'Original Tennent's lager lovely' Venetia Stevenson dies aged 84

The actress's face has adorned the side of Sweetheart Stout cans since 1958.

Venetia Stevenson pictured on cans of Tennent’s Sweetheart Stout brewed in Alloa dies aged 84 Getty Images

Tributes have been paid to the original Tennent’s “lager lovely” following her death at the age of 84.

Venetia Stevenson was once labelled “the most photogenic woman in the world”, appeared in dozens of Hollywood films, was briefly mother-in-law to Guns N Roses frontman Axl Rose and had a host of high-profile romances with the likes of Don Everly and Elvis Presley.

However, she was perhaps most notable for adorning the side of cans of Sweetheart Stout – paving the way for Alloa-based brewer George Younger to launch the infamous range of packaging designs which lasted until the early 90’s.

Her image, which was first used on the cans in 1958, remains there to this day.

Venetia Stevenson's image first appeared on the packaging in 1958. (Image: Wikipedia Commons)

Her brother, the actor Jeffrey Byron, paid tribute to her “busy and glamourous life” in a post on social media after announcing her passing in Atlanta following struggles with Parkinson’s disease.

Born Joanna Venetia Invicta Stevenson in London in 1938, she grew up in Hollywood after her father Robert Stevenson – who later became an Oscar winner for directing Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins – and mother, actress Anna Lee, relocated when she was just a year old.

She made her film debut in Darby’s Rangers in 1958 after a host of television appearances, shortly before her image was selected by the brewer to replace a cartoon version of a woman that previously formed the design.

The cans proved to be a hit and when the brewery was taken over by the owners of Tennent’s, the idea was adapted into a rotating cast of models who featured on the beers as a controversial marketing ploy until 1991.

Stevenson married Everly in 1962, shortly before her retirement from acting. Their daughter, Erin, would later marry Rose and reportedly serve as inspiration for “Sweet Child O’Mine”.

The pair divorced in 1970, but her image made a return to the screen in 1989’s Back to the Future II in which she featured as the cover girl for “Oh Lala” magazine.

“Venetia lived a glamourous and busy life,” Byron wrote on Instagram.

“She followed in the footsteps of our mother and became an actress. Later on she married Don Everly and had three children.

“Her career shifted behind the scenes and she was VP of production for a film company called Cinema Group. Even later, she became a personal manager and represented talent, including the director Renny Harlan, whom she discovered. “

“RIP Venetia. Many of your friends and loved ones are waiting for you.”

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