The Working Actor EDITOR'S INTRO
This is the twenty seventh in a continuing feature at IndustryCentral profiling "The Working Actor". (See Archives below)
William Shakespeare said "There are no small parts--.". William Shatner may have said it too, but the longhair with the tights was first, or so the reports go. In this feature we will explore what it really means to be an actor working in Motion Pictures and Television.
Broad public acknowledgment may have eluded some who find their way to these pages, or perhaps they may have brushed against what is referred to as stardom by virtue of one or more remarkable performances. However for many, the rewards of plying their craft in a field which has allowed them to earn a living may exceed the burdens of public acclaim. Given the chance, some in this clan might prefer the longevity offered by anonymity over the potential for short lived fame.
These individuals, either by design or fate, have managed to sustain a career by crafting performances which rendered them a good casting choice. They are usually thought of as a face you recognize, but you just can't get the name past the tip of your tongue.
Most of these folks have spent countless hours on stage in theaters ranging from 20 seats to 2000, building characters from the works of Ibsen, to Eliot, to Williams, to yes even Shakespeare, and so many of the modern Playwrights. They have rounded their skills doing drama, comedy, & musicals. Their work is a serious venture.
These people have given us screen performances which quite often were the catalyst that brought an Oscar or Emmy to another and yet they continue to work as "Characters" or "Co-Stars" without the trophies and plaques adorning their mantle.
Warren Stevens
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Warren Stevens became an actor by way of Annapolis. Stevens, who was born in Clark's Summit, PA., Followed the family's wishes and joined the Navy when he turned seventeen. During four years as an enlisted man he studied for an appointment to Annapolis and was accepted.

While attending the Naval Academy, however, he met Bob Porterfield, who owned the Barter Theatre. Stevens, who had always wanted to pursue an acting career since he had his own band as a teenager, decided now to take his desire seriously.

Stevens did twelve weeks of summer stock in the Virginia Straw-hatter where he became friends with Gregory Peck and Ken Toby. They arranged interviews for him at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City where he studied with Sanford Meisner, Martha Graham and Lehman Engel.

Stevens, who later became one of the regular players on NBC-TV's "Richard Boone Show", interrupted his career following Pearl Harbor to join the Air Force as a pilot. He spent two and a half years as a special. instructor. When he was discharged as a first Leutenant he found that he had to start all over again on his acting career.

"I starved for a while, picking up radio assignments to help out," he said, "It was the much maligned soap operas, however, which saved my neck".

He did summer stock around the Eastern Seaboard and became a charter member of the newly formed Actor's Studio in 1947, There he appeared opposite Phyllis Thaxter in "Sundown Beach," a play by Elia Kazan. The cast included Julle Harris, Cloris Leachman and Alex Nicol. The role brought Stevens his first recognition.

He followed this with "Smile at the World" by Garson Kanin, In which he co-starred with Ruth Gordon and Otto Kruger. Finally, the big chance came when he was offered the key role in "Detective Story" on Broadway, a role he played for almost two years.

Occasional TV work gave his career a steady uplift. In 1950 he signed a contract with Twentieth Century Fox, During his two years there he appeared in nine features, including "Frogmen," "Phone Call from a Stranger," "Deadline USA", "I Don't Care Girl" and "Wait Till the Sun Shines Nellie".

He decided to freelance after that, commuting from coast to coast while working in films, on the stage and in television.

In 1954 he landed the most challenging film assignment to date in his career the role of Kirk Edwards "the heavy" in "The Barefoot Contessa" along side Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, and Edmond O'Brien

Other screen credits since then include "Shark River", "Black Tuesday", "Duel on the Mississippi", "Forbidden Planet", "Threshold of Space", "Cry innocent", "Forty Pounds of Trouble", "Gunpoint", "Madame X", "An American Dream", "Cyborg", "Madigan", "The Student Body", "The Amazing Captain Nemo", "Stoker Ace", and "Chill Factor" among others

Stevens guest-starred in virtually all major shows on TV in the 60's through the 90's including "Playhouse 90", "Climax," "The Defenders", "Wagon Train", "Have Gun, Will Travel", "Twilight Zone", "Gunsmoke", "Have Gun Will Travel", "Combat!", "The Outer Limits", "Bonanza", "The Man from U.N.C.L.E", "The Big Valley", "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", "Star Trek", "Ironside", "Mission: Impossible", "Cannon", "Marcus Welby, M.D.", "M*A*S*H", and "Wonder Woman", to name but a few. He also had his own series, co-starring regularly as Lt. William Storm in NBC's "The 77th Bengal Lancers".

