A star from Hollywood in Santa Barbara

 By Joan Mac Trevor, Ciné Télé Revue, 1989

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When she arrived on the stage, all the team retained its breath. She had well already played in Flamingo Road, to see her depositing her bags in Santa Barbara is always an event. Especially for the young actors of the show. They remember her in The Poseidon Adventure or in front of Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor but, at the time where her lodge coasted the one of Bing Crosby or Bobby Darin, the majority of them was not born yet or, like A Martinez, was always wearing short trousers... Some even came to ask her how was her partner in Girls ! Girls ! Girls ! : Elvis Presley !

"If I do television now", explains Stella Stevens, "it is only because I was always a very active woman who cannot be satisfied to stay at home. The absence of work, it is the death for a woman ! More than men, we need contacts. I always had many hobbies, painting, photograph... but when I hear the director shouting "Action !", my heart runs off. As when you see again your first big love..."

In Santa Barbara, Stella Stevens plays Phyllis Blake, the mother of Gina (Robin Mattson) and Mack (Steve Bond, a newcomer in the show). She is a woman who only does what she had in mind and whose arrival in Santa Barbara will create many problems to her children. "Phyllis wants power, sex and money", explains Stella Stevens by speaking about this character who fascinates her. "She is eccentric but she exactly knows what she wants. It is a solid role which is marvelously well written !"

It is thanks to Robin Mattson and Steve Bond that Stella Stevens joined the team of Santa Barbara : indeed, these two interpreters of the show are friends with Andrew Stevens, Stella's son. For Bridget Dobson, the creator of Santa Barbara become today (with her husband Jerome) executive producer of the show, it is not a première : she had already succeeded in convincing Dame Judith Anderson, haloed of a great theatrical career and prestigious roles in movies like Rebecca and The Ten Commandments, to pass to television. "The employment of a star increases the prestige of a show and obliges each one to surpass itself" she justifies. "The arrival of Dame Judith Anderson had completely metamorphosed some young people we had auditioned. They all wanted to be at her height !"