Every time Venetia Stevenson entered a room, every man turned his head and stared, including Elvis Presley.
The actress and model, who was once labeled “the most photogenic girl in the world,” passed away in September at the age of 84. Tab Hunter’s longtime partner Allan Glaser confirmed to Fox News Digital that he is producing a movie about Hunter’s life that will feature Stevenson. featured.
Her sister Caroline Stevenson spoke to Fox News Digital about how her “idol” captivated some of Hollywood’s sought-after leading men, including the king of rock and roll.
“Elvis Presley was one of the most polite, wonderful, genuinely kind men she ever met,” said Caroline. “As a teenager, of course, I thought, ‘Oh my God, is Venice going to marry Elvis?'”
Stevenson, the daughter of ‘General Hospital’ star Anna Lee and “Mary Poppins” director Robert Stevenson, became romantically linked to the singer in the late 1950s. She visited him in Memphis, Tennessee, and the couple was photographed at a screening of Presley’s 1957 film “Loving You.”
“He couldn’t have been nicer,” Caroline said. “She went to stay with him. I know they stayed in separate bedrooms because she made it very clear she wanted it that way. He respected that. And she thought he was just great. But nothing ever evolved. Can’t imagine guess why. I mean, we were all doing flip-flops when he walked into a room.”
“I remember him being so down to earth,” she continued. “He came to this little restaurant and ordered a burger. The waitress was just swooning. And here he says, ‘This food is delicious. But you have to make this lettuce smaller. You have to chop it up. Chop this lettuce up , or it just falls off the hamburger.’ Meanwhile, the waitress nearly faints on the floor.”
Joanna Venetia Invicta Stevenson was born in 1938. It was around this time that her father signed a contract with producer David O. Selznick, and the family traveled from London to Hollywood. At the age of 14, Stevenson was scouted by photographer Peter Gowland on a beach in Malibu, California. Her photos soon appeared in numerous magazines, including Esquire.
In 1956, Stevenson was signed by RKO Radio Pictures. She and Bond girl Ursula Andress even took tap dancing lessons together. She then signed a contract with Warner Bros. Subsequently, Popular Photography magazine named her “the most photogenic girl in the world” out of 4,000 contestants in its 1957 issue. She accepted the award on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’.
“I remember being in Grand Central Station [in New York City] and I looked at the magazine rack,” Caroline recalls. ‘Once I counted 46 magazine covers with my sister. She’s a chameleon. She could be Marilyn Monroe. She could be Ingrid Bergman. She could be whoever the photographer wanted her to be.
“She just had this incredible ability to make herself look completely different in every picture. Some people thought she was a bit distant or withdrawn. The truth is I felt that Venetia was always a bit shy. And I think that some people took that for coldness. She had a great sense of humor. I never knew she spoke unkindly about anyone.”
As a movie star, Stevenson dated “all kinds of people,” Caroline said. She acted as a confidante of Hunter, a Hollywood heartthrob who was closeted at the time, and “Psycho” star Anthony Perkins. Hunter was reportedly one of Perkins’ first lovers, Entertainment Weekly reported. In the 2015 documentary “Tab Hunter Confidential,” Stevenson said she served as “a beard” when she was photographed around town with the two actors.
“I remember being allowed to stay in her apartment once,” Caroline recalls. “She got a lot of calls and I could mimic her voice. I had about seven to 10 minute conversations with all kinds of people who wanted to be with her. I remember there was this guy who was in charge of Warner Bros. at the time. , and he really wanted to date Venetia I just had a great conversation with him, mostly yes and no, but quite a lot of no’s.
Stevenson said “yes” to “West Side Story” actor Russ Tamblyn on Valentine’s Day 1956. However, the relationship was short-lived and the couple called it quits in 1957. It was on “The Ed Sullivan Show” where she met Don Everly of The Everly Brothers. They were married from 1962-70.
Stevenson and Everly had three children, including actress Erin Everly. Erin got married Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose in 1990. According to reports, it was Erin who inspired the band’s hit, “Sweet Child o’ Mine”. Their marriage was annulled in 1991.
Despite living a life of glitz and glamour, Stevenson retired from acting after marrying Everly.
“She wouldn’t mind if I say this, but my sister Venetia wasn’t a good actress,” Caroline chuckled. “She would be the first to tell you that. She didn’t like acting. But she was under contract and if you are, it doesn’t matter if you like acting or not. That’s just what you do. She stepped out as soon as her contract was up and she was happy to get out then [studio] had its celebrity stable. And there was so much more she wanted to do.”
Stevenson continued as a script reader for Burt Reynolds’ production company. She also became a vice president at the production company Cinema Group and an executive representing director Renny Harlan.
“I never really knew anything but Hollywood,” Stevenson once said. “I don’t think I could relate to a doctor or an accountant. What would we be talking about? I think, if I really think about it, I’ve led a very narrow existence because movies are all that I know.”
Caroline fought back tears and said it was hard to look at her sister fight against Parkinson’s disease shortly before her death.
“I pray for her all the time that she found real happiness because she ended up with Parkinson’s,” said Caroline. “And I know how hard it was for her to be so beautiful. Parkinson’s is so cruel to your body, your everything. I wish I could have given her more comfort. I still feel her loss very much.”
Stevenson’s brother, actor Jeffrey Byron, confirmed to Fox News Digital that the star died at an Atlanta health facility.
“My sister was resilient in this industry,” he said. “She took life as it came to her. And when things might not go her way, she was able to turn it around and find new adventures and succeed.”
“She had a great life,” Caroline added. “I really idolized her. With everything she’s accomplished, I’m just so glad she was my sister.”
Stevenson is survived by Byron, Caroline and her daughter Erin, as well as another daughter, Stacy; a son, Edan; a brother, Steve; and four grandchildren.