Actress Stella Stevens, who rose to prominence with roles in The Nutty Professor and Girls! Girls! Girls!, has sadly passed away at the age of 84 on Friday, February 17.
Her passing was confirmed by her son, Andrew Stevens, who revealed the late actress died in Los Angeles following a long illness.
Born October 1, 1938, Stevens developed an interest in acting while studying at Memphis State University. Stevens first drew attention for her performance in the school play Bus Stop.
Stevens’ film debut came in 1959 with a minor role in Say One for Me which was produced by and starred Bing Crosby.
In 1959 she also secured the role of Appassionata Von Climax in the musical Li’l Abner and in 1960 was awarded the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress for her performance in Say One for Me
In 1961, Stevens starred alongside Bobby Darin in John Cassavetes’ Too Late Blues, and went on to star opposite singing legend Elvis Presley in Girls! Girls! Girls! in 1962.
She later starred as Stella Purdy, the love of interest of Jerry Lewis‘ character, in the 1963 classic The Nutty Professor. In the same year, she appeared in Vincente Minnelli’s The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.
Following several appearances in films for Columbia Pictures, Stevens starred opposite Dean Martin in the Matt Helm spy spoof The Silencers in 1966.
Stevens received favourable reviews for her performance in Sam Peckinpah’s The Ballad of Cable Hogue in 1970 and in 1972 starred in the incredibly successful film The Poseidon Adventure as Linda Rogog alongside Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, and Shelley Winters.
In addition to her illustrious film career, Stevens also enjoyed success on the small screen with appearances in Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Bonanza, Wonder Woman, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and General Hospital.
As news broke of Stevens’ passing, fans took to social media to reflect on her life and contribution to the entertainment industry.
Legendary actress Stella Stevens, my brother’s longtime partner, passed away this morning from a long illness. She is finally reunited with Bob today. She starred in many movies I love. It was very special for my family and I to know her personally. RIP Stella, 1938-2023. pic.twitter.com/xO5gPSXIJf
— Bruce Kulick (@brucekulick) February 17, 2023
RIP Stella Stevens, a popular actress from the 1960s known for her roles in “The Nutty Professor” and “Girls! Girls! Girls!” with Elvis, has died at 84.#Elvis #Elvis1962 #ElvisPresley #Elvistheking #ElvisHistory #Elvis2023 pic.twitter.com/if41MhMYXE
— AboutElvisPresley ???????????? (@AboutElvis) February 18, 2023
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of actress, director and activist Stella Stevens. More than just a blonde bombshell, the effervescent star held her own in a variety of roles on the big and small screen.@Variety remembers her here: https://t.co/TOpMS4rlf3 pic.twitter.com/41T7HLE315
— TCM (@tcm) February 17, 2023
Oh no, my dear friend beautiful Stella Stevens 84, ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ with Elvis,& ‘chained heat’ with me died today of Alzheimer’s disease RIP sweety! We love you! Stella &me earlier event pic, later event, last time I saw Stella @ Hollywood Show 2018 pic.twitter.com/w9pWlzL34y
— Sybil Danning (@sybildanning) February 17, 2023
RIP Stella Stevens! She was another 1960s sex symbol who rarely got roles worthy of her talent. When she did—as in The Nutty Professor and The Ballad of Cable Hogue—she displayed a winning mix of vulnerability and intelligence. pic.twitter.com/u3X2XdKQAF
— Classic Film TV Cafe (@classic_film) February 18, 2023
R.I.P. Stella Stevens, 1938-2023 pic.twitter.com/S5eyDeaSmJ
— Conrad J. Barrington (@cjubarrington) February 17, 2023
Stevens is survived by her son and three adult grandchildren.