Sunday, January 16, 2005

Macomb Daily : A 'Hart' for Poland's orphans 01/15/05

But Stefanie Powers says local groups deserve praise for their efforts.

She won their hearts all the more.

Stefania Zofia Federkiewicz first won their hearts as the actress Stefanie Powers in the role of Jennifer Hart in the romantic adventure TV show, "Hart to Hart." She won their hearts even more at a benefit held Thursday in Sterling Heights to help orphaned children in Poland.

The benefit luncheon was held at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church on 18 Mile Road in Sterling Heights in raising funds for the American Polish Assistance Association, or APAA, an organization located on Gratiot in Eastpointe.

"The work you are doing is absolutely outstanding," Powers told the gathering of about 150 people in praising the APAA.

Founder and president of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation, Powers said she knows how difficult it can be to work in different cultures across international borders. She said that makes the success of the APAA all the more amazing in ensuring orphaned children the love and nurturing that all children need.

"Hats off to you," Powers said. "You may be here to honor me, but I am here to honor you."

After the luncheon and program, participants crowded around Powers for autographs and joint photos.

Among those she met were Marcia Deputat and Jacqueline Bell, the grandmother and mother of two children adopted from Poland into the James and Jacqueline Bell family of Armada Township -- Zbigniew, 6, and Marlena, 4.

"It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful, and I am amazed at how personable she is, and how much she knows about Polish adoptions," said Deputat, a Shelby Township resident.

Powers is currently appearing as Anna in "The King and I" at the Fisher Theater in Detroit.

The tables at the church banquet hall featured calligraphy of movies, TV shows and plays with roles featuring Powers, including "Love Letters," "Annie Get Your Gun," "A View from the Bridge," "Sabrina," "Escape to Athena" and "Hart to Hart."

Born in 1942 into a family from Poland, and a native of Los Angeles where she graduated from Hollywood High School, Powers was featured in "Hart to Hart" in the early 1980s alongside actor Robert Wagner, who played Jonathan Hart, owner and president of Hart Industries, a global conglomerate. Together they portrayed a married couple deeply in love and involved as amateur sleuths in thrilling adventures across the United States and the world.

Powers described to her luncheon audience her encounter with Pope John Paul II, a native of Poland, while in Rome for on-location filming of a "Hart to Hart" episode.

She said that she dreamed of meeting the pope and worked on arrangements while in Rome. She said that to her amazement, she was provided with a spot in the front pew at an early morning Mass of a select group with John Paul at the Vatican.

She learned afterward that "Hart to Hart" was a TV show in which he delighted. Powers said that in preparing to meet the pope, she continually practiced what she would say in Polish. To her surprise, she said, he spoke entirely in English with her and at extraordinary length. "I was so excited," she said, "that I can't remember a word he said!"

Said Michael Krolewski of Eastpointe, president of the APAA, "Stefanie's outer beauty is exceeded only by her inner beauty. Giving so many people autographs and pictures, she was a very patient and sincere person."

Krolewski said the contributions of the participants will go for supplies and packages for children in orphanages in Poland.

No comments: