Venetia Stevenson

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Venetia Stevenson
Born Joanna Venetia Invicta Stevenson
(1938-03-10) 10 March 1938 (age 76)
London, England
Years active 1957–1961
Spouse(s) Russ Tamblyn (1956–1957) (divorce)
Don Everly (1962–1970) (divorced)
Children Stacy Everly, Erin Everly and Edan Everly

Venetia Stevenson (born 10 March 1938) is an English-American film and television actress.

Early life[edit]

Born in 1938 in London, England as Joanna Venetia Invicta Stevenson, she is the daughter of film director Robert Stevenson and actress Anna Lee. The family moved to Hollywood within a year of her birth after her father signed a contract with film producer David Selznick.[1] When her parents divorced in 1944, she stayed with her father and new stepmother, Frances.[2] After an education in exclusive Californian private schools,[3] her theatrical debut was with her mother in Liliom, a play produced by the Sombrero Theater, in Phoenix, Arizona, in April 1955 and also with the husband and wife team of Fernando Lamas and Arlene Dahl.[4]

A one-time Miss Los Angeles Press Club,[5] Stevenson was placed on contract by RKO Pictures in November 1956.[6] Hedda Hopper named Stevenson on her list of top movie newcomers in January 1957, alongside Jayne Mansfield. Hopper said of Stevenson, then 18, she is "the most purely beautiful of all the new crop of stars."[7]

Film and television actress[edit]

On 13 March 1957, Stevenson was cast in CBS s Playhouse 90 adaptation of Charley's Aunt, alongside Tom Tryon, Jackie Coogan, and Jeanette MacDonald.[8] On 12 November 1957, Stevenson appeared as Kathy Larsen in the episode "Trail's End" of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Sugarfoot. In the story line Kathy is a former childhood sweetheart of Tom Brewster, played by series star Will Hutchins though Stevenson is eight years younger than Hutchins. She is managing a dance hall to his consternation. Chris Alcaide plays the corrupt Clay Horton, who forces Kathy to marry him so that she cannot testify in court in regard to Horton's numerous crimes. Barbara Stuart is cast as Muriel, Kathy's business partner. Gordon Jones plays Sugarfoot's lively friend, Wasco Wolters, who has a romantic interest in Muriel. This episode reveals that Tom Brewster spent his childhood in Vermont before coming to the Oklahoma Territory. Stevenson subsequently appeared in two other Sugarfoot episodes, including "Brink of Fear" (1958) with fellow co-stars Jerry Paris, Harry Antrim, Allen Case, and Don Gordon.[9]

Stevenson played Peggy McTavish in the 1958 film, Darby's Rangers, a Warner Brothers release in which she was paired off with Peter Brown. She is one of the women who is pursued by actors cast as members of an American unit of the same name during World War II. The movie was directed by William Wellman.[10]

Stevenson's publicity machine continued to promote her. She was reported enjoying riding horses as an activity[11] and playing table tennis.[6] In November 1957, she won $300 in prizes at a horse show and participated at the National Horse Show at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.[12] Around this time she became the face on Sweetheart Stout cans and bottles;[13] the brand marked the 50th anniversary of using her image in 2008.

She appeared in 1959 in the western drama Day of the Outlaw (1959), starring Robert Ryan and Tina Louise.[14] Stevenson also had a primary role in the film version of the Studs Lonigan trilogy by James T. Farrell, brought to the screen in December 1960.[15] Among the other motion pictures in which she appears are Island of Lost Women (1959), Jet Over the Atlantic (1959), The Big Night (1960), Seven Ways from Sundown (1960), The City of the Dead aka Horror Hotel (1960), and The Sergeant Was a Lady (1961).

Stevenson appeared on television, in episodes of Cheyenne (1957), Colt .45 (1958), 77 Sunset Strip (1958), The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1958), Lawman (1958), The Millionaire (1959), The Third Man (1959), and Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1960) alongside Burt Reynolds and Harry Dean Stanton.

Personal life[edit]

Stevenson married MGM actor-dancer, Russ Tamblyn, on Valentine's Day, 1956, shortly after her half-brother, actor Jeffrey Byron, was born to her mother. She was 17 when she and Tamblyn had their wedding in the Wayfarers Chapel in Palos Verdes.[16] Stevenson and Tamblyn divorced in April 1957,[2] but the two remained friends.[17] A widely-reproduced photo shows Stevenson calmly walking down a Los Angeles street, seemingly unaware that Tamblyn is doing a spectacular backward aerial handspring a few inches away from her.

Stevenson remarried, to Don Everly, in 1962 and retired from acting and modelling. The couple had two daughters, Stacy and Erin Everly, both model/actresses, and a son, Edan Everly, a musician. She divorced Don Everly in 1970 and has not remarried. Erin, the ex-wife of rocker Axl Rose, was the inspiration for several Guns N' Roses songs including Sweet Child o' Mine, where she also appeared in the video.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fredda Dudley "The Beautiful British", Photoplay/Movie Mirror, May 1943
  2. ^ a b "Film's Venetia Stevenson Wins Divorce", Los Angeles Times, 2 April 1957, p. B1
  3. ^ "Dream Girl Venetia's Career Is Nightmare", Los Angeles Times, 10 May 1959, p. E1
  4. ^ "Lamas, Dahl Praised For 'Liliom'", Los Angeles Times, 2 April 1955, p. 15
  5. ^ "Mayor Will Crown Miss Press Club", Los Angeles Times, 16 July 1961, p. G10
  6. ^ a b "Grossinger News-Notes", New York Times, 11 November 1956, p. 175
  7. ^ "Hedda Hopper Names Top Movie Discoveries During 1956", Los Angeles Times, 6 January 1957, p. E1
  8. ^ "Terhune Stories Will Be TV Series", New York Times, 13 March 1957, p. 63
  9. ^ "Sugarfoot: "Trail's End", November 12, 1957". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved 25 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Screen: Amorous G.I.'s", New York Times, 13 February 1958, p. 23
  11. ^ Louella Parsons, Lincoln Evening Journal, 26 July 1959, p. 18
  12. ^ "Venetia's Only in Love With Riding Horses", Los Angeles Times, 3 November 1957, p. F1
  13. ^ http://www.cannyscot.com/SweetheartStout.htm
  14. ^ "Day of the Outlaw Snowbound Western", 10 September 1959, p.C15
  15. ^ "Columbia To Back Italian Producer", New York Times, 14 December 1960, p. 51
  16. ^ "Actor-Model To Wed on Valentine's Day", Long Beach Independent-Press-Telegram, 12 February 1956, p. 12
  17. ^ "Hedda Hopper Hollywood", The Lima News, 4 July 1959, p. 19

External links[edit]

Venetia Stevenson at the Internet Movie Database