Stella Stevens, a popular actress from the 1960s known for her roles in "The Nutty Professor" and "Girls! Girls! Girls!" with Elvis, has died.
Her son, actor and producer Andrew Stevens, told Variety she’d been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Turner Classic Movies posted a tribute to Stevens on Twitter:
"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of actress, director and activist Stella Stevens," the statement reads. "More than just a blonde bombshell, the effervescent star held her own in a variety of roles on the big and small screen."
TCM called Stevens a "screen siren" from the early 1960s. She played in "The Courtship of Eddie’s Father" in 1963 and "The Nutty Professor" in 1964. She also starred in "The Ballad of Cable Hogue" in 1970 and "The Poseidon Adventure" in 1972.
From there, she had a long list of roles on TV shows and low-budget films for the next 30 years.
Stevens was born in Meridian, Mississippi, in 1938. She grew up in Tennessee and married Herman Stevens when she was 15 years old. They divorced before she turned 18, but not before she gave birth to her only child Andrew.
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Stevens became interested in acting and modeling while studying medicine at Memphis State College. TCM says she was discovered in a college production of "Bus Stop" and signed with 20th Century Fox.
Actress Stella Stevens attends an event in Los Angeles,CA. (Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
She made her film debut in 1959 with "Say One for Me," a musical starred and produced by Bing Crosby. Stevens earned a Golden Globe that year for Most Promising Newcomer - Female, sharing the award with Tuesday Weld, Angie Dickinson and Janet Muro.
A year later, she was Playboy magazine’s Playmate of the Month, which helped her land acting appearances and more magazine spreads, "but most emphasized Stevens' physical appeal rather than her talents," TCM says.
She published her first novel, Razzle Dazzle, in 1999, and also created a line of fragrances for men and women.