Stella Stevens, the actress best known for her roles in “The Nutty Professor,” the disaster flick “The Poseidon Adventure” and “Girls! Girls! Girls!” opposite Elvis Presley, has died. She was 84.
Her only child, actor and producer Andrew Stevens, 67, confirmed to The Post that Stevens died Friday in Los Angeles after a battle with end-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
He added that she had been in hospice for “quite some time.”
Born in Mississippi in 1938, Stevens moved to Tennessee and became interested in acting and modeling while studying at Memphis State College.
After taking part in a collegiate play, Stevens made her film debut in “Say One for Me” in 1959, which won her the 1960 Golden Globe for new star of the year – actress.
Stevens also appeared in three Playboy pictorials and was Playmate of the Month in January 1960 — a job she later regretted.
“I did the best I could with the tools I had and the opportunities given me,” she was once quoted saying, according to Deadline. “I was a divorced mom with a toddler by the time I was 17, and Playboy did as much harm as it helped. But in spite of that rough start, I did OK.”
She would star opposite many big-name actors in movies, including Presley, which she later admitted that she didn’t want to do.
“‘Girls! Girls! Girls!’ was not a good experience,” she said in a 2004 interview with Bright Lights. “I was sent the script by Paramount to read. And I thought, ‘Hm, he’s from Memphis, and so am I. That’s a good idea to put us together.’ So I read the script. I wound up throwing it across the room! I thought, ‘What a piece of s- -t. I’m not going to be in this.’
“I went back to Paramount and said, ‘I’m sorry, but I’m not going to be in this.’ And they said, ‘Young lady, you are going to do this picture or be put on suspension, and you will not be able to work here or anywhere else — you will not be able to make any money,’” she recalled.
Stevens explained that she had not envisioned that type of move for her career and told the studio that she and her baby would instead “‘starve,’” but then reconsidered and finally agreed to take the role after learning that filming would only take six days of her time.
“So I did my six days’ work, and said, ‘Whew, now I’m done with that,’” she added.
Stevens also worked with Dean Martin in “How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life” and Bobby Darin in “Too Late Blues.” She additionally did three films with Glenn Ford: “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father,” “Advance to the Rear” and “Rage.”
Her extensive TV credits included “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “Bonanza,” “Ben Casey,” “Flamingo Road,” “General Hospital” and “The Commish.”
She married Noble Herman Stephens when she was just 16 in 1954. They had one son, the aforementioned Herman Andrew, and divorced in 1957.
Stevens was in a long-term relationship with guitarist Bob Kulick starting in 1983. The couple lived together for many years until Stevens moved into an Alzheimer’s care facility in Los Angeles, where Kulick often visited her until he died in May 2020.
She is survived by Andrew, as well as her three grandchildren, Amelia and Aubrey Stevens, both 20, and Samuel Stevens, 2.
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