Stefanie Powers Has a Hart for Acting

Today in our Supportive Women blog series, today we are delving into the career of Stefanie Powers.


Stefania Zofya Paul was born in 1942 in Hollywood, California, Her parents divorced when she was little, and she rarely saw her father again. At age fifteen, she began dancing for Jerome Robbins. During her career she has appeared on the stage many times, the first time in 1964 in “Under The Yum-Yum Tree.” She also appeared on the British stage in several productions including “The King and I.”

She graduated from Hollywood High, although she was given her first contract at age 16 with Columbia Pictures. She made 15 films in those early years with some of the great stars including James Caan, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis, Ava Gardner, Maureen O’Hara, Roger Moore, Lana Turner, and John Wayne.

Her first role was in the made-for-tv movie Now is Tomorrow in 1958. Out of her 118 acting credits, 25 would be big-screen movies with 37 made-for-tv movies. The other half of her appearances were on television series.

The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. Photo:

In the 1960s she showed up in many shows including the sitcoms The Ann Sothern Show and Please Don’t Eat the Daisies and dramas including Bonanza and Route 66.

In the middle of the decade, she was cast in her first starring television role as April Dancer on The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. Although it would only last one season, she became well known for her spy missions on the series.

In 1966 Stefanie married Gary Lockwood, another actor; with 95 credits, he also had a long and successful career. They divorced in 1972. Shortly after her divorce, she met William Holden and they were together until his death in 1981; Powers described them as soul mates.

Powers was kept busy in the seventies, making appearances on a variety of shows including Love American Style; The FBI; Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law; The Mod Squad; Barnaby Jones; McCloud; Marcus Welby, MD; Medical Center; Cannon; The Rockford Files; and McMillan and Wife.

Although she made a few random appearances on small screen series, her last three major roles were as a regular cast member on three shows: The Feather and Father Gang, Hart to Hart, and The Doctors.

The Feather and the Father Gang is not a show I remember at all. She starred with Harold Gould as a con man and she was his daughter, a lawyer, who helped him solve crimes.

Hart to Hart Photo:

Jennifer Hart is the role that Powers was best known for. She starred with Robert Wagner as her husband Jonathan on Hart to Hart. They are a wealthy married couple similar to Nick and Nora Charles on The Thin Man who continued to get mixed up in murders wherever they go. The show was on the air for five years from 1979 to 1984. Stefanie received two Emmy nominations for her role of Jennifer Hart. In 1981 she was beat out by Barbara Babcock for Hill Street Blues and in 1982 she was beat out by Michael Learned for Nurse.

Wagner lobbied for Powers to be cast as his wife because she had worked with him in an earlier show of his in 1968, To Catch a Thief.

Several other actresses who were being considered for the role were Lindsay Wagner and Suzanne Pleshette. Fun fact, if you watch Tootsie with Dustin Hoffman, you will see him wearing a red, sequenced dress that was worn by Powers as Jennifer two years earlier in the episode “Color Jennifer Dead” in 1980.

After the show was canceled, they paired up again for eight made-for-tv movies about the Harts. The couple also starred in a stage production of “Love Letters” at the Chicago Theater in 1993.

Ironically, Powers was in the same ballet class with Natalie Wood and Jill St. John. While Powers played Robert Wagner’s wife on the show, Wood and St. John were married to him in real life.

In 1993 she tried marriage again with Patrick Houitte de La Chesnais. They were together for six years before divorcing.

Powers has kept busy in the last two decades. In 2003, she released a CD, “On the Same Page,” songs from the great composers. She is a polo player and was one of the first foreign members of the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club; in 2005 she competed in the Joules United Kingdom National Women’s Championship which was held in Ascot.

In 1982, Stefanie founded the William Holden Wildlife Foundation and became a director of the Mount Kenya Game Ranch and Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya. She and Holden were passionate about wildlife conservation. She also works with the Cincinnati and Atlanta zoos.

Powers spends her time in residences in Los Angeles, London, and Kenya. She apparently speaks six different languages.

