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But I was also more sheltered and didn’t have that carefree or dangerous adolescent period.’ Does she regret that at all? Her talk to the genteel ladies of Beverly Hills centres around her newly published memoir, One From The Hart, and although two events precipitated the writing of the book – the death of her mother and her own lung cancer – it gave her a chance, she says, ‘to set the record straight about certain things’.
Chief among them was the legacy of William Holden (the star of films such as Sabrina with Audrey Hepburn and The Bridge On The River Kwai) with whom she had a nine-year relationship.
When Powers was one day granted an audience at his summer residence in Italy, she was determined to speak Polish, as her mother was Polish-American. Born Stefania Zofya Federkiewicz in LA in 1942, she was sent to ballet classes with a young Natalie Wood and Jill St.
John – both of whom went on to marry Robert Wagner, ‘as I did too, on screen,’ says Powers. ‘There was a better atmosphere in the house after they divorced. ‘I never had any incidents, maybe because I wasn’t one of the beautiful girls – I was a tomboy.
‘If you look at Mad Men, that’s a perfect example of how people looked and dressed. With a career spanning more than 50 years (including five years on the hugely popular TV series Hart To Hart with Robert Wagner) and a long-term relationship with the actor William Holden that sparked her commitment to wildlife conservation, Powers’ life certainly hasn’t lacked excitement.
In between their day jobs, they took it upon themselves to solve crimes, assisted by their gravel-voiced butler Max and their pet dog Freeway.
The show had a huge fanbase, which even included Pope John Paul II. I have all these photos of us chatting away like crazy and I have absolutely no recollection of what he said.’Hart To Hart was a huge success because of the undoubted chemistry between the two leads – ‘It was unlike anything either of us had ever experienced on screen, and people always used to ask me how my husband RJ was.’The role of Jennifer Hart is perhaps Powers’ most memorable, though her career has been one of impressive longevity.
The news of her lover’s death came in a brutal fashion.
While driving to the set of Hart To Hart one Monday morning, she heard it on the radio.