After reviewing Warren Steven's credits, we determined that we had to drop the following partial list of players with whom he has shared the screen: Dana Andrews, Anne Bancroft, Ralph Bellamy, Betty Davis, Jacqueline Bisset, Richard Boone, Humphrey Bogart, Lee J. Cobb, Tony Curtis, Howard Duff, Ann Francis, Ava Gardener, Lee Grant, Charles Laughton, Janet Lee, Ida Lupino, Shirley MacLaine, Harry Morgan, Edmond O'Brien, Merle Oberon, Walter Pidgeon, Edward G. Robinson, Inger Stevens, Lana Turner, Richard Widmark, Shelly Winters, now who's left?

Stevens is a voracious reader, preferring non-fiction books on virtually all subjects and is currently writing his memoirs. This undertaking has taken him some time, and when complete, should truly qualify as a Who's Who of Hollywood's Golden Era. We can't wait for it's publication.

Leanne Levy
(323) 461-3971

Warren Stevens's advice to the aspiring actor:

"First of all, pursue your dream--.. Don't let anything deter you from that!
And as far as the actual performing aspect is concerned, for me, economy has been the key. Less is best!

Let's keep it that way!"

Warren Stevens's Credits (partial)

  • "Chill Factor" (1990)
  • "Stroker Ace" (1983) -- Jim Catty
  • "Behind the Screen" (1981) (TV Series) -- Merritt Madison
  • "High Ice" (1980) (TV) -- Master Sgt. Lomax
  • "The Rebels" (1979) (TV) -- Ambrose Waverly
  • "The Amazing Captain Nemo" (1978) -- Miller
  • "The Student Body" (1976) -- Dr. Blalock
  • "Return to Peyton Place" (1972) (TV Series) -- Elliot Carson" (1972-74)
  • "Bracken's World" (1969) (TV Series) (voice) -- John Bracken
  • "The Sweet Ride" (1968) -- Brady Caswell
  • "Madigan" (1968) -- Captain Ben Williams
  • "An American Dream" (1966) -- Johnny Dell
  • "Madame X" (1966) -- Michael Spalding
  • "Cyborg 2087" (1966) -- Dr. Carl Zellar
  • "Gunpoint" (1965) -- Nate Harlan
  • "The Richard Boone Show" (1963) (TV Series) -- Regular
  • "40 Pounds of Trouble" (1963) -- Swing
  • "Stagecoach to Dancers' Rock" (1962) -- Jess Dollard
  • "No Name on the Bullet" (1959) -- Lou Fraden
  • "Intent to Kill" (1958) -- Finch
  • "The Case Against Brooklyn" (1958) -- Rudi Franklin
  • "Hot Spell" (1958) -- Wyatt
  • "Man or Gun" (1958) -- Mice Ferris
  • "Accused of Murder" (1956) -- Stan 'Scarface' Wilbo
  • "Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers" (1956) (TV Series) -- Lieutenant William Storm
  • "On the Threshold of Space" (1956) -- Captain Mike Bentley
  • "Forbidden Planet" (1956) -- Lt. 'Doc' Ostrow
  • "The Price of Fear" (1956) -- Frankie Adair
  • "Women's Prison" (1955) -- Glen Burton
  • "Duel on the Mississippi" (1955) -- Hugo Marat
  • "The Man from Bitter Ridge" (1955) -- Linc Jackman
  • "Robber's Roost" (1955) -- Smokey
  • "The Barefoot Contessa" (1954) -- Kirk Edwards
  • "Black Tuesday" (1954) -- Joey Stewart
  • "Gorilla at Large" (1954) -- Mack
  • "The I Don't Care Girl" (1953) -- Lawrence
  • "Shark River" (1953) -- Clay Webley
  • "O. Henry's Full House" (1952) -- Druggist
  • "Deadline - U.S.A." (1952) -- George Burrows
  • "Phone Call from a Stranger" (1952) -- Marty Nelson
  • "Red Skies of Montana" (1952) -- Steve
  • "Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie" (1952) -- McCauley
  • "Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell" (1951) -- Reporter
  • "Follow the Sun" (1951) -- Radio Announcer
  • "The Frogmen" (1951) -- Hodges

