Stefanie Powers

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Stefanie Powers
Stefanie Powers 2010.jpg
Powers on March 7, 2010
Born Stefanie Zofya Paul[1]
(1942-11-02) November 2, 1942 (age 72)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Other names Taffy Paul
Occupation Actress
Years active 1958–present
Spouse(s) Patrick De La Chenais
(1993–1999)
Gary Lockwood
(1966–1972)

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.

Early life[edit]

Powers was born Stefanie Zofya Paul in Hollywood, California.[1] 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, 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, Juliana Dimitria Golen (1912–2009), who was born in New York of Polish descent. Her mother would be known late in life and in local obituaries as Julie Powers. Stefanie Powers has an elder brother, Jeffrey Julian Paul[2][3][4] (born June 12, 1940), as well as a half-sister.[5][6] 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.

Career[edit]

Powers (left) with Maureen O'Hara in McLintock!, 1963

Powers appeared in several motion pictures in the early 1960s in secondary roles such as the thriller Experiment in Terror, which starred Glenn Ford and Lee Remick, the comedy If a Man Answers with Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin, and in McLintock! (1963), starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. She played a schoolgirl in Tammy Tell Me True (1961) and Bunny, the police chief's daughter, in Palm Springs Weekend (1963).[7] She appeared in the 1962 hospital melodrama The Interns and its sequel The New Interns in 1964. In 1965 she played opposite Tallulah Bankhead in Die! Die! My Darling (originally released in England as Fanatic).[7]

Powers with Noel Harrison in The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.

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., a spin-off of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 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 who would be like an American version of The Avengers' Emma Peel. The series lasted for only one season (29 one-hour episodes), airing from September 16, 1966 to April 11, 1967.[7]

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). She was a guest star on the Robert Wagner series It Takes a Thief in 1970. The two would go on to co-star in the popular Hart to Hart series nine years later. Prior to the Hart to Hart success, she starred in The Feather and Father Gang as Toni "Feather" Danton, a successful lawyer, whose father, Harry Danton, was a smooth-talking ex-con man (played by Harold Gould). It ran for a half-season (13 episodes).[7]

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.[7]

Powers became widely known as a television star for her role opposite Robert Wagner as a married pair of amateur sleuths in the 1979-84 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 miniseries Mistral's Daughter, based on Judith Krantz's novel. In the 1990s Powers 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.[7]

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 [All About Eve] 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 playing Anna Leonowens in a revival of The King and I. She 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 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.[citation needed]

In 2000-01 she starred in the BBC's popular long running British soap opera Doctors as Jane Powers, a wealthy businesswoman, and the mother of Dr Caroline Powers. Jane Powers, after being widowed, 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 took part in the 11th series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! but was the first celebrity to be eliminated on November 25, 2011.[7]

Powers started a tour of Looped, a play about her old co-star Tallulah Bankhead, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on February 26, 2013, after Valerie Harper withdrew due to health problems.[citation needed]

Stefanie Powers has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6778 Hollywood Boulevard.

Personal life[edit]

Powers was married to actor Gary Lockwood from 1966 to 1972. Her relationship with actor William Holden led to their joint involvement with wildlife conservation. He died in 1981; by the following year, Powers was the Founder and President of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation and a director of the Mount Kenya Game Ranch and Wildlife Conservancy in Nanyuki, 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 an international guest speaker on wildlife preservation.[8]

Powers told BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House programme that she campaigned for Robert F. Kennedy during his 1968 presidentlal campaign.[9]

On April 1, 1993 she married Patrick Houitte de la Chesnais (born May 7, 1951, Versailles, France); the couple divorced in 1999. Powers has no children.[10]

A polo player, she was among the first foreign members of the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club in England, whose membership includes HRH The Prince of Wales. In 2005, she competed in the Joules United Kingdom National Women's Championships at Ascot.[citation needed]

Cancer battle[edit]

In November 2008, Powers, who was a smoker for twenty years, was diagnosed with alveolar carcinoma, a form of lung cancer.[11] 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.[5]

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
2013 Reading, Writing and Romance (TV Movie) Brenda
2011 I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! Herself
2010 Meet My Mom (Hallmark TV Movie) Louise Metcalf
1998 Someone is Watching Michelle Dupre
1996 Till Death Do Us Hart Jennifer Hart
1996 Harts in High Season
1995 Two Harts in 3/4 Time
1995 Secrets of the Hart
1994 Old Friends Never Die
1994 Crimes of the Hart
1994 Home is Where the Hart Is
1993 Hart to Hart Returns
1988 Beryl Markham: A Shadow on the Sun (TV) Beryl Markham
1984 Mistral's Daughter Maggie Lunel
1985 Deceptions (TV Mini-Series) Sabrina/Stephanie
1979 Escape to Athena Dottie Del Mar
1978 A Death in Canaan Joan Barthel
1975 It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time Georgia Price
1975 Gone With The West Little Moon
1975 The Rockford Files The Real Easy Red Dog She hires Rockford
1974 Herbie Rides Again Nicole Harris
1972 The Magnificent Seven Ride! Ms. Laurie Gunn
1971 Sweet, Sweet Rachel Rachel Stanton
1971 Paper Man (TV) Karen McMillan
1970 The Boatniks Kate
1969 Crescendo Susan Roberts
1966 Stagecoach Mrs. Mallory
1965 Fanatic (aka Die! Die! My Darling!) Pat Carroll
1965 Love Has Many Faces Carol Lambert
1963 Route 66 (A Cage in Search of a Bird) Julie
1963 McLintock! Becky McLintock
1963 Palm Springs Weekend Bunny Dixon
1962 Experiment in Terror Toby Sherwood
1963 "Bonanza TV Series/ Calamity Over the Comstock" Calamity Jane
1962 If a Man Answers Tina
1961 Bat Masterson TV Series Ann

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Stefanie Zofya Paul birth registration, californiabirthindex.org; accessed April 3, 2014.
  2. ^ Stefanie Powers at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ JEFFREY PAUL birth registration, familytreelegends.com; accessed April 3, 2014.
  4. ^ Jeffrey Paul profile, californiabirthindex.org; accessed April 3, 2014.
  5. ^ a b One from the Heart: a memoir. Gallery Books, Simon and Schuster, Inc. pp. 9, 256. ISBN 978-1-4391-7210-0. 
  6. ^ "50 Plus Senior News". Powers Surge. Retrieved June 13, 2006. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g IMDb profile; accessed June 16, 2014.
  8. ^ The William Holden Wildlife Foundation website; accessed 16 June 2014.
  9. ^ "Broadcasting House". January 22, 2012. 
  10. ^ Marriage to Patrick Houitte de la Chesnais
  11. ^ Powers discusses cancer battle, lifescript.com; accessed April 3, 2014.

External links[edit]