Stella Stevens dies at 84

Matt Helm and Gail Hendricks (Dean Martin and Stella Stevens) in Matt’s Mercury station wagon equipped with a bar.

Stella Stevens, a versatile actress whose many credits included the first Matt Helm movie, has died at 84, according to Variety.

Variety cited actor Andrew Stevens, son of Stella Stevens. Andrew Stevens said his mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.

The Silencers (1966) was the start of the Matt Helm film series. The movies were based on serious novels by author Donald Hamilton.

Producer Irving Allen, Albert R. Broccoli’s one-time partner, turned the Helm stories into comedies. Allen made star Dean Martin into a partner for the Helm films. As a result, Dino made more money than Sean Connery got for Bond films such as Thunderball.

Stella Stevens’ IMDB.COM ENTRY lists more than 100 acting credits, including the likes of The Poseidon Adventure, The Ballad of Cable Hogue, and The Nutty Professor

New e-book versions of Fleming stories released in U.K.

New digital versions of Ian Fleming books and short stories have been released in the U.K., according to Ian Fleming Publications. The release includes the non-fiction titles, Thrilling Cities and The Diamond Smugglers.

The release occurred on the 71st anniversary of when Fleming, while in Jamaica, began working on Casino Royale, the first James Bond novel.

CLICK HERE to see an Amazon listing of the e-books.

Footnote: Thrilling Cities was actually the catalyst for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Television producer Norman Felton was approached about whether Thrilling Cities could be turned into a TV show. That led to an October 1962 meeting between Felton and Fleming about a possible TV show. Some Bond and U.N.C.L.E. fans do their best to forget that.