Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Stella (Stevens)!

Happy birthday wishes go out today for one of my favorite actresses, Ms. Stella Stevens!
Estelle Caro Eggleston was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, which is famous for Yellow Fever outbreaks. Her early years are clouded in mystery, just like Jesus Christ, but a couple of months after turning 18 she got married to an electrician whose last name was Stephens, and had her only child, who turned out to be the actor and producer Andrew Stevens. She divorced Stephens three years later, but retained a variation of his last name as her and her son's last name: Stevens. No one knows where the Stella came from, but I like it.
While studying medicine at Memphis State College she decided to give acting a try and in 1959 got the part of "Appassionata Von Climax" for the musical Li'l Abner, after which she was signed by Paramount Pictures. In 1960 she shared a Golden Globe Award for "Most Promising Newcomer - Female", with Tuesday Weld, Angie Dickinson, and Janet Munro for her portrayal of Chorine in the film, "Say One for Me," her very first movie (made in 59), which starred Bing Crosby and Debbie Reynolds.
That same year she made a interesting and bold move which a lot of guys... and I'm not saying I was one of them... but I'm not saying I wasn't either, have celebrated ever since (give me a break I was only 4 freaking years old at the time!). She became the Playboy Playmate for January, always one of my favorite months. "During the 1960s, she was one of the ten most photographed women in the world, carving herself a distinctive 'sexy kitten' niche which was quite distinct from the overwhelming sexpot image of Marilyn Monroe and the numerous Monroe clones of the period." -Wikipedia
Anyway, she survived that ordeal and went on to make more films. She displayed real talent, especially for comedy. I think I fell in love with her after watching her with Jerry Lewis in "The Nutty Professor," but it could have happened after watching any number of her movies, she was (and is) so good. It could have happened after watching "Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows," which is pretty weird because she plays a nun in that one.
Anyway, she played opposite Elvis Presley in "Girls! Girls! Girls!" (which was a real rip off because the story didn't have anything to do with girls! It was about a penniless fisherman who loves his life on the sea and dreams of owning his own boat, so stay away from that one, dear readers). She was a former "Miss Montana" in "The Courtship of Eddie's Father," opposite Bill Bixby (before I start getting Emails, especially from my sister, no, it was really Glenn Ford), and with Dean Martin in "The Silencers," and "How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life."
Other notable film roles were in "The Ballad of Cable Hogue," with Jason Robards, and as "Linda Rogo" the ex-prostitute wife of my friend Ernest Borgnine in probably the very first modern "disaster film" (some might say 1970's "Airport" but they would be wrong), "The Poseidon Adventure," which by the end of 1974, was ranked as one of the six most successful features in film history.
Stella has literally been in over a bazillion movies and T.V. shows throughout the years, and all of them better because she was in them. She is also an author, her first novel, "Razzle Dazzle," published by Tor/Forge Books, came out in July 1999.
Here is a link to a You Tube tribute to the lovely Stella Stevens:

And to her web-site:

And all of us here at Joyce's Take have a very special place in our hearts for Ms. Stevens, and wish her continued success, and a very happy birthday!
Happy Birthday Stella!

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