Friday, April 6, 2012

Character Actor Warren Stevens R.I.P.

Character actor Warren Stevens, who appeared in movie roles including Doc Ostrow in Forbidden Planet and Kirk Edwards in The Barefoot Contessa as well as numerous television roles, passed on 27 March 2012 at the age of 92.  The cause was chronic lung disease.

Warren Stevens was born on 2 November 1919 in Clarks Summit Pennsylvania. During World War II he served as a pilot in the United States Army Air Force. Following the war he trained at the Actors Studio in New York City. He made his debut on Broadway in Galileo in 1947. He would appear again on Broadway in Six O'Clock Theatre (1948), Sundown Beach (1948), The Smile of the World (1949), and Detective Story (1949).  He made his television debut in 1948 in episodes of Actor's Studio. In the late Forties he also appeared in the TV shows Robert Montgomery Presents and Starlight Theatre.

It was in 1951 that he made his movie debut in an uncredited part as a radio announcer in Follow the Sun. In the Fifties he appeared in such films as The Frogmen (1951), Deadline-USA (1952), The Barefoot Contessa (1954), The Man From Bitter Ridge (1955), Forbidden Planet (1956), Accused of Murder (1956), and Intent to Kill (1958). On television he was a regular on the series Tales of the 77th Lancers as Lt. William Storm. He appeared on such shows as The WebSuspense, The Philo-Goodyear Television Playhouse, Studio One, Inner Sanctum, The Millionaire, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Perry Mason, Have Gun--Will Travel, One Step Beyond, Men Into Space, and The Alaskans.

In the Sixties Mr. Stevens appeared in such shows as The Untouchables, The Twilight Zone, The Defenders, Wagon Train, Route 66, Gunsmoke, 77 Sunset Strip, Have Gun--Will Travel, The Outer Limits, The VirginianHoney West, Man From U.N.C.L.E., I SpyThe Big Valley, Combat, Daniel Boone, Star Trek, Bonanza, and The Outsider. He was a regular on The Richard Boone Show and Bracken's World (although, like Charlie on Charlie's Angels, only his voice was heard). He appeared in such films as 40 Pounds of Trouble (1962), Gunpoint (1966), An American Dream (1966), The Sweet Ride (1968),  and Madigan (1968).

From the Seventies to Naughts Warren Stevens appeared on such shows as Adam-12, Mission: Impossible, Ironside, Get Christie Love, Marcus Welby M.D., M*A*S*H, Police Woman, Wonder Woman, Quincy, Falcon Crest, the Eighties version of The Twilight Zone, and ER He appeared in such films as The Student Body (1976), Stroker Ace (1983), Samurai Cop (1989), The Solicitor (2007), and Carts (2007).

Warren Stevens was a versatile actor, which explains why he was a frequent guest star on TV shows.  He frequently played villains, from THRUSH operative Captain Denis Jenks in the Man From U.N.C.L.E. episode "The Children's Day Affair," to Rojan, an invader from the Kelvan Empire, on Star Trek. At the same time, however, he played many roles that were not at all villainous. In the Bonanza episode "The Ballerina" he played a master at ballet who becomes a mentor to a young woman wanting to be a ballerina. On an episode of Marcus Welby M.D. he played the Chief of Obstetrics. Of course, his most famous role was perhaps that of Dr. Ostrow, the kindly if unfortunately overly curious medical officer of United Planets Cruiser C57-D. Warren Stevens played these diverse roles well. He was an actor who could be convincing as the agent of a criminal organisation intent to taking over the world as he could a gentle doctor or an artist. It is little wonder he was in such demand as a guest star on TV shows for many years.

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