"Star, Star, Can't get in the door"
She called herself Star, and for a while, she lived like one:
girlfriend to rocker Gene Simmons of KISS, partying with Elton John and became February 1977 centerfold for Playboy. Star was 5 feet 6 inches tall, dark-eyed with honey-colored hair, grew up in Little Rock, Ark., with ambitions of being a dancer. When she was a teenager, she moved to Las Vegas and later Los Angeles. Friends say she was discovered by Playboy while dancing at an adult
club in Los Angeles. She got her nickname when she couldn't get into a nightclub because she was a minor. The man she was with quoted the title of the Rolling Stones' song: "Star, Star, can't get in the door."From there, the name stuck."Some people think it's egotistical to call myself Star," she told Playboy. "But it's not in the Hollywood sense at all."Instead, it was about her love of stars that glitter in the sky, she said.
She also was drawn to rock stars. She met Simmons, the lizard-tongued bassist for the heavy-metal band KISS, at the elevators of Las Vegas' Hotel Sahara, where the group was playing. Simmons wasn't wearing his trademark shocking-white face paint and black bat wings around his eyes. But Star told Playboy that she liked his laid-back manner so much that she hung around with the band for a while. For her Playboy spread, titled "Star-Struck," Stowe looked like an innocent teen-ager. Aside from the requisite nearly nude shots, there were photos of her with KISS and at a party Hugh Hefner threw for Elton John.
Life after Playboy wasn't good for Stowe. It isn't clear what happened, but the fling with Simmons was short-lived. Sometime after 1977, Stowe met and married Peter Maligo. They had a son, Michael Maligo and later divorced. When Michael was 6, Stowe sent the boy to live with his grandmother in Little Rock, but stayed in touch through frequent visits and weekly telephone calls. Stowe's hopes of becoming a dancer didn't work out, and eventually her life spiraled into an abyss of drugs and prostitution, said her former boyfriend, who met Stowe in 1991. On March 16, the fall of Ellen Louise "Star" Stowe, 40, ended when some boys found her body in bushes behind a Coral Springs Eckerd store. She had been strangled.