STELLA STEVENS, R.I.P.
Stella Stevens, (who passed away very recently,) might be an unlikely movie star for me to have palled around with, but we met through a mutual friend, (whom I’ll call Annie,) many years ago. Annie had many lovely show business pals, and we all got along great. We looked forward to seeing each other, which we did often in those days. And, although I had seen just a duo of her many films, Stella quickly became my favorite person in the group.
She had a wonderful long-time boyfriend, a rock musician named Bob Kulick. He was my fellow Brooklynite and Capricorn, and closer to my age, so it was like hanging with a big brother a bit when we all got together. But let me tell you, even though Bob was much younger than Stella, they were absolutely perfect together; they were actually made for each other. (They were still together in 2016 when she moved into an Alzheimer’s care facility. And then Bob shockingly died in 2020, three years before Stella! I hope they’re reunited in heaven now.)
Stella Stevens was actually a riot. If you didn’t know who she was, you would have never pegged her as a movie star, (which she still was back then, and working all the time.) Although we met way after her heyday, she was still great-looking. But she never acted like she was any different from the rest of us.
As a matter of fact, once, when a few of us were doing a celebrity bowling tournament in Phoenix, Annie berated me for not “acting famous” because I treated the personnel there as the equals they are. She told me that I didn’t have a “celebrity mentality” because I didn’t act like I was superior to them! Stella overheard that conversation, and came right over to tell me to not give it even a second’s thought. She said that I should stay the way I am, and treat people with kindness, which I witnessed firsthand that she herself did.
Here’s that story: Stella was always nice to me, and made me feel included, even though the rest of the members of the gang were many years my seniors. But I especially appreciated a kindness she did for my good friend, Omar, one time. Stella, Annie, and I were booked at a celebrity golf tournament in Oregon. They sent a limo for us three gals and Bob and Omar, to take us to the airport. The guys were the ones who had to sit backwards in the car, and we could all see that Omar was sweating and turning green. He said he was going to be sick, which I understood completely because I can’t sit backwards in a moving vehicle, either. So Stella immediately told Omar to switch with her, to which Annie took umbrage. She told Stella to stay put because she was “the celebrity!” The rest of us were appalled, but brave Stella just shot Annie down. She told her to “stop being ridiculous,” and insisted that she and Omar switch seats, which, trust me, he was more than grateful for! Stella Stevens had saved the entire trip!
And then in the homeward-bound limo when we landed back in LA after the trip, Stella got in first to make sure she left the front-facing seat for Omar, with no complaints from anyone. I truly adored her from that weekend forward.
Sadly, as the years went on, we lost touch, as happens so often in life. But I have always remembered her kindness, and the fun she brought to every situation.
So R.I.P, Stella Stevens. And please tell Bob I say hi.
Beautiful tribute Karen! She sounds lovely.