||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2011)|
|Born||Stefania Zofia Federkiewicz
November 2, 1942
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Patrick De La Chenais
Stefanie Powers (born November 2, 1942) is an American film and television actress best known for her role as Jennifer Hart in the 1980s television series Hart to Hart.
Powers was born Stefania Zofia Federkiewicz in Hollywood, California. Her parents divorced during her childhood. Powers was estranged from her father, whom she barely references and whose name is never mentioned in her memoir, One from the Hart (sic), in which she refers to the "tension and unhappiness created by my father's presence". She remained extremely close throughout her life to her mother, Julianna Dimitria "Julie" (née Golan; 1912–2009), who was of Polish descent. She has a brother and a half-sister. Powers was a cheerleader at Hollywood High School; one of her schoolmates was Nancy Sinatra. In 1965, using the alias Taffy Paul, she made an obscure independent film, The Young Sinner, with future Billy Jack star Tom Laughlin.
Powers appeared in several motion pictures in the early 1960s in secondary roles such as the thriller Experiment in Terror with Glenn Ford and Lee Remick, the comedy If a Man Answers with Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin, and as the daughter of John Wayne in the lighthearted comedy-Western McLintock! (1963). She played a schoolgirl in Tammy Tell Me True (1961) and Bunny, the police chief's daughter in Palm Springs Weekend (1963). She appeared in the 1962 hospital melodrama The Interns and its sequel The New Interns in 1964. In 1965 she had a more substantial role playing opposite veteran actress Tallulah Bankhead in the Hammer horror film Die! Die! My Darling (originally released in England as Fanatic). Her early television work included Route 66 and Bonanza (both in 1963).
In 1966 her "tempestuous" good looks led to a starring role as April Dancer in the short-lived NBC television spy thriller series The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.. This was a spin-off of the popular The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Powers' linguistic skills, dance training, and interest in bullfighting were written into several episodes of the series. She also learned how to fence for a five-minute fight sequence with sabres.
Shortly after the series' debut, she was featured on the cover of TV Guide (December 31, 1966 – January 6, 1967). The article mentions her "117-pound frame is kept supple with 11 minutes of Royal Canadian Air Force exercises every morning... Unlike her fellow U.N.C.L.E. agents, the ladylike April is not required to kill the bad guys. Her feminine charms serve as the bait, while her partner Noel Harrison provides the fireworks." Dancer was written as a demure, passive figure instead of an action heroine like The Avengers' Emma Peel. The show's reliance on self-parody and camp humor instead of dramatic action and suspense was not a success. The series lasted for only one season (29 one-hour episodes) airing from September 16, 1966 to April 11, 1967. In 1967 she appeared in Warning Shot with David Janssen. Her 1970s films include The Boatniks (1970) and Herbie Rides Again (sequel to The Love Bug).
Prior to the Hart to Hart success, she starred in The Feather and Father Gang as Toni "Feather" Danton, a successful lawyer. Her father, Harry Danton, was a smooth-talking ex-con man played by Harold Gould. It ran for 13 episodes. Guest roles on other popular TV shows include: McCloud (1971), The Mod Squad (1972), Kung Fu (1974), The Rockford Files (1975), Three for the Road (1975), The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman (1976), and McMillan & Wife (1977). These shows were the ones that Powers appeared, long after she signed a contract with Universal Studios in 1970, coincidentally, her longtime friend and Hart to Hart series' star, Wagner, signed up a contract with Universal, but did not guest-star on more shows than Powers did. Her role as stripper Dottie Del Mar in 1979's Escape to Athena with Roger Moore turned out to be Powers' last theatrical film to date.
Powers became widely known as a television star for her role opposite old friend Wagner as a pair of amateur sleuths in the 1979-1984 series Hart to Hart for which she received two Emmy and five Golden Globe Award Best Television Actress nominations. In 1984 she starred in the TV 4 episode mini series "Mistral's Daughter" based on the Judith Kranz book. In the 1990s she and Wagner reunited to make eight Hart to Hart made-for-TV two-hour movies. In 1985 Powers starred as twins who swap places leading to dire consequences in the two-part made-for-TV movie Deceptions.
She starred briefly in a 1991 London musical, Matador, which closed prematurely due to the sharp drop in tourism during the Persian Gulf War. She was awarded the Sarah Siddons Award in 1993 for her stage performance in Love Letters. In 1996 she toured as Margo Channing in a production of [(musical)] which was slated to go to New York in hopes of a Broadway revival, which did not materialize. She toured the United Kingdom in 2002 in the singing role of Anna Leonowens for a revival of The King and I. She also toured the U.S. in 2004 and 2005 in that role. Powers released her debut CD in 2003, titled, On The Same Page. The album features selections from the classic Great American Songbook era. Since 2006 she has been the U.S. location presenter on the BBC's long running Through the Keyhole panel show.
On April 30, 2008 she was reunited with Robert Wagner for the filming of a special Hart to Hart edition of the BBC's The Graham Norton Show. On March 12, 2011, she received the Steiger Award (Germany) for accomplishment in the arts.
In 2000-01 she starred in the BBC's popular long running British soap opera Doctors as Jane Powers, the wealthy businesswomen mother of Dr Caroline Powers. Ms Powers (the character) after being widowed by Caroline's father, was due to marry her much younger fiancé David Wilde, but in the lead up to the wedding her daughter (Caroline) and fiancé David fell in love and ran off together.
Powers was married to actor Gary Lockwood between 1966 and 1972. She had a relationship with actor William Holden that led to their being involved with wildlife conservation. Following his death in 1981, Powers became President of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation and a director of the Mount Kenya Game Ranch in Kenya. In the United States, she works with both the Cincinnati and Atlanta zoos. She devotes a great deal of time to the cause and is international guest speaker on wildlife preservation.
Powers told BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House programme that she helped in the campaign for Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy's Presidency for the United States.
On April 1, 1993 she married Patrick Houitte de la Chesnais. They divorced in 1999. Powers has no children.
A polo player, she was among the first foreign members of the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club in the United Kingdom, whose membership includes HRH The Prince of Wales. In 2005, she competed in the Joules United Kingdom National Women's Championships at Ascot.
In November 2008, Powers, who was a smoker for twenty years, was diagnosed with alveolar carcinoma, a form of lung cancer. She had surgery to remove part of her right lung on January 29, 2009, the same month her mother died of pneumonia, aged 96, in Los Angeles.
Stefanie Powers has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6778 Hollywood Boulevard.
Stefanie Powers started a tour of the play about Tallulah Bankhead called Looped in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on February 26, 2013.
- One from the Heart: a memoir. Gallery Books, Simon and Schuster, Inc. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-4391-7210-0.
- "50 Plus Senior News". Powers Surge. Retrieved June 13, 2006.
- "Broadcasting House". January 22, 2012.
- Marriage to Patrick Houitte de la Chesnais
- Powers discusses her cancer battle
- The Official Stefanie Powers Website
- Stefanie Powers at the Internet Movie Database
- The William Holden Wildlife Foundation