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A bizarre thing occurs as I approach the gate of Stefanie Powers's house in Beverly Hills. A bright-yellow Mercedes Benz two-seater comes careening round the corner, nearly knocking me off my feet.
Like the car in the iconic television series Hart To Hart, it is driven by a glamorous woman with big hair.
Course - Coincidence - Jennifer - Hart - Character
Of course, it is just a coincidence, not Jennifer Hart herself, the character first played by Powers 40 years ago.
A rather more sedate white Honda SUV sits in Powers's driveway. But the 76-year-old woman who opens the red front door is as glamorous and svelte as ever. Older, of course, with her hair cut short in a bob. But still recognisably Mrs H.
Ushers - House - Artefacts - Garden - Pool
She ushers me through her fabulous house, stuffed with museum-worthy African artefacts, and out to the garden, where we sit by the pool. It is movie-set perfect.
Three small dogs scamper around her feet. Sadly, none of them is called Freeway, the name of the Harts' dog — as beloved a character as the human protagonists.
Woman - Stefanie - Powers - Fact - Fiction
This is what happens when you meet a woman like Stefanie Powers: fact and fiction merge. So closely associated is she with the role of Jennifer Hart that it is sometimes hard, even for her, to see where one ends and the other begins.
Speaking about the extraordinary chemistry that permeated her on-screen marriage to Robert Wagner, aka Jonathan Hart, Powers says: 'We chose to be together. We loved each other. We adored everything about each other.'
Jonathan - Jennifer
She quickly clarifies: 'I'm talking about Jonathan and Jennifer.'
Freeway, of course, is dead now. And so is Lionel Stander, who played Max, the loyal chauffeur and butler, who memorably introduced each of the series' 110 episodes in his gravelly voice: 'This is my boss Jonathan Hart — a self-made millionaire. He's quite a guy. This is Mrs H...
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