Sunday, February 27, 2005

Getting to know Stefanie, in a classic

Stefanie Powers is a figure out of old Hollywood. She's now starring in one of the best examples of old Broadway.

We mean both in a good way.

The Broadway show, for instance, is Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The King and I," first staged in 1951. Powers will play Anna Leonowens, Victorian governess for the children of the King of Siam, in the national touring production that opens Friday at the DuPont Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware. (Call 656-4401 or visit

The show contains some of the best show tunes ever, including "Getting to Know You," "Hello, Young Lovers" and "I Whistle a Happy Tune."

Powers has stage performances on her résumé, but she made her first splash in the movies and a little later starred on television in the breezy detective show "Hart to Hart."

After her 1960 debut in an obscure movie called "Among the Thorns," she was invited to study acting with contract players from Hollywood studios. Director Blake Edwards then cast her in "Experiment in Terror," which led to a contract with Columbia at age 16. She shared movie bills with John Wayne, Bing Crosby and other stars before taking the role of April Dancer in 1966 on television's "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E."

Powers played various TV roles after that and in 1979 landed the role in "Hart to Hart." She and Robert Wagner played a husband-and-wife detective team for five seasons.

Wagner himself is one of the last of the old-Hollywood types, but Powers' big romantic relationship was with an actor who went back to the Golden Age itself: the late William Holden. Through Holden she developed an interest in nature conservation, in which she is still active.

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