  • "The Twilight Zone" (1985) playing "Major Whitmore"
  • "Wonder Woman" (1976) playing "Beal"
  • "M*A*S*H" (1972) playing "Colonel Chaffey"
  • "Marcus Welby, M.D." (1969)
  • "Cannon" (1971) playing "Clifford Judd"
  • "Mission: Impossible" (1966) playing "Thor Coffin"
  • "Cannon" (1971) playing "US Cop"
  • "Adam-12" (1968) playing "Officer Art McCall"
  • "The Virginian" (1962) playing "Paul Carson"
  • "Bonanza" (1959)
  • "Land of the Giants" (1968) playing "Olds"
  • "Mannix" (1967) playing "Harry Wallachs"
  • "Land of the Giants" (1968) playing "Ashim"
  • "Mission: Impossible" (1966) playing "Frank Layton"
  • "Ironside" (1967) playing "District Attorney Layton"
  • "Star Trek" (1966) playing "Rojan"
  • "Bonanza" (1959) playing "Sam Bragan"
  • "Ironside" (1967) playing "Howard Comus"
  • "The Iron Horse" (1966)
  • "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" (1964) playing "Van Wyck"
  • "Mission: Impossible" (1966) playing "Karl de Groot"
  • "The High Chaparral" (1967) playing "Captain Thomas Dabney"
  • "Bonanza" (1959) playing "Count Alexis"
  • "The Virginian" (1962)
  • "T.H.E. Cat" (1966) playing "Milo Andrade"
  • "Ironside" (1967) playing "Elliott Gaynor"
  • "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" (1964) playing "Sam Garrity"
  • "The Rat Patrol" (1966) playing "Sgt. Frank Griffin"
  • "The Time Tunnel" (1966) playing "Harlow"
  • "Combat!" (1962) playing "Sgt. Hagen"
  • "The Big Valley" (1965) playing "Bert Jason"
  • "A Man Called Shenandoah" (1965)
  • "The Legend of Jesse James" (1965)
  • "Daniel Boone" (1964)
  • "The Man from U.N.C.L.E" (1964) playing "Capt. Dennis Jenks"
  • "The Loner" (1965)
  • "I Spy" (1965)
  • "Rawhide" (1959)
  • "Honey West" (1965)
  • "Kraft Suspense Theatre" (1963) playing "Mark Wilton"
  • "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" (1964) playing "Forester"
  • "Bonanza" (1959) playing "Paul Mandel"
  • "The Outer Limits" (1963) playing "Prof. Eric Plummer"
  • "Combat!" (1962) playing "Sgt. Walker"
  • "Have Gun Will Travel" (1957) playing "Costigan"
  • "Have Gun Will Travel" (1957) playing "Colonel Draco"
  • "Gunsmoke" (1955) playing "Lucas"
  • "The Dakotas" (1963)
  • "Hawaiian Eye" (1959) playing "Allen Forest"
  • "Wagon Train" (1957)
  • "The Defenders" (1961)
  • "The Twilight Zone" (1959) playing "Nate Blesdoe"
  • "Hawaiian Eye" (1959) playing "Dr. Terrence Bilson"
  • "Gunsmoke" (1955) playing "Mr. Cassidy"
  • "The Untouchables" (1959) playing "Alex Brosak"
  • "The Rebel" (1959)
  • "The Chevy Mystery Show" (1960)
  • "Hawaiian Eye" (1959) playing "Harry Sanford"
  • "The Alaskans" (1959) playing "Jim Hendricks"
  • "Mr. Lucky" (1959) playing "Charles Van Clede"
  • "Laramie" (1959)
  • "Alcoa Presents" (1959) playing "Leonard Barrett"
  • "Wagon Train" (1957)
  • "Perry Mason" (1957) playing "Alan Neil"
  • "Gunsmoke" (1955) playing "Rachmil"
  • "Have Gun Will Travel" (1957) playing "Major Wilson"
  • "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1955) playing "Jeff Simmons"
  • "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1955) playing "Perry Stanger"
  • "Science Fiction Theater" (1955) playing "Prof. Richard Sheldon"
  • "Science Fiction Theater" (1955) playing "Professor Sheldon"
  • "Goodyear Television Playhouse" (1951)
  • "Science Fiction Theater" (1955) playing "Ted Heller"
  • "Philco Television Playhouse, The" (1948)
  • "Studio One" (1948)
  • "Suspense" (1949)
  • "Starlight Theatre" (1950)
  • "The Philco Television Playhouse" (1948)
  • "The Trap" (1950)
  • "Actor's Studio" (1948)

  • Galileo (1947)
  • Sundown Beach (1948)
  • Smile of the World (1949)
  • Dectitive Story (1949)

For more info and credits see IMDb

-- End ---

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