With Soulmate William Holden

After smoking for twenty years, Powers was diagnosed with alveolar carcinoma, a type of lung cancer. She underwent surgery to remove part of her lung in 2009.

She was cast in a movie, Prism, that is in pre-production currently. It was apparently inspired by true events—as imdb describes it, “the infiltration of the Sinaloa Cartel and the inner sanctum of Joaquin El-Chapo Guzman by a US task force detective who goes deep undercover to expose Chapo and his criminal empire.”

Powers has had an amazing career and an even more amazing life. She is able to live on three different continents, enjoys a variety of activities, has a purpose in her life, and found her soul mate. Her life could easily become a movie script but if she was not available, I’m not sure who they would get to play her.

Morgan Fairchild: Queen of the Soap Operas

This week we are finishing up our “Supportive Women” blog series. If you watched a lot of television in the sixties and seventies, you will remember today’s blog star very well: Morgan Fairchild.


Morgan Fairchild was born Patsy Ann McClenny in 1950 in Dallas, Texas. In grade school, she was too shy to read her book report in class, so her mother, an English teacher, signed her up for drama lessons. At age ten, she began performing in dinner theater and stock productions in Dallas which led to several local commercials.

In 1967 she married Jack Calmes; they would divorce in 1973.

In 1967, a young Morgan was hired as a double for Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde. At age 20 she was cast in her first movie where we could see her face, A Bullet for a Pretty Boy. She would receive roles for another 35 big-screen features during her career.

However, most of her work was on the small screen. Her first role was Jennifer Pace on Search for Tomorrow. She stayed with that show for four years but she would come back to soap operas on and off throughout her acting time and could be seen on The Bold and The Beautiful, Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, and most recently as Sydney Chase in The City in 1996. Most of her roles were the stereotype of an elegant and wealthy woman who will do whatever it takes to get what she wants.

In between work on soap operas, Morgan showed up on many of the most popular shows as a guest star or regular cast member. In 1976 she was on Kojak. After her time on Search for Tomorrow, during the 1970s she appeared on other dramas including Police Woman, Barnaby Jones, and Dallas and on sitcoms like The Bob Newhart Show, Happy Days, and Mork and Mindy.

Flamingo Road Photo:

During the 1980s she did make a few guest appearances on The Love Boat, Simon and Simon, Magnum PI, and Hotel. Morgan received an Emmy nomination for her appearance on Murphy Brown in 1989. However, it was during this decade that Fairchild was a regular cast member on three different shows: Flamingo Road, Paper Dolls, and Falcon Crest (attorney Jordan Roberts), all night-time soap operas.

Flamingo Road was based on a novel written in 1949. It features the small town of Truro, Florida. The wealthy citizens live on Flamingo Road in their mansions, while the lower classes do what they have to do to make that street their address. Morgan played a woman with one of the longest names on television: Constance Weldon Semple Carlyle. After two years, the show was done.


Paper Dolls was about the modeling world. Fairchild played Racine, an agent, and the show is about the jobs that her models take on including a perfume company that uses her models exclusively. The series only lasted for thirteen episodes.

Morgan played Jordan Roberts, an attorney, on Falcon Crest. This long-running drama from 1981-90 featured the Gioberti family who operates the Falcon Crest Winery in California.

In the nineties, she appeared on a variety of shows including Roseanne, Empty Nest, Murder She Wrote, Diagnosis Murder, Cybill, and Home Improvement.

Her career continued during the 2000s where you could see her on Dharma and Greg and Hot in Cleveland, as well as five appearances on Friends as Chandler Bing’s mother Nora. She also had another series, Fashion House, in 2006 as Sophia Blakely. The concept of the show was another fashion-themed one where a ruthless executive played by Bo Derek defends her company against a hostile takeover.


With so many movie channels, we forget today that for a few decades we could not watch movies on television. The networks came up with a solution: made-for-tv movies, and Morgan was a queen of the genre with thirty movies and six miniseries.

Morgan has continued to stay busy. She has two finished productions listed on imdb that have not been released yet.

