Monday, February 20, 2023 – Stella Stevens has died at the age of 84 following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
The actress was most known for her roles in The Poseidon Adventure and The Nutty Professor.
Her son, Andrew Stevens, confirmed the news of her passing to Deadline.
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.”
Stevens nurtured her talent for performing while studying at college, and made her film debut in 1959 in Say One For Me, starring alongside Bing Crosby.
She impressed many in the role and went on to win the Golden Globe for most promising newcomer for the flick.
In 1960, she went on to pose for Playboy, landing the coveted centerfold position in January of that year.
Stevens went on to command attention in Girls! Girls! Girls! beside Elvis Presley, as well as The Courtship of Eddie’s Father and the Silencers.
One of her most acclaimed roles came opposite Jerry Lewis in the original version of The Nutty Professor, in which she played smitten student Stella Purdy.
She also starred in The Poseidon Adventure in 1972, with the film going on to land eight Oscar nominations and winning two.
Stevens was also a staple on the small screen, with her TV credits including Magnum PI, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Santa Barbara and The Commish.
Her last TV role came in 2006’s Twenty Good Years, while her final film appearance was as Mary Jane in Megaconda, in 2010.
The actress tied the knot with Noble Herman Stephens in 1954, when she was 16 years old – and they welcomed Andrew together the following year.
It wasn’t to last and they called time on their marriage in 1957.
She is survived by her son.