Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Stephanie (Powers)!

Miss Stephanie

The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.

"Experiment in Terror"

Hart to Hart

What a cutie!

With her kitties

This morning it is my great pleasure to give a big happy birthday shout out to one of my favorite actresses, "The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.," herself, Ms. Stephanie Powers!
Stefania Zofya Federkiewicz (must be Irish) was born right here in Hollywood, and was a cheerleader at Hollywood High School as a matter of fact. She was another ballet enthusiast, and attended ballet class as a child with other future actresses Natalie Wood and Jill St John. All three of these lovely young ladies would have long term relationships with the same man, the veteran actor Robert Wagner (who I met one day, see "Happy Birthday Rick (Joyce)!"), two of them becoming his wife. And one of her classmates was the daughter of Frank Sinatra, Nancy.
When just fifteen years old she signed a contract with Columbia Pictures, who spent a good deal of their time cruising the local high schools for pretty girls, or so it would seem.
She starred in supporting roles in films through the early sixties in such movies as "If a Man Answers," with Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin (we just happened to have shown "Beyond the Sea," recently during Movie Day, Kevin Spacey's homage to Darin), and as John Wayne's young daughter in "Mclintock," (a movie that appears quite frequently on the AMC chanel, especially on Saturday mornings). The first time I ever saw Stephanie was in a film from this period, the largely forgotten, and underrated, "Experiment in Terror," where she played Lee Remick's sister, the victim of the psychotic villain Garland Lynch, (played by "The Wild, Wild, West's" Artemus Gordon, the actor Ross Martin). Lynch's asthmatic voice lending a decidedly original, and haunting feel to the film.
She took about five years off from show business at this point. Some say she became interested in bullfighting, of all things, an interest that would seem at odds with actions that would transpire later in her life.
When she returned to acting she starred in television roles, what she would primarily do for the rest of her long career. In 1966 she secured the role of April Dancer, in the aforementioned "The Girl from U.N.C.L.E." (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement), a spin off of like my favorite show at the time, "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." She co-starred with Rex Harrison's son, Noel, and Topper himself, Leo G. Carroll, who played the chief of U.N.C.L.E. in both shows, the enigmatic Alexander Waverly. The show was not a hit, lasting only one season, but I certainly was a true and loyal fan.
That same year she would marry the actor Gary Lockwood, who would go on to co-star in Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, "2001, A Space Odyssey," while they were married (they would divorce in 1972, but appear together in Stephanie's most successful show, "Hart to Hart," in 1983).
She would work in a few more films, then in 1970 guest star with Robert Wagner in "It Takes a Thief." The two first met in 1961, on the set of "West Side Story" (which starred Natalie Wood, who was married to him at the time. They would later star together in the long running television show, "Hart to Hart," a show about a well to do married couple who didn't have anything else to do but become amateur detectives. The show ran for five seasons, from 1979 to 1984 on ABC. Nine years later the two would team up again for eight 90 minute "Hart to Hart" reunion television movies, which were made from 1993 to 1996.
Some of the many television shows Stephanie has appeared in over the years are, "Love, American Style," "The Mod Squad," a TV movie, "Topper Returns" (remember Leo G?), "McCloud," "Marcus Welby M.D." "Kung Fu," "The Streets of San Francisco," "The Rockford Files," "The Six Million Dollar Man," among many others. She effectively made her last theatrical film in 1979.
In 1974 she began a relationship with the actor William Holden which lasted until his death in 1981. He had been involved with wildlife preservation in Africa, and got Stephanie involved as well (picture above). Holden left $250,000 in his will to Stephanie, which she used the money to start an animal preservation fund, in his memory, The William Holden Wildlife Foundation, which she is still heavily involved with to this day.
Stephanie married yet again in 1993 to some foreign sounding guy, then divorced in 1999. She has no children, is a polo player, is fluent in six languages, knows a little karate, and has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
And all of us here at Joyce's Take love her, and wish her continued good health, and success in whatever she does, and a very happy birthday!
Happy Birthday Stephanie!

1 comment:

  1. ♥♥ Happy Birthday Stefanie Powers!!!
    Double congratulations on the anniversary and the book.
    Many Cheers now and forever.
    Kisses and Hugs. ♥♥
    Dariana Coelho - CamaquĆ£/RS/Brazil