Fairchild has used her platform as a celebrity to advocate for AIDS research, the pro-choice movement, and many environmental issues. She collects movie memorabilia, especially Marilyn Monroe items, and antique clothing. She seems to have had a long-lasting career. It would have been fun to see her star in a sitcom instead of just playing ruthless women who just care about fame and money.

Linda Evans’ Destiny was Working with John Forsythe

This month we are looking at some of our favorite “Supportive Women.” Today we are taking a closer look at the career of Linda Evans.


Born Linda Evenstad in 1942 in Hartford, Connecticut, she was the middle child of three sisters. Both her parents were professional dancers. When she was six months old, the family moved to North Hollywood. Linda graduated from Hollywood High School with Stefanie Powers, who we will be talking about next week. Like Morgan Fairchild, who we will be discussing in two weeks, Linda took drama classes to help her deal with shyness.

Linda was engaged to Patrick Curtis, but they never married. He later became a press agent and married Raquel Welch.

Linda’s first two roles were on two of my favorite sitcoms. In 1960, she guest starred on Bachelor Father where Bentley Greg (John Forsythe) raised his niece Kelly (Noreen Corcoran) with the help of his houseboy Peter (Sammee Tong). Her second appearance was on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. During the sixties, she would appear on a variety of shows including Dr. Kildare, Wagon Train, and My Favorite Martian.


Her first made-for-tv movie was 1962’s Buttons with Beaus, and her first big screen feature came a year later in Twilight of Honor; her second movie was Beach Blanket Bingo in 1965 where she played Sugar Kane.

It was in 1965 that Evans began dating film director John Derek. They would marry in 1968 and separate in 1973 when Linda learned he was dating the actress who became known as Bo Derek.

1965 was also the year she was offered her first role as a regular cast member of a series. She became Audra Barkley from 1965-1969 on The Big Valley. The western was very popular. Similar to Bonanza, in this show, Victoria Barkley managed to raise her family and keep the villains at bay.

She and Barbara Stanwyck, who played her mother Victoria on the show, became very close. Stanwyck continued to refer to her as Audra after the show ended. Linda says Barbara was a great mentor and friend to her.

In 1967 when Derek was filming Evel Knievel’s famous motorcycle jump over the fountains at Caesar’s Place in Las Vegas, he asked Linda to take over one of the cameras, and she shot the famous footage of Knievel’s devastating crash.

During the 1970s she kept busy with television appearances on dramas including McCloud, Banacek, Harry O, McMillan and Wife, and The Rockford Files.

With “mom” Barbara Stanwyck Photo:

In 1975, she married Stan Herman, a real estate tycoon. They were married four years before splitting up. She never married again.

From 1976-1977 she again accepted a role as a regular on the show Hunter. The series only lasted fourteen episodes before being canceled. Not to be confused with the show from the 1980s, in this one, US government special agents James Hunter (Tony Franciscus) and Marty Shaw (Evans) take on missions around the world. He posed as a bookstore owner, and her cover was a model. I admit I have never seen this show, but it sounds like a seventies version of I Spy.

During the 1980s, her career was split between two primary shows: The Love Boat and Dynasty. Dynasty was on the air from 1981-1989. When Dallas became extremely popular, ABC commissioned Aaron Spelling to come up with a primetime soap opera of its own. Evans was back on the air working with John Forsythe again as Blake Carrington, her wealthy husband. The basic premise of the show was that it was an upper-class version of the Hatfields and the McCoys with the Carringtons and the Colbys feuding in the oil business in Denver, Colorado.

Dynasty with Forsythe and Collins Photo:

Evans and Forsythe remained close friends for the rest of his life. She said he was “so magical. This show was so serious and he was funny personally. We’d be fighting and people would be strangling each other and he made me laugh all day long, I’ll be forever grateful to him for that.” The person Linda was often strangling was Joan Collins who played Alexis Carrington Colby, Blake’s first wife.

By 1984 the show had reached number one in the rankings. Linda was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 1983. She was beat out by Tyne Daly from Cagney and Lacey.

After the show was canceled, Evans stepped out of the limelight for the most part. She did film five made-for-tv movies during the 1990s and guest starred on Germany’s version of The Love Boat, Das Traumschiff, in 2020. In 2021, she was in a big-screen feature, Swan Song.

