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Voices of Polonia By Ted Rajchel

Background Stefanie Powers is an American actress best known for her role as Jennifer Hart in the American mystery series Hart to Hart, with Robert Wagner, which aired for five seasons from 1979 to1984.  Powers and Wagner later reunited for eight Hart to Hart TV movies in the 1990s.  She is a two-time Emmy Award nominee and a five-time Golden Globe Award nominee.

Early LifeThe auburn-haired actress was born in Hollywood, California on November 2, 1942, to Polish-American parents and was brought up in the Roman Catholic religion.  Powers was a cheerleader at Hollywood High School.  One of her classmates was Nancy Sinatra.  Stefanie Powers began her career at age 15, dancing for famed Broadway choreographer, Jerome Robbins.

She was put under contract to Columbia Pictures in the final years of the Hollywood star system.  While under contract, she appeared in 15 of the 31 motion pictures she has made co-starring with screen legends such as John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, Cliff Robertson, Elliot Gould, Roger Moore, Donald Sutherland, Bing Crosby, Glenn Ford, Lee Remick, James Caan, and Sammy Davis, Jr.  She also co-starred with Richard Chamberlin in the acclaimed independent film, “Three Days of Hamlet, The First Series”.

“The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.” marked a milestone in American television’s history as the first hour-long series featuring a female in a leading role. Her television career includes over 25 mini-series, over 200 episodic guest starring appearances.   When Stefanie Powers was cast as a lead spy, April Dancer, in the series ”The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.”(1966, 1967), she had no idea that she was making television history.  “It was only many years later,” she notes, “that somebody said, Did you realize the significance of The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.? and I said, “In what way do you mean?” They said that it was the first ever hour-long television series that starred a woman.

Powers quickly became a fixture on prime-time television in recurring and guest roles on popular series.

Some of Her Other WorksIn 1967 Powers appeared in “Warning Shot” with David Janssen.   Her 1970s films include “The Beatniks” (1970), “Herbie Rides Again” (a sequel to “The Love Bug”), and “The Magnificent Seven Ride” (1972).  She was a guest star on the Robert Wagner series, “It Takes a Thief” in 1970.  The two went on to co-star in the popular Hart to Hart series nine years later.  Before the Hart to Hart success, she starred in the “Feather and Fater Gang as Toni “Feather” Danton, a successful lawyer, whose father Harry Danton, was a smooth-talking ex-con man (played by Harold Gould).  It ran for a half-season (13 episodes).  Powers’ many guest-roles on other popular TV shows include: Lancer (1969), McCloud (1971), The Mod Squad (1972), Kung Fu (1974), The Rockford Files (1975), Three for the Road (1975), The Six Million Dollar Man (1976), The Bionic Woman (1976), and McMillan’s wife (1977).

Powers appeared in shows long after she signed a contract with Universal Studios in 1970.  Powers starred with Roger Moore, Telly Savalas, David, Niven, Sonny Bono, and Elliot Gould in the 1979 British adventure film, “Escape to Athena”, in which a group of Anglo-American prisoners of the Germans scramble to liberate themselves and some Greek art treasures.

In 1977 Power played Sally Whalen in the 6-part television mini-series “Washington: Behind Closed Doors”, produced by Paramount Television.  It is based on John Ehrlichman’s book, The Company” a novel inspired by the author’s time with the Nixon administration.

The series had Powers cast with a strong cast, including Cliff Robertson, Jason Robards, Robert Vaughn, Lois Nettleton, and John Houseman.  Powers starred in a 1993 drama stage production, “Love Letters” with Robert Wagner, performed at the Chicago theatre.  The two players portrayed Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, to tell the story of their 40 years, mostly long distance relationship without getting up from their chairs.

Stefanie Married Gary Lockwood after “The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.” had been canceled, she joined Gary Lockwood in Spain where he was making a movie.  While living there for a year, she developed her present passion for travel and learning about new things.  The marriage to Lockwood ended in 1969.

In 1972 at a tennis tournament at the La Costa Resort near San Diego( where she still spends weekends from time to time), Stefanie met William Holden, 25 years her senior.  The relationship blossomed after they met again, some months later in a Beverly Hills bookstore, and in 1973 she traveled to Hong King with him.  The following year, she accompanied him on the first of her eight trips to Africa.

There is no question that Africa dominated the last year and a half of Holden’s life.  For the nine years remaining to him after meeting Stefanie, she was the most important part of that life.  William Holden died in November 1981 from injuries suffered in a fall in his home. The William Holden Wildlife FoundationIn his will he left $250,000 to Stefanie, which she is using to bring his dream of a wildlife education center to reality.  The William Holden Wildlife Foundation was founded to carry on the ideas Bill instilled in me during all of the time he spent in Africa, Stefanie explained.  It involved the establishment of a wildlife education center in Kenya, and its aim was, through enlightenment, to properly maintain wildlife so it can cohabit with humans.  The point is that, since the humans encroaching on wildlife aren’t going to go away, the only possibility for the survival of wildlife is to work together between men and animals.

Actress Stefanie Powers–President of the William Holden Wildlife FoundationShe is a fellow of the Los Angeles Zoo and formerly served on its board as well as being a former member of the advisory board of the Zoo Atlanta and the Columbus Zoo.  She has a long history of caring for animals, beginning as a child when her stepfather would rescue animals and provide a home for them on their ranch.

Stefanie Powers is a frequent keynote speaker for causes dear to her heart, such as farm sanctuary (humane treatment for farm animals), and the bushmeat crisis (alerting and uniting people to the effects of over-exploitation of forests in Africa and the world and its disastrous effect on wildlife).  She has been honored by the Venerable Explorers Club with its Lowell Thomas Award for her conservation efforts and received a fellowship to the Royal Geographic Society.

Powers has brought the educational component that Holden had envisioned to fruition.  Today the education center in East Africa sees approximately 11,000 students a year through its main center and more through its outreach in the bush, but Powers hasn’t stopped there.  She is active with multiple other causes, including supporting the future of North American wild horses and bear rescue in China. Honors and awards for her role as Jennifer Hart, Powers received two Emmy Best Television Actress nominations and five Golden Globe Award Best Television actress nominations.  In 1992 Powers was a recipient of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6776 Hollywood Boulevard, category “Television”, presented by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.  Powers was awarded the Sarah Siddons Award on 1993 for her stage performance in “Love Letters”.

On March 12, 2011, Powers received the Steiger Award (Germany) for accomplishment in the arts.  On November 6, 2017, Powers was honored by the Palm Springs Women in Film and Television Organization with the 9th Annual Broken Glass Award for her work as an actress, author and animal advocate.

This organization presents the award to outstanding women from the film and television industry who have “broken through the glass ceiling” in the field of entertainment, the arts, and philanthropy.  She is conversant in English, Polish, Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin, and Swahili.  Stefanie Powers is an American film and television celebrity, who has a net worth of 8 million dollars.  She has made her net worth from playing many great characters in her life career as a great American star.

 

 

References:1. A Salute to Stefanie Powers Fast Facts and Bio Links2. Stefanie Powers: Charity Work & Causes—Look to the Stars3. Stefanie Powers –Hart and Soul Template 232223—Nole NA4. Stefanie Powers’ Official Website-Biography5. Stefanie Powers/Hollywood Walk of Fame6. Stefanie Powers—Wikipedia7. Show Bix Analysis with Actress Stefanie Powers8. Stefanie Powers Net Worth 2017, Bio, Wiki

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