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Stephanie Beacham Turned Her Severe Disability Into Strength

Back in the early 1970s, Stephanie Beacham was a welcome change from the seemingly continuous stream of skinny young models and T.V. hosts. She first gained notoriety as the glamorous bad girl Sable Colby on The Colbys and later on in Dynasty. With her charismatic stage presence, she won the hearts of many, and she continues to serve as an inspiration, especially to the hearing-impaired community. Join FactsVerse as we journey into the 70s and discover inspiring details about Stephanie Beachem.

Though many of us recognize Beacham from the 1980s shoulder-padded, glitzy television series Dynasty, she was already a renowned stage actress at the time. Through the years, she has had the privilege of sharing the screen with such legends as Marlon Brando, Ava Gardner, and Roy Scheider. And that right there is ample evidence that Stephanie has enjoyed a fruitful career as an actress. She has had a great career in Hollywood, contrary to expectations given her auditory impairment. Yet it is unsurprising to see that her deafness has had a far more significant impact on her life. She was born with only eighty percent hearing in her good ear and a completely deaf right ear. She spent years trying to conceal her deafness by seeming to be bored during group discussions, keeping to herself, and flat-out refusing to learn sign language. But, like every other great person, she overcame the odds to achieve success where she was at a disadvantage.

Stephanie, the daughter of an insurance executive, was born in Southgate, north London. Family doctors suspected that Stephanie’s mother’s case of chicken pox during pregnancy was to blame for her birth with profound hearing loss in her right ear and partial hearing loss in her left. Beacham had a comfortable upbringing in a middle-class family in Barnet, Herts, but she always knew that acting would be her calling. She started taking ballet courses when she was four years old and continued to practice regularly after school. Unfortunately, at the tender age of 12, she auditioned for the Royal Ballet School and was swiftly turned down. Stephanie felt awful about her disappointment and easily attributed it to her hearing defect. She had the inspiration at that point to later start a ballet program for deaf kids to give them a good chance like everyone else. So, in 1964, she took an au pair position in Paris and enrolled in a mime school there. Her background studies had prepared her well to communicate in French, and she saw mastering mime as a natural progression toward her goal of instructing the physically challenged in the art of movement. Unfortunately, she wasn’t the most competent maid for her employers; therefore, things didn’t turn out well. Given that she had failed at her goal, she decided to return home. While on her way back to England, she stopped in Liverpool to see a fellow actor. She had entered the theatre with the intention of meeting him, but instead, she chose to try out for a role in a new production. After seeing her recite a monologue from Romeo and Juliet, the acting company hired her on the spot, and she ended up working with them for a total of nine months.

After the season was over, Stephanie moved back to London and enrolled in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, where she would spend the next two years studying acting techniques. She began to perform regularly in plays such as Guys and Dolls, Three Sisters, and Harold Pinter’s works, where she met acting greats like Donald Pleasance. She made her film acting debut in Michael Winner’s The Games. She then appeared in Tam Lin, starring alongside Ava Gardner and directed by Roddy McDowall. As a character actor who was used to playing second fiddle, Stephanie didn’t take Winner’s statement that her next co-star would be Marlon Brando very seriously.

For Stephanie, her role in ‘The Nightcomers’ was her first major job, and it was not easy. She had to put up with Brando’s moods and tricks, such as him talking into her deaf ear and leaving her bewildered while also being tied up and/or partially undressed during intense love scenes. There was a great deal of hysterical coverage of the shoot, and she ended up being labelled as a sex tomboy. For many, Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw’s precursor, The Nightcomers, serves as necessary reading. Stephanie’s performance was nothing short of spectacular. Numerous Hollywood studios courted her, but she ultimately decided to play it safe by returning to the stage. Consequently, she joined the cast of the Nottingham Playhouse, where she worked alongside John McEnery. The two dated for a year before getting married in 1973.

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Stephanie kept up her guest-starring role streak on British television shows like The Saint and Jason King. Then, in Dracula A.D. 1972, she starred alongside Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Caroline Munro at Hammer Studios. The film was an attempt to update the Dracula mythos, complete with laughably cheesy special effects. During this period, Stephanie appeared for Playboy and travelled to Italy to star in a thriller featuring some naked sequences, later renamed Blue Movie Blackmail. After additional T.V. advertisements and a horror movie, Stephanie became pregnant and had her first daughter Phoebe in 1974.

There weren’t many more Stephanie Beacham ventures in the years that followed since she was pregnant with her second daughter Chloe in 1977. Her separation from McEnery in 1979 was also a reason not much was seen of her. However, the sudden realization that she would have to raise her two young girls alone caused her to reevaluate her priorities. After taking some time off, Stephanie decided to get back into the acting game and quickly landed a role in the sci-fi horror film Inseminoid as well as a recurring role on the T.V. series Tenko. After that, she performed on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company and appeared in Connie, another television series. Then a chance at a high-profile role in the United States presented itself.

A spin-off of the classic Dynasty mythos, Stephanie was cast as Sable Scott Colby in the American T.V. series The Colbys. As a result, she became famous, received lots of press, and became known for sporting voluminous, unruly hairstyles. At this time, another British actress, Joan Collins, had a career renaissance thanks to her role as a gorgeous bimbo in the same series. So, Stephanie upped and left for sunny California. The role of Sable provided her with the chance to be nominated twice for Outstanding Villainess: Prime Time at the Soap Opera Digest Awards.

In 2008, through mutual connections, she met her present partner, Dr. Bernie Greenwood, on the internet.

Through email, they became acquaintances with people from other continents. Stephanie said it had a really Victorian feel to it and that it was extremely romantic.

She further asserted that although she was unaware of Bernie’s appearance, she already loved him before meeting him. However, she was secretly worried that she wouldn’t like him. But her heart skipped a beat, and butterflies filled her stomach the moment he stepped into her home. She couldn’t help but gush just how stunning he was. When they finally did meet, they immediately began to embrace one another.

Despite spending a lot of time apart due to their jobs, they live together whenever they’re in the same city. Bernie popped the question in Singapore in 2018, and the couple soon after became engaged.

A pink Malibu bungalow by the ocean is her current home. Since relocating to Los Angeles in the ’80s, she has adopted many of the liberal Californian tenets, including spiritual counsellors, self-help, and firm faith in angels.

Now that she’s retired, her days in Malibu are filled with dog walking, plant care, outdoor pursuits, socializing, creating art, and practising yoga. Her family and friends live in London, and she says that seeing them regularly keeps her from being too sarcastic or harsh.

It’s natural to assume that Stephanie didn’t always have the greatest of times in the acting field, given that actors need to be able to follow directions in order to deliver their best performances.

However, considering that she has an estimated net worth of $25 million, it’s simple to assume that she’s had a wonderful time getting to the point in her life. She may have accomplished this feat in a way that bewilders others, but a glance at her CV reveals that she hasn’t exactly been sitting on her hands for the past few decades.

Most recently, Stephanie Beacham has shown interest in a Dynasty reunion, saying that she and Dame Joan Collins are more than capable of returning to their roles. Dynasty fans may remember Stephanie Beacham best for her portrayal of Sable Colby, Jason Colby’s wife and the matriarch of Colby Enterprises. She co-starred with Dame Joan Collins, 88, who portrayed Alexis Colby, who were both the show stars. The show was revived by Netflix in 2017, but without any of the original cast members.

She continues to work with numerous organizations that aid the hearing impaired as an advocate for the deaf community. Her compassion for those who are deaf or hard of hearing is undeniable. She also believes that her disadvantage made her the resilient woman she is and encourages everyone to utilize their handicap to their advantage.

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