In 2011 Evans published a book, Recipes for Life: My Memories, a combination of candid memoir and inspirational cookbook. Despite her perfect figure, one of her weaknesses is pizza. On on April 10, 2018, she was quoted as saying “I love pizza so much, that if you wake me up in the middle of the night and ask me if I’d like to eat a slice, I’ll say YES. Kenny Rogers used to have it delivered to me while I was filming The Gambler.


Linda seemed to enjoy her career. She is remembered for several well-known characters in Audra Barkley and Crystal Carrington. While she has given up acting for the most part, I would not be surprised to see her back on the big screen for another part or two if it’s the right offer.

Barbara Feldon Did Not Have to Get Smart: She Was Born That Way

This month’s blog is taking a look at some Supportive Women. First up is Barbara Feldon, costar with Don Adams in Get Smart.


Feldon was born Barbara Anne Hall in 1933 in Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. During an interview with Emerson College, Barbara talked about the ecstasy of performing in a little band in first grade. When things stopped, she got to play her triangle, and the thought that everyone was watching her, and her mother’s pride in seeing her made her want to perform more. In sixth grade she went into the gym to watch her friend doing her ballet lessons. The teacher invited Barbara to join them and played Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker music; that combination of music and movement took her away to another place. She was hooked at that point, and she knew that she wanted to dance.

She trained at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and then graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a BA in drama in 1955. They didn’t have a dance program, and her mother thought Bennington, where she wanted to go for dance, was too expensive and too liberal. While she enjoyed acting, it never had the enchantment for her that dance did.

Feldon made her way to New York and studied at the HB Studio. She briefly had a career as a showgirl at the Copacabana. She said “that was my first professional job in New York and it was probably the highlight of my whole career. We got to dance with Jimmy Durante. Oh, my God, it was a thrill.” They replaced the girls every three months so, then she went on to appear in The Ziegfield Follies. She landed one job that never made it to Broadway. A friend of hers who was a model talked her into exploring a modeling career.


She worked as a model and was in a Revlon commercial about a hair pomade for men, Top Brass. Feldon said commercials were excellent training to get experience in acting. You do the same scene over and over, maybe more than forty times, but you have to keep that spontaneity. “You must remember to stress each word properly and come in on a split-second when that camera rolls.”

Like several actresses that we have discussed in this blog, before Feldon got her first big break, she appeared on a game show. In this instance, she was on The $64,000 Question in 1955, and she won the grand prize of $64,000 in the category of Shakespeare.

She didn’t use her winnings to buy a mansion or live the typical party life. She opened an art gallery with a man who was a photographer and ad man who was no longer interested in advertising named Lucien Verdoux Feldon. Barbara would be the subject of a Warhol pop art painting in 1965.

In 1958 Barbara married Lucien Feldon. They divorced nine years later. She had a longer relationship with one of the Get Smart producers, Burt Nodella and when that ended, she moved back to New York City.

After her commercial debut, she received offers for several television roles in the early sixties including The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Flipper. She was also offered a chance to appear on East Side/West Side with George C. Scott. Colleen Dewhurst was her mentor and Scott’s wife. He asked her to play his girlfriend in the next episode. Talent Associates which produced the show was working with Mel Brooks and Buck Henry on a potential spy spoof called Get Smart. Her second television role was as a spy. So, when Talent Associates was casting for a spy on Get Smart, she was an obvious choice.


She turned down the role at first because she didn’t want to move from New York to California, but she did love the script. They agreed to offer her a two-year contract instead of a five-year contract, and she accepted. Her first review was in TV Guide which compared her to the dog and concluded that the dog came off better. She was devastated and humiliated. In later years, the reviewer rated her performance much better.

From 1965 till 1970, Feldon was known as Agent 99 working with Maxwell Smart for CONTROL. In both 1968 and 1969, she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Lucille Ball won for The Lucy Show in 1968 and Hope Lange won for The Ghost and Mrs. Muir in 1969.

