Beloved Soap Vet and Silver Screen Siren Dead at 84
Tough-talking have-nots were her specialty.
Stella Stevens, star of screens both big and small, died on February 17 after an extended battle with Alzheimer’s. The news was reported by her son, Andrew. She was 84 years old.
It’s safe to say that when most people think of Stevens — the much-loved actress who passed away this week at 84 — they don’t necessarily recall her soapy credits. But for soap fans, the beauty will always be remembered for her stints on daytime’s Santa Barbara and General Hospital, as well as the steamy primetime sudser Flamingo Road.
Her story reads like something that could have been turned into one of the many movies in which she starred. Born Estelle Eggleston in Yazoo City, Mississippi, she would eventually move to Memphis, Tennessee, where the acting bug bit. Better yet, she was discovered thanks to a college production of the play Bus Stop.
Before long, her star was on the rise in front of every sort of camera. In January of 1960, she was Playboy‘s Playmate of the Month, and would in the coming years become one of the most photographed women in the world. Meanwhile, she landed parts opposite everyone from Elvis Presley (in Girls! Girls! Girls!) to Jerry Lewis (The Nutty Professor).
But it was in 1972 that she took on one of the roles which would make her darn near iconic: Linda Rogo, the hooker with a heart of… well, not quite gold, in the classic disaster movie The Poseidon Adventure.
Credit: 20th Century Fox/Courtesy of the Everett Collection
In 1989, Stevens joined Santa Barbara as Phyllis Blake, the mom of Robin Mattson’s troublemaking Gina Blake. Between her gambling debts and constant scheming, Phyllis kept everyone around her on their toes. Stevens would spend about a year appearing on the NBC soap.
The actress also appeared on General Hospital, playing Jake — owner of a popular watering hole by the same name, which would later be renamed The Floating Rib.
Join us in remembering other members of the daytime community we’ve lost in recent months.