|A star from Hollywood in Santa Barbara|
By Joan Mac Trevor, Ciné Télé Revue, 1989
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
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
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 !"