Stella Stevens remembers ARNOLD
Stella Stevens as Karen in Arnold
Stevens was kind and gracious enough to answer a few questions
regarding her participation in the film.
Q: Thank you for taking the time to talk about ARNOLD, Stella. Can you first tell me how you got the role of Karen in the film?
A: The producer was Andrew J. Fenady. His
brother, Georg Fenady, directed ARNOLD. I had met
Andrew on the Paramount lot, and we liked each other
instantly. We shared a mutual love and respect for
MOVIES, and COMEDY. He gave me the script to read
and I was delighted with the genre, and the jokes.
I was thrilled he had chosen me for Karen.
A: I was elated! Nothing is more
thrilling for an actor than to have a writer want you to
play a character hešs created. I wanted to
knock Andrew out with my portrayal of Karen. On the set,
his brother, Georg, was fast, and funny, and
congenial. We all had a lot of fun, cast and crew
alike, working for this bright and thorough director, who
puffed on a pipe. No temper tantrums ever!
A: ARNOLD is a Dark and Gothic Comedy,
about a wealthy cosmetics mogul who dies and leaves all
his money AND his perfectly preserved body in a casket
which plays tapes of his voice, to his mistress, Karen.
I play Karen. I do have first billing in the movie,
and I am very proud to have had headlined such a glorious
group of actors. Roddy McDowall, Elsa Lanchester,
Farley Granger, Patric Knowles, John McGiver, Bernard
Fox, Jamie Farr, Norman Stuart, Ben Wright, Victor Buono,
AND Shani Wallis! WOW! I was having the time
of my life.
A: The appearance of innocence was her
strongest weapon, and she played it well for a while.
Preparation was always overseen by the Fenady
brothers. In the wardrobe department , they
both were meticulous in approving the chosen garments,
and the undergarments beneath, but they never got to see
me naked in the shower. Only Farley Granger got
A: Havenšt you noticed that all
"Gothic" costumes are very sexy? Even the
underwear was custom made for my body. As for my assets,
"If you got 'em, flaunt 'em !
A: We shot on a Soundstage on the Paramount
lot. I was comfortable there at one of my early
"Home Studios" where I had been under contract.
We did some exteriors at this Castle above
Sunset Boulevard, even closer to my home.
Everything ran smoothly, and I believe the film
shot about five weeks. We were all sad when it was
over. It had been a great fun experience, and we
were proud of our work.
A: Georg was always open to input, but it
was not often necessary. The script was full of
good ideas. We did stick to the script, but all
embellished the written words with their own unique
personalities. I remember Elsa leaving through a door and
turning right, walking out of vision in the door
frame. Then came back through the background walking to
the left, where she should have gone. Well, Georg
yelled "Cut!", and everyone on the set,
including Georg, broke up laughing and he said to Elsa,
"Brilliant", and to the crew, "Print
A: I always thought Jaime Farr was outrageous, and Išm right! There is nothing this man cannot get away with in comedy. I have caught up with MASH in reruns, and LOVE Jaime's ridiculous garments. I think he must have been influenced by Milton Berle, who made a helluva woman himself.
A: ATTENTION: At this point, I
put in the tape of ARNOLD, and want to mention the
writers of the piece. It was written by Jameson
Brewer, and John Fenton Murray, and is wonderfully
A: I was elated at the whole package of acting talent surrounding me. It was a film we all enjoyed and were proud to have been a part of. Roddy Mc Dowell and I worked together four times. We were lovers in ARNOLD, we both perished in the POSEIDON ADVENTURE. we were the guest star villian team in the pilot of HART TO HART, and enemies in STAR HUNTER.
This was the only time
I had the pleasure of working with Elsa Lanchester, but I
was a long time fan of hers, and was thrilled with every
minute I could work with her. At the end of the shoot she
gave me a beautiful floral chiffon scarf which I still
A: We often tried! His concentration
was incredible. When they did close-ups of him, the
assistant director would scoot us out of the set, and
tell us to have a coffee break until we were called back.
A: Only Farley Granger and I know if we were
naked or not. What would YOU wear in a shower?
A: I would have loved to sing the song,
and thought I should have done the voice over, but no one
ever asked me, and I was told Shani Wallis was doing it.
What a wonderful idea you present to actually see
me singing! I thought Shani's voice did not go with
A: I was satisfied with how I looked and
what I did
A: Another horror/comedy I did was called
THE SECRET OF MY SUCCESS. I like all types of
movies, as long as they are well-done films of the genre.
My favorite type of film would have to be a Best
Picture. So far, Išm still looking for that one.
A: I have no idea.
A: In pursuing a writing/producing/directing
career, I spend more time on sets than most actors. I
stay to watch and learn. Everyone else who can,
disappears when they are released.
A: It is difficult for stars to see each
other after films are over, as they each have careers,
and work in diverse projects. It is quite common to
never see your fellow actors again.
A: Send me a script! It could be even
lovelier the second time around, and maybe this time I
A: I am currently available at stellavisions.com, a website which contains a gallery of
decades of collectable photos, filmography, biography,
and a Party Page which tells current news in my life, and
prints an array of e-mail from my fans. I have a
published novel out in paperback, called RAZZLE DAZZLE,
and have written a Western Movie Trilogy called
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