comedies as "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" (1963) and "The Nutty Professor" (1964) before becoming a staple of TV and low-budget films for the next three decades. Though a talented actress, especially in gentle comedies, casting agents found it difficult to see past Stevens' statuesque frame, which was the subject of three Playboy pictorials. Despite solid turns in Sam Peckinpah's "The Ballad of Cable Hogue" (1970) as Jason Robards' feisty lover and "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972), Stevens never found the proper vehicle for her abilities, and spent most of her time under the radar in episodic TV or genuinely awful films like "Monster in the Closet" (1986). Nevertheless, she continued to log appearances well into her seventh decade, which was a testimony to her professionalism, talent and apparent good humor.

Stella Stevens was born Estelle Caro Eggleston on Oct. 1, 1938, the only child of Thomas Ellett Eggleston and his wife, Dovey Estelle Caro. Sources frequently cited her birthplace as Hot Coffee, MS, but the moniker was simply a nickname for the town of Meridian, which lay near the Mississippi-Alabama border. When Stevens was four, she moved with her family to Tennessee; there she met Herman Stephens, an electrician whom she married when she was just 15. A year later, she gave birth to her only child, future actor and producer Andrew Stevens. By 17, she had divorced Stephens, but kept a modified version of his surname for her professional career. While studying medicine at Memphis State College, she became interested in acting and modeling, and was reportedly discovered while appearing in a production of "Bus Stop" at the college. Stevens signed with 20th Century Fox, which provided her film debut with "Say One for Me" (1959), a modest musical starring and produced by Bing Crosby. For her minor turn as a chorus girl, Stevens shared the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer - Female, with fellow up-and-comers Tuesday Weld, Angie Dickinson and Janet Muro.

However, the promising start led to few subsequent opportunities, and Fox dropped her after six months. Stevens turned to the burgeoning gentleman's magazine Playboy to boost her image, and in 1960, she became the publications Playmate of the Month for January. The layout, which tastefully revealed Stevens' voluptuous frame, had the desired effect, and that year, she landed the role of Appassionata von Climax in the screen version of "L'il Abner" (1960). A steady stream of television appearances, magazine layouts and features soon followed, but most emphasized Stevens' physical appeal rather than her talents. Occasionally, she received a solid vehicle for her acting skills, like "Too Late Blues" (1961), director John Cassavetes' drama about a jazz musician (Bobby Darin) who abandoned his idealistic dreams for a sultry singer (Stevens).

Stevens also had a particular gift for light comedy, as seen in her turns as a former beauty queen who caught Glenn Ford's eye in "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" (1963) and in particular, Jerry Lewis' "The Nutty Professor" (1964), where she played the comely college girl who is wooed by the smooth Buddy Love, but saw the good in his alter ego, the hapless Professor Kelp. Despite these highlights, Stevens was found mostly in ornamental roles in features like "Girls! Girls! Girls!" (1962) with Elvis Presley, which she reportedly loathed and was forced to participate in, creating much friction between her and Paramount, and "The Silencers" (1966), one of the Matt Helm spy spoofs with Dean Martin. Stevens would return to Playboy for two subsequent layouts in 1965 and 1968 to help boost her visibility.

Stevens began the 1970s with critically praised turns in Sam Peckinpah's "The Ballad of Cable Hogue" and "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972). In the former, she played a former prostitute who developed a tender romance with dogged cowboy Jason Robards, while in the latter, she was Ernest Borgnine's determined ex-streetwalker wife, who survived most of the horrors of the sinking ocean liner, only to perish in the final reel. The pictures helped to solidify the idea that Stevens was more than an attractive figure, and she worked steadily throughout the decade on television and in features, though few were as high profile as her early efforts. By the late 1970s, she had resorted to B-pictures like "The Manitou" (1978), and eventually turned to television, where she co-starred on "Flamingo Road" (NBC, 1980-82) as a kindly madam who aided series lead John Beck. In 1979, she directed a feature length documentary called "The American Heroine," about women from all walks of life, but the project was never released.

Stevens remained busy as she entered her fifth decade in the 1980s, though quality projects continued to elude actresses - particularly one-time sex symbols - of a certain age. She was a staple of episodic television, but her features had sunk to exploitative trash like "Chained Heat"(1983), a women-in-prison melodrama with Linda Blair, and direct-to-cable softcore efforts like "Body Chemistry III: Point of Seduction" (1994), many of which co-starred her son, Andrew Stevens. In 1989, he joined her for her second directorial effort, a low-budget comedy called "The Ranch," about a city slicker who turned an inherited ranch into a spa. That same year, she joined the cast of the daytime soap opera "Santa Barbara" (NBC, 1983-1994) as star Robin Mattson's troublemaking mother, Phyllis Blake. In the 1990s and 2000s, Stevens was a regular on television programs and in the occasional low-budget feature, though the 2004 horror film "Blessed," produced by her son, was a rare exception. She published her first novel, Razzle Dazzle, in 1999 and launched a line of fragrances for men and women that, like her career itself, emphasized sexiness.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

