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Stefanie Powers (born Stefania Zofia Federkiewicz; November 2, 1942) is an American actress best known for her role as Jennifer Hart in the 1980s television series Hart to Hart.

Early life

The auburn-haired actress was born in Hollywood, Californiamarker, to Polish American parents and was brought up in the Roman Catholic religion. Her parents divorced during her childhood and her mother, Julia Golen, remarried. Powers was a cheerleader at Hollywood High School; one of her classmates was Nancy Sinatra. In 1965, using the alias Taffy Paul, she made an obscure independent film, The Young Sinner, with future Billy Jack star Tom Laughlin.

She developed a serious interest in bullfighting, facing her first bull at the age of twenty. A few years later she became an honorary member of the Mexican bullfighters union and part owner of a bull ring and breeding farm in Texcoco, Mexico.


Powers appeared in several motion pictures in the early 1960s in secondary roles such as the thriller Experiment in Terror with Glenn Ford and Lee Remick, the comedy If a Man Answers with Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin, and as the daughter of John Wayne in the lighthearted comedy-Western McLintock! (1963). She played a schoolgirl in Tammy Tell Me True (1961) and the police chief's daughter Bunny in the romantic comedy Palm Springs Weekend (1963). She was also in the 1962 hospital melodrama The Interns and its sequel The New Interns in 1964. In 1965, Powers had a more substantial role playing opposite veteran actress Tallulah Bankhead in the Hammer horror film Die! Die! My Darling (originally released in England as Fanatic). Her early television work included Route 66 and Bonanza (both in 1963).

In 1966, her "tempestuous" good looks led to a starring role as April Dancer in the short-lived NBC television spy thriller series The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.. This was a spin-off of the popular The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Powers' linguistic skills, dance training, and interest in bullfighting were written into several episodes of the series. She also learned how to fence for a five-minute fight sequence with sabers.

Shortly after the series' debut, she was featured on the cover of TV Guide (Dec. 31, 1966–Jan. 6, 1967). The article mentions her "117-pound frame is kept supple with 11 minutes of Royal Canadian Air Force exercises every morning." It also noted: "Unlike her fellow U.N.C.L.E. agents, the ladylike April is not required to kill the bad guys. Her feminine charms serve as the bait, while her partner Noel Harrison provides the fireworks." Dancer was written as a demure, passive figure instead of an action heroine like The Avengers' Emma Peel. The show's reliance on self-parody and camp humor instead of dramatic action and suspense was not a success. The series lasted for only one season (29 one-hour episodes) airing from September 16, 1966 to April 11, 1967.

In 1967, she was in the film Warning Shot with David Janssen. Her 1970s began with two Disney films, The Boatniks (1970) and Herbie Rides Again (sequel to The Love Bug).

She was a guest star on the Robert Wagner series It Takes a Thief in 1970. The two would go on to co-star in the popular Hart to Hart series nine years later.

Prior to the Hart to Hart success, she starred in The Feather and Father Gang as Toni "Feather" Danton, a successful lawyer. Her father, Harry Danton, was a smooth-talking ex-con man played by Harold Gould. It ran for 13 episodes. Guest roles on other popular TV shows include: McCloud (1971), The Mod Squad (1972), Kung Fu (1974), The Rockford Files (1975), The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman (1976), and McMillan & Wife (1977). These shows were the ones that Powers appeared, long after she signed a contract with Universal Studios in 1970, coincidentally, her longtime friend and Hart to Hart series' star, Wagner, signed up a contract with Universal, but did not guest-star on more shows than Powers did.

Her role as stripper Dottie Del Mar in 1979's Escape to Athena with Roger Moore turned out to be Powers' last theatrical film to date.

She became widely known as a television star for her role opposite old friend Wagner as a pair of amateur sleuths in the 1979-1984 series Hart to Hart for which she received two Emmy and five Golden Globe Award Best Television Actress nominations. In the 1990s she and Wagner reunited to make eight Hart to Hart made-for-TV two-hour movies.

In 1985, Powers starred as twins who swap places leading to dire consequences in the two-part made-for-TV movie Deceptions.

She starred briefly in a 1991 London musical, Matador, which closed prematurely due to the sharp drop in tourism during the Persian Gulf War. In 1993, she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her stage performance in Love Letters.

In 1996, she toured in a production of Applause which was slated to go to New York in hopes of a Broadway revival. She played the role of Margo Channing, played in the original production by Lauren Bacall (and later Anne Baxter), and in the source film All About Eve by Bette Davis.

She toured the United Kingdom in 2002 in the singing role of Anna Leonowens for a revival of The King and I. She also toured the U.S. in 2004 and 2005 in that role. Powers released her debut CD in 2003, titled, On The Same Page. The album features selections from the classic Great American Songbook era. Since 2006 she has been the U.S. location presenter on the BBC's long running Through the Keyhole panel show.

On April 30, 2008, she was reunited with Robert Wagner for the filming of a special Hart to Hart edition of the Graham Norton show [BBC].

Personal life

Powers was married to actor Gary Lockwood between 1966 and 1972. She had a relationship with actor William Holden that led to their being involved with wildlife conservation. Following his death in 1981, Powers became President of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation and a director of the Mount Kenya Game Ranch in Kenyamarker. In the United States, she works with both the Cincinnatimarker and Atlantamarker zoos. She devotes a great deal of time to the cause and is international guest speaker on wildlife preservation.

On April 1, 1993 she married Patrick Houitte de la Chesnais. They divorced in 1999. Powers has no children.

A polo player, along with Canadian retailing magnate Galen Weston and Thoroughbred owner/breeder Henryk de Kwiatkowski, she was among the first foreign members of the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club in the United Kingdommarker, whose membership includes HRH The Prince of Wales. In 2005, she competed in the Joules United Kingdom National Women's Championships at Ascotmarker.

Her mother Julie Powers died on Jan. 3, 2009, according to the actress's official Web site.

Powers has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6778 Hollywood Boulevard.

Selected filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1988 Beryl Markham: A Shadow on the Sun (TV) Beryl Markham
1979 Escape to Athena Dottie Del Mar
1974 Herbie Rides Again Nicole Harris
1972 The Magnificent Seven Ride! Ms. Laurie Gunn
1971 Paper Man (TV) Karen McMillan
1970 The Boatniks Kate
1969 Crescendo Susan Roberts
1966 Stagecoach Mrs. Mallory
1965 Fanatic (aka Die! Die! My Darling!) Pat Carroll
1965 Love Has Many Faces Carol Lambert
1963 McLintock! Becky McLintock
1963 Palm Springs Weekend Bunny Dixon
1962 Experiment in Terror Toby Sherwood


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