born Estelle Caro Eggleston in Hot Coffee, Mississippi in 1938, actress Stella Stevens was discovered while modeling in the tea room of Goldsmith's Department Store in Memphis, Tennessee. by this time, Stella had already been married at age 15, given birth to a son (Andrew Stevens) at 16, and divorced at 17 years old.
in 1959, Stevens signed her first contract with Paramount Pictures. she shared the 1960 Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer - Female, with Tuesday Weld, Angie Dickinson and Janet Munro. during the 60s, Stella was one of the ten most photographed women in the world, and her Playboy centerfold became one of the magazine's most popular issues.
in 1962, Stevens starred opposite Elvis in Girls! Girls! Girls! (not one of Elvis' best, to say the least, all though it does contain one of my favourite performances -Return to Sender- in which Elvis delivers an impressive homage to Jackie Wilson). Stella plays club singer Robin, one of two women between whom Elvis' character is torn. reportedly, Stella did not want to do this film and her protests nearly had her suspended by Paramount. she has stated several times that she refuses to watch it.
(above and below with Girls! Girls! Girls! costar Laurel Goodwin)
Stella worked with some of the biggest names of her day during her movie career, including Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Glenn Ford and Bobby Darin. the 1970s would see her moving to the small screen with numerous appearances in TV movies and roles on General Hospital and Santa Barbara. Stevens has also produced and directed two films: The American Heroine (1979) and The Ranch (1989), and published a novel, Razzle Dazzle, whose main character, Johnny Gault, was inspired by Elvis. for more on her continuing career, visit Stella's official site here.
(with Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor)