Stefanie Powers has been thrilling audiences for over 50 years with her looks and talent.
Although she appeared in feature films, including "Stagecoach," "The Interns" and "McLintock!," it's her small-screen credits that have brought her worldwide recognition: "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.," "Deceptions," "The Burden of Proof" and, of course, the '80s hit, "Hart to Hart."
At age 15, Powers, who was born in Hollywood, was signed to a movie deal with Columbia Pictures. She married actor Gary Lockwood in 1966, a union that lasted six years. In 1974, Stefanie formed a friendship with actor William Holden that later blossomed into a romance. Holden was passionate about wildlife conservation, co-founding the Mount Kenya Game Ranch in Africa, a game preserve and animal orphanage. After he died in 1981, the William Holden Wildlife Foundation was created in his memory to further animal conservation education and efforts.
It was her relationship with Holden that would carve out a legacy for the actress. She has become president of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation and director of the Mount Kenya Game Ranch, which is now part of the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy.
Bankrate: Not only are you still involved with your acting and the William Holden Wildlife Foundation, but you consult with American zoos. How do you keep everything going?
Stefanie Powers: Every once in a while, all these things come crashing together and you're obviously going to have those moments if you involve yourself with a lot of things. I just keep going.
I feel very privileged to have been on the tail end of the "star system." I began to work at 15, and when I was put under contract at Columbia, they still believed in "grooming" their young hopefuls. That process allowed me to learn how movies were made, since the studio was my playground.
In many ways, the experience of working with such movie greats as John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Bing Crosby, Lana Turner, Lee Remick and others helped to give me a sense of the importance of balancing career and life. I even became friends with Tallulah Bankhead and Helen Hayes, who once said to me "When the makeup comes off, you still have to go home to your life; make sure it's as satisfying as the one you left at the dressing table."