|Birth: ||Oct. 18, 1934|
|Death: ||Apr. 30, 1970|
Actress. Born Inger Stensland in Stockholm, Sweden to two teachers, her lifelong struggle with loneliness and depression began when her parents divorced when she was 5 years old. Her mother remarried and her father went to the United States to continue his studies and remarried, too. Inger and her younger brother Ola lived with an aunt and uncle during this time. She came to the US when she was 13. Self-conscious of being a foreigner, she eventually lost her Swedish accent (which, ironically, would be required for her future role in the 1960's TV series, "The Farmer's Daughter"). In 1949, the family moved to Manhattan, Kansas. The tension between stepmother and stepdaughter was too much and she left. It was in Kansas City that she got her unofficial start in acting. She answered a newspaper ad for a "popcorn girl" for $30 a week, not realizing it was for a striptease show. Before she knew it, she was making $60 a week as Kay Palmer, singing in an abbreviated Santa Claus suit. Her father found her and brought her home. Back in school, she started working in amateur theater, winning stage competitions. After working a series of jobs to finance a move to New York City, she moved there in 1951. She auditioned for the Actors Studio, a workshop conducted by Lee Strasberg and Elia Kazan. Out of 150 applicants, 20 were chosen and Inger was among them. She landed her first commercial, playing a tired housewife and soon was managed by Anthony Soglio, who changed her surname to Stevens and molded her for stardom. She appeared on early-1950's shows such as "Studio One" and "Robert Montgomery Presents," among others. She married Soglio on July 1, 1955 in Greenwich, Connecticut but the marriage barely lasted 6 months. She had to pay him 6% of her earnings through 1966 as part of the settlement. One of her finest roles was in 1958's "Cry Terror," playing James Mason's wife. She and 11 movie technicians almost died due to carbon monoxide poisoning from generators on the set. It was because of her failed flings with Anthony Quinn and Bing Crosby that she attempted suicide on January 1, 1960. Miraculously, she survived, having been discovered by a building janitor three days later, who broke into her apartment at the request of an NBC-TV executive worried that he hadn't heard from her. She then landed the role that made her a household name, playing Katie Holstrom, a politically outspoken Swedish maid working for a congressional widower and his mother on "The Farmer's Daughter," which ran from 1963-1966. She won a few awards for that role, including a Golden Globe. She became involved in many charitable endeavors. She invested her money wisely and found comfort in the Danish town of Solvang, California, where she said it reminded her of her childhood in Sweden. Despite her fame and wealth, Inger was plagued by deep depression. A houseguest found her lying facedown on her kitchen floor on the morning of April 30, 1970, having overdosed on Tedral washed down with alcohol. She was cremated and her ashes scattered over the Pacific Ocean. (bio by: Donna Di Giacomo)
Cause of death: Suicide
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Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea.
Specifically: Ashes Scattered at Sea
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 2187
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