Friday, April 30, 2010

Deathday in L.A.: Inger Stevens, Actress & Suicide

 
Inger Stevens (born Inger Stensland, October 18, 1934 – April 30, 1970) was a Swedish-American movie and TV actress.

 
Early life

Inger Stevens was born in Stockholm, Sweden, as Inger Stensland. She was an insecure and often ill child. She was 9 years old when her parents divorced, and she moved with her father to New York City. At age 13, she and her father moved to Manhattan, Kansas, where she attended Manhattan High School. At 16 years old, she worked in the Kansas City burlesque shows. At age 18, she left Kansas for New York City to work as a chorus girl and in the Garment District. Simultaneously, she took classes at the Actors Studio.

 
 
Career

She appeared on television programs and commercials and in plays, until she finally got her big chance in the movie Man on Fire, with Bing Crosby.
 
Several roles in major films followed, but she had the greatest success with her leading role in the ABC television series The Farmer's Daughter, with William Windom. Stevens also had roles in episodes of Bonanza, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Eleventh Hour, Sam Benedict and The Twilight Zone.

 
After The Farmer's Daughter was canceled in 1966, Stevens concentrated on movies. The best-known of her movie roles were, A Guide for the Married Man (1967), with Walter Matthau, Hang 'Em High, with Clint Eastwood, 5 Card Stud, with Dean Martin, and Madigan, with Henry Fonda and Richard Widmark, all in 1968. Stevens was attempting to make a comeback on TV, in 1970, with the detective drama series The Most Deadly Game when she died.

 
Personal life

Her first husband was her agent, Anthony Soglio, to whom she was married from 1955 to 1957. From 1961 to her death, she was secretly married to Ike Jones, a black American actor. She also was romantically involved with Crosby, Anthony Quinn, Dean Martin, Harry Belafonte, Mario Lanza, among numerous others, and Burt Reynolds, shortly before her suicide.
 
Death

A houseguest found Ms. Stevens lying face down on her kitchen floor on the morning of April 30, 1970, having overdosed on Tedral (a combination drug of theophylline, ephedrine and phenobarbital, commonly prescribed in the treatment of breathing trouble associated with asthma, emphysema, bronchitis and other such illnesses), washed down with alcohol. Ms. Stevens had attempted suicide once before in 1959 when her reported romance with Bing Crosby ended. After an autopsy, her body was cremated and her ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

 
 
 

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