The Swedish-born actress, Inger Stevens famed for starring in the 1960s television series “The Farmer’s Daughter,” kept her marriage to the African American film producer, Ike Jones a secret to avoid harming her career.
Born in 1934, Inger Stevens burst onto television screens in 1954. She appeared in no less than five television productions that year and included roles in “Goodyear Playhouse” and “The Contender.”
A publicity photo of Inger Stevens in 1969. | Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Her film debut followed three years later when she starred opposite Bing Crosby in “Man of Fire.” Although her acting career flourished, her personal life told a different story.
Inger married her first husband, Anthony Soglio, in July 1955, but problems set in when she began falling in love with her co-stars.
Inger Stevens from the television series "The Farmer's Daughter." | Source: Wikimedia Commons.
They divorced in August 1958, the same year she had an affair with her co-star James Mason in “Cry Terror!” and the director of “The Buccaneer,” Cecil B. DeMille. The following year, she fell for Harry Belafonte, who co-starred with her in “The World,” while she also had an affair with Bing Crosby.
After a failed suicide attempt on New Years in 1959, Inger moved forward with new resolve after a period of self-examination. Then in 1961, Inger secretly married Ike Jones in Mexico.
They went to great lengths to keep their marriage private as an interracial relationship during those years could have meant the end of Inger’s acting career.
"They would to go to the airport, walk up to the counter and say, 'When's the next flight and where is it going?'" Bob Booker, a friend of Ike, said. "They would disappear for a week."
Inger Stevens from the front cover of the New York Sunday News magazine in 1957. | Source: Wikimedia Commons.
The couple became estranged, and Inger got involved with Burt Reynolds. But in 1970, Inger’s life ended. On April 30 of that year, Lola McNally, Inger’s hairstylist, and house-guest at the time, returned to Inger’s home and found her lying face down on the kitchen floor, still in her nightgown.
According to Lola, Inger opened her eyes and tried to say something before she went unconscious. After Lola called the police, they dispatched an ambulance that took her to Hollywood Receiving Hospital where she got pronounced dead upon arrival.
Inger Stevens from the premiere of the television program "The Farmer's Daughter" in 1963. | Source: Wikimedia Commons.
The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office later confirmed that Inger committed suicide by overdosing on barbiturates.
Throughout her career, Inger accumulated 55 acting credit and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Female TV Star in 1964.
Inger Stevens in 1960. | Source: Wikimedia Commons.
She got two Laurel Award nominations in 1958 and again in 1968, while she received Primetime Emmy Awards nominations in 1962 and 1964.
Similarly, another actor from the 1960s, Gig Young, Elizabeth Montgomery's ex had a promising career.
But life’s pressures also took a toll on Gig’s life already riddled with misfortune, which ended in tragedy.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.