Women at the time looked at Feldon as an example of a powerful woman; Feldon commented that young women said “she was a role model for them because she was smart and always got the right answer.” If you look closely in the early seasons, you will typically see Feldon sitting and Adams standing because she was taller than he was. Once she even had to bury her feet in the sand. While Adams was the blundering, awkward Smart, it was Agent 99 who was really the “smart” one, getting him out of trouble during their spy missions.

Feldon said that she is not a comedienne; she is an actress who can play comedy. She said that she is the worst person to tell a joke to because she doesn’t always get it. She never enjoyed drama much because the actual acting on camera was wonderful but the long, boring hours waiting were very tedious, and if you have a tearful scene, you have to be able to keep the momentum.

During the run of Get Smart, Feldon also appeared on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In and The Dean Martin Show.


After the show ended, she would appear on 20 additional television series including Cheers and Mad About You. She made fifteen made-for-tv movies, one of which was a 1989 movie, Get Smart, Again. She also could be found in six big-screen films including The Last Request, her last acting role, in 2006.

During my research, I read an article where pop culture historian Geoffre Mark commented on one of her movies, Fitzwilly, which I admit I have never seen. He said that it was a gem of a movie and that “Dick Van Dyke is brilliant in it and Barbara plays his love interest and she’s brilliant in it. She was playing a version of herself: a beautiful, sensual, highly intelligent woman with a strong moral compass and a loving heart. That’s what the character is and that’s who Barbara is.” According to, the plot of the 1967 movie is that a butler and the staff of an eccentric aged philanthropist whose family wealth is exhausted engage in larceny and crimes to maintain her lifestyle and provide funds for her charitable activities.

Feldon was offered a cameo in the Get Smart movie with Anne Hathaway and Steve Carrell in 2008, but she declined. She said that “times have changed too much. The psychology of the writers and the audience has changed radically. Get Smart belongs in the 1960s, or it’s not going to be Get Smart.”

Despite her comment of Get Smart staying in the sixties, in 1995 Feldon took on the role of Agent 99 again in a brief reboot of Get Smart. Feldon discussed that series with The (Westchester County NY) Journal News reporter Karen Croke in 2017. She said that she and Adams never became friends after the original Get Smart. She said he was a lovely man and very funny, but they had their jobs to do and did their acting and then parted ways for the day. After they worked together on this series, they became very close friends in a way they could not have in their original show. She said once Don Adams died, Max also died and she can’t do any work as 99 without Max now. That might be the real reason she turned down the cameo in the Carrell-Hathaway film.


Barbara said it’s hard to make friendships on a set because it’s more like a factory and when you’re not acting, you might be resting or talking to your agent. The only person she said she was able to maintain a good relationship with after acting with him, was Alan Alda.

Apparently, she still enjoyed games shows and she appeared regularly in several of them including Hollywood Squares and The $20,000 Pyramid.

Feldon lost interest in acting, but she did numerous television and radio commercials and documentaries. In 1977, Barbara hosted a news show called Special Edition. In the 1990s she had a one-woman show she took around the country. She has also taken up writing and had two of her pieces published in Metropolitan Magazine. She wrote a book about living as a single person in 2003 called Living Alone and Loving It. She also enjoys writing poetry. In talking about her book, Barbara said, “I had been in relationships my whole life. I’d been married, then had lived with someone for several years. After those, I just assumed I would find another relationship. But it didn’t happen. As time went on with some good guidance, I learned how to live alone really happily. I’ve met a number of people—men and women—who feel living by themselves is a second-rate life. I thought that was sad, and since I had this technique of living alone, I decided to write a book. And I’m really glad I did.”


Feldon said that she has nothing but gratitude for Get Smart. She said acting is not a kind career and you only have a few years to be able to find your place, and she is grateful for being in the right place at the right time. I think after learning about Barbara Feldon, she manages to put herself in the right place at the right time often.

Now, her life sounds almost perfect. She lives where she wants to, is open to meeting a lot of people, attends concerts, advocates for the arts, and travels and writes whenever she wants to. During her life, she has managed to learn from so many experiences and during her life journey she definitely “got smart.”