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Craig Stevens

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Actor
Born:
July 8, 1918 in Liberty, MO
Death:
May 10, 2000 in Los Angeles, CA
Biography
Craig Stevens abandoned all plans for a career in dentistry when he became involved in student productions at the University of Kansas. Trained at Pasadena Playhouse and Paramount's acting school, Stevens was signed to a stock Warner Bros. contract in 1941. He was well showcased as a soft-hearted gangster in At the Stroke of Twelve, a 1941 two-reel adaptation of Damon Runyon's The Old Doll's House, but his feature film roles were merely adequate at best. By 1950, Stevens was reduced to playing a standard mustachioed villain in the Bowery Boys epic Blues Busters. His saving turnaround came about when Stevens was cast in the title role of the 1958 Blake Edwards-produced TV private eye series Peter Gunn. Though obviously imitating Cary Grant in the early episodes of this three-season hit, Stevens eventually developed a hard-edged acting style all his own. He later re-created his TV role in the 1967 theatrical feature Gunn. Subsequent TV-series assignments for Stevens included the British-filmed weekly Man of the World (1962) and CBS' Mr. Broadway (1964). Craig Stevens was married to actress Alexis Smith (with whom he toured in such stage productions as Critic's Choice) from 1944 until her death in 1993. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
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