The Ranch (1989)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Glass Trap (2004)
By Dawn's Early Light (2001)
Star Hunter (1998)
Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion (1997)
Mama Max
Virtual Combat (1996)
Invisible Mom (1996)
Subliminal Seduction (1996)
The Granny (1995)
The Granny
Body Chemistry IV (1995)
Illicit Dreams (1995)
Cicily
Virtual Combat (1995)
Molly and Gina (1994)
Hard Drive (1994)
Susan
National Lampoon's Attack of the 5 Ft. 2 In. Women (1994)
Body Chemistry 3 (1994)
South Beach (1993)
Eye of the Stranger (1993)
The Nutty Nut (1992)
The Terror Within II (1991)
Last Call (1990)
Betty Dubois
Down the Drain (1990)
Mom (1990)
Beverly Hills
Exiled in America (1990)
Sonny Moore
Jake Spanner, Private Eye (1989)
Adventures Beyond Belief (1988)
Man Against The Mob (1988)
Monster in the Closet (1987)
Fatal Confession: A Father Dowling Mystery (1987)
The Longshot (1986)
A Masterpiece Of Murder (1986)
Amazons (1984)
No Man's Land (1984)
Nellie Wilder
Wacko (1983)
Chained Heat (1983)
Captain Taylor
Women of San Quentin (1983)
Lieutenant Janet Alexander
Twirl (1981)
Flamingo Road (1980)
Children of Divorce (1980)
Make Me An Offer (1980)
Deidre Price
Friendships, Secrets, and Lies (1979)
Hart to Hart (1979)
Dr Fleming
The Jordan Chance (1978)
Virna Stewart
Cruise into Terror (1978)
Marilyn Magnesun
The Manitou (1978)
Amelia Crusoe
The New Love Boat (1977)
Leonara Klopman
Murder in Peyton Place (1977)
Stella Chernak
Night They Took Miss Beautiful (1977)
Charlie Cobb: Nice Night For A Hanging (1977)
Martha Mcvea
Wanted: The Sundance Woman (1976)
Nickelodeon (1976)
Kiss Me... Kill Me (1976)
Stella Stafford
The New, Original Wonder Woman (1975)
Marcia
Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975)
Las Vegas Lady (1975)
Lucky
The Day the Earth Moved (1974)
Kate Barker
Arnold (1974)
Karen
Honky Tonk (1974)
Linda (1973)
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
Linda Rogo
Stand Up and Be Counted (1972)
Yvonne Kellerman
Slaughter (1972)
Ann [Cooper]
Climb an Angry Mountain (1972)
A Town Called Hell (1971)
In Broad Daylight (1971)
The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)
Hildy
The Mad Room (1969)
Ellen Hardy
Sol Madrid (1968)
Stacey Woodward
Where Angels Go ... Trouble Follows! (1968)
Sister George
How To Save a Marriage--And Ruin Your Life (1968)
Carol Corman
Rage (1966)
Perla
The Silencers (1966)
Gail
The Secret of My Success (1965)
Violet Lawson
Synanon (1965)
Joaney
Advance to the Rear (1964)
Martha Lou Williams
The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963)
Dollye Daly
The Nutty Professor (1963)
Stella Purdy
Too Late Blues (1962)
Jess Polanski
Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962)
Robin Gantner
Man-Trap (1961)
Nina Jameson
Say One for Me (1959)
Chorine
The Blue Angel (1959)
Member of the troupe
Li'l Abner (1959)
Appassionata Von Climax

Music (Feature Film)

The Last Shot You Hear (1969)
Composer

Cast (Special)

The 1989 Miss USA Pageant (1989)
Judge
A Table at Ciro's (1987)
Neat and Tidy (1986)
Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope's Women I Love - Beautiful but Funny (1982)
Elvis Remembered: Nashville to Hollywood (1980)
Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope's All-Star Look at TV's Prime Time Wars (1980)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

In Cold Blood (1996)
The French Atlantic Affair (1979)

Life Events

1959

Film debut, "Say One For Me"

1962

TV debut on "Johnny Ringo" episode

1971

TV film debut, "In Broad Daylight"

1979

Directed first feature-length documentary, "The American Heroine"

1981

Starred on TV series, "Flamingo Road"

1989

Directed first feature film, "The Ranch"

1996

Joined cast of ABC soap "General Hospital"

