HELLO AMERICA!—It was in the early 1970s when I first met Stephanie Powers. It was one of those small Tinseltown gatherings of working actors and other performer-types. In other words, it wasn’t one of those affairs that made you feel out of place, the idea that you were one of the guests spoke for itself. Reminding Stephanie of that evening made her laugh because she remembered that she had had too much to drink and she made a play for one of the cute waiters there.
MSJ: Stephanie, you were a darn good actress because you never let on that you had had your quota of booze. I remember you being rather quiet, exhibiting a very warm smile.
SP: Oh, my gosh, believe me by the time you and I sat down to talk I was completely under the spell of that wonderful wine that was being served. But I do remember that the party was quite nice with a lot of lovely talented people there. I remember Robert Vaughn, Frank Silvera, Oliver Reed and Angie Dickenson were there, too. It was really a fun time.
MSJ: How was it for you in the early days as an actress? Did you have a rough time getting the attention of directors and producers?
SP: I was very lucky because I received a lot of support from my drama coaches and teachers. One in particular, Bill Bass who was a very good friend of James Dean. And he introduced me to several agents, directors and producers who thought I had talent. For a while, I got a lot of small roles and eventually the more featured ones, it took time and focus on my part. I couldn’t conceive of doing anything else. I love being on stage or in front of the camera. Remember when I auditioned for “Finian’s Rainbow” at the Coconut Grove? You were there, I remember you singing a George Gershwin number I thought you had a great voice.
MSJ: Thank you very much it was a fun show to do. And David Wayne was wonderful to work with. You must have had a ball starring in your own series “The Girl From Uncle?”
SP: Yeah, it was exciting, hard work and it opened my eyes to the reality that I had a lot to learn. Believe me it was a pure challenge getting up every morning trying to make what I was doing in front of the camera look easy. Sadly, it only lasted one season and I was devastated when I was told we wouldn’t be picked up.
MSJ: But not long after that you were signed to co-star with Robert Wagner in “Hart to Hart,” that was quite a major step in the right direction.
SP: Oh, yes! Working with Bob was wonderful. It seemed to be the right fit. No matter what we did on camera somehow was magic and believable. It was the best five years of my life. And Bob, of course, is a very giving actor and anyone working with him feels safe and secure. I was a very lucky girl!
MSJ: I was surprised to find that most people inHollywooddidn’t know that you were a helluva good singer.
SP: Oh, thank you! I appreciate that coming from you, Michael. I have always loved Broadway musicals and when I was asked to star in “The King and I” it was like a dream come true. I remember watching Debra Kerr in the film singing those beautiful songs. It was ahigh pointin my career to be on tour with that show. I remember your coming backstage at the Pantages Theater inHollywoodto tell me how much you loved what I did in the show; it meant so much to me.
MSJ: What are your plans now? Do you want to concentrate more on theatre or try television again?
SP: You know I’m open for everything. I simply enjoy performing; it doesn’t matter if it is in a theater or in some studio with one camera, it’s really the only time when I feel truly happy and in control.
By Michael St. John