Hollywood actress Stella Stevens, who co-starred with Elvis Presley in Girls! Girls! Girls! and with Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor, has died at the age of 84 after a long illness, family members say.
Stevens is reportedly dead following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Her son, Andrew Stevens confirmed the news of her passing to Deadline.
Born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, in 1938 as Estelle Caro Eggleston, she wed electrician Noble Herman Stevens at 16 and gave birth to her first and only child Andrew.
Two years later, she divorced and began modelling and acting.
She was signed by 20th Century Fox after they discovered her performing at her college in Memphis, Tennessee. Later the studio dropped her, but she was signed by Paramount.
Stevens won a Golden Globe for her 1959 film debut as a chorus girl in Say One for Me, which also starred Bing Crosby and Debbie Reynolds.
In Girls! Girls! Girls!, starring opposite Presley in 1962, Stevens said she did not like the script, but Paramount told her she was contractually obliged to do it.
Stevens’ manager and close friend, Maria Calabrese, also told the publication in a statement: ‘It was an honor and a privilege to work with Stella, who was one of the most wonderful and gifted people I have ever worked with.
‘While I truly wish I could have done more for her toward the latter years of her career and shared in her frustration as she so wanted to make the leap from a triple threat American icon to producer – her wish, never realized, was to have three original Western scripts produced.
‘She was an amazing animal lover, horse wrangler, rock and roller, so ahead of her time and so much more than a sex symbol – which her adoring fans admired her for and understood.
‘What a tremendous body of work and loss. She was the OG of strong Hollywood women.’
She also directed two films – The American Heroine (1979) and The Ranch (1989), starring her son.Stevens’ second husband and partner of 37 years, rock guitarist Bob Kulick, died in May 2020.
His brother, Bruce – former guitarist for the US band Kiss – tweeted: ‘Legendary actress Stella Stevens, my brother’s longtime partner, passed away this morning from a long illness.
‘She is finally reunited with Bob today.’
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