Photo Collections

The Poseidon Adventure - Movie Posters
The Poseidon Adventure - Movie Posters
Too Late Blues - Movie Posters
Too Late Blues - Movie Posters
Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows (1968), starring Rosalind Russell and Stella Stevens. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Advance To The Rear (1964) - The Whole Purpose Of This War Union Captain Heath (Glenn Ford) is upbraided by his superior, by-the-book career officer and General Brackenby (Melvyn Douglas), for rocking the boat by taking prisoners, when fighting ensues, and he has a further chat with his goofy Sergeant Davis (Alan Hale Jr.), early in the MGM Civil War comedy Advance To The Rear, 1964.
Advance To The Rear (1964) The War Won't Last Forever Briefly with Whit Bissell as Union Captain Queeg, Melvyn Douglas as Col. Brackenby and Glenn Ford as Lt. Heath, who’ve just been demoted together for screwing up and are being shipped west, meet Joan Blondell as Easy Jenny and Stella Stevens as dishy Martha Lou, whom we know to be a top Confederate spy, in the Civil War comedy Advance To The Rear, 1964.
How To Save a Marriage And Ruin Your Life (1968) - Ten After Five Playboy department store exeec Dave (Dean Martin) is wrongly advised that Carol (Stella Stevens) is his buddy's new mistress, in director Fielder Cook's comedy How To Save a Marriage And Ruin Your Life, 1968.
How To Save a Marriage And Ruin Your Life - Open, Winds of Change How 60's can you get? Ambience from the Ray Conniff Singers with Michel Legrand and Mack David's "Winds of Change," the opening to How To Save a Marriage And Ruin Your Life, 1968, starring Dean Martin and Stella Stevens.
Silencers, The (1966) - This Is Mrs. Helm Now in Phoenix, coaxed from retirement to investigate a scheme to sabotage a nuclear test, secret agent Matt Helm (Dean Martin, in his debut in the spy-comedy series) meets Stella Stevens as clumsy and under-clothed Gail, his colleague Tina (Daliah Lavi) soon arriving, Robert Webber on the poolside keyboard, in The Silencers, 1966.
Silencers, The (1966) - I Haven't Seen All Latest Models Fleeing an Acapulco night-club assassination, Matt Helm (Dean Martin) and Tina (Daliah Lavi) hustle back to the hotel to interrogate Gail (Stella Stevens) who turns out to be wearing a tear-away dress, in The Silencers, 1966.
Courtship Of Eddie's Father, The (1963) - I've Seen Too Many Rosalind Russell Pictures Their double-dates reversed at the bowling alley, New York radio host Norm (Jerry Van Dyke) with ingenuous Montanan Dolly (Stella Stevens) and his widower boss Tom (Glenn Ford) with the dignified, fetching professional fashion consultant Rita (Dina Merrill), in The Courtship Of Eddie’s Father, 1963.
Courtship Of Eddie's Father, The (1963) - May I Borrow Your Son? Eddie (Ronny Howard) picks out Dollye (Stella Stevens) who, it turns out, needs a favor from his widower father Tom (Glenn Ford), on a visit to a Manhattan arcade in Vincente Minnelli's The Courtship of Eddie's Father, 1963.
Poseidon Adventure, The (1972) - Six Hundred Pound Swordfish Priest Gene Hackman leads survivors toward the hull of the flipped ocean liner, Roddy McDowall the injured waiter, Shelley Winters and Jack Albertson the retirees, Pamela Sue Martin a frightened teen, Carol Lynley the lounge singer, Ernest Borgnine the surly cop, Stella Stevens his increasingly disrobed wife, in The Poseidon Adventure, 1972.
Ballad Of Cable Hogue, The (1970) - Two Acres At Cable Springs! Illiterate but having realized he needs to stake a claim for the watering hole he’s discovered along the statecoach route, Jason Robards Jr. (title character) does business with the land office man (Victor Izay), in Deadwood, in Sam Peckinpah’s The Ballad Of Cable Hogue, 1970.
Ballad Of Cable Hogue, The (1970) - The Ladiest Damn Lady Director Sam Peckinpah continues his prurient use of Stella Stevens as Hildy, the town prostitute in Deadwood, who has chosen to bathe Jason Robards Jr., (title character), flush after winning an investment in his stagecoach-route water station, in The Ballad Of Cable Hogue, 1970.
Poseidon Adventure, The (1972) - An Enormous Wall Of Water New Year’s eve, Leslie Nielsen at the helm as the wave hits, Shelley Winters, Jack Albertson, young Eric Shea, Carol Lynley, hip priest Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Stella Stevens among the revelers, plus director Ronald Neame’s famous skylight shot, in writer-producer Irwin Allen’s disaster hit, The Poseidon Adventure, 1972.

Trailer

Family

Thomas Eggleston
Father
Dovey Estelle Eggleston
Mother
Andrew Stevens
Son
Actor. Born in 1955 in Memphis TN.

Companions

Noble Herman Stephens
Husband
Married on September 1, 1954; divorced.

Bibliography

"Razzle Dazzle"
Stella Stevens (1999)