‘The Nutty Professor’ actress Stella Stevens has died aged 84 after an Alzheimer’s battle.
The actress, who worked alongside Elvis Presley and Jerry Lewis in her heyday as a screen siren, passed away after a long struggle with dementia, her actor-producer son Andrew Stevens confirmed to Deadline on Friday. (17.02.23)
He also told The Hollywood Reporter the actress “had been in hospice for quite some time with Stage 7 Alzheimer’s”.
Stella worked alongside Elvis in ‘Girls! Girls! Girls!’ and played Jerry Lewis’ dream girl in 1063’s ‘The Nutty Professor’, later remade with Eddie Murphy.
Her other best-known roles include as the lippy wife of Ernest Borgnine in ‘The Poseidon Adventure’, which was among the biggest movie hits of the 1970s.
Born 1 October, 1938, in Yazoo City, Mississippi, Stella also had a long TV career, appearing in dozens of TV movies and guest-starring in more than 40 series.
For two seasons in the early 1980s, she starred in the primetime soap ‘Flamingo Road’ and had recurring roles in ‘Santa Barbara’ and ‘General Hospital’.
She was famously a former Playboy centrefold from January 1960, and was modelling in her hometown when she was given a screen test by 20th Century Fox.
Stella is said to have come to regret her association with Playboy magazine, and later said: “I did the best I could with the tools I had and the opportunities given me.
“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.”
Along with son Andrew, she is survived by her grandchildren Amelia, Aubrey, and Samuel.
Her rock guitarist partner of almost 40 years Bob Kulick – the brother of Kiss’ Bruce Kulick – died in 2020 aged 70.