77 (passed away Sep. 15th, 1994)
Dec. 13th, 1916
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Mark Stevens' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1956 - Time Table
1954 - Cry Vengeance
1948 - The Street with No Name
1946 - The Dark Corner
1945 - Objective, Burma!
1945 - Rhapsody in Blue
1944 - Hollywood Canteen
1944 - Passage to Marseille
1943 - Destination Tokyo
Guest TV Roles
Capt. John Hunter
Colonel Nels Stack
Mark Stevens, a second-tier star during the 1940s and 1950s, was born Richard William Stevens in Cleveland, Ohio in 1916 (the dates in reference books vary between 1915 and 1920). Of Scottish and English heritage, the freckle-faced boy with the reddish hair had a father who was an American flyer. But his parents divorced while he was young and Mark was sent to England. He resided briefly with his maternal grandparents until a second move to Canada, where he was raised by his older sister. Slight in stature, Mark built himself up through athletics. A back injury, however, kept him from serving in WWII.
Mark's initial interest appeared to be art, which he studied for a time, but a gift for singing led to night club work. He began turning to acting as well and performed in musicals and legit plays throughout the various Canadian provinces. Radio broadcasting turned into another creative outlet for Mark. He eventually returned to his Ohio hometown in the early 1940s and won lead roles at the Cleveland Playhouse. Notice here on the stage eventually had him setting his sights on Hollywood. Being young and talented combined with a 4-F classification that actually helped gain him a studio contract, first at Warner Brothers where he was groomed in bit roles and was briefly billed as Stephen Richards. That name as quickly changed by Darryl F. Zanuck to Mark Stevens after Mark's move to 20th Century Fox. They darkened his hair and covered up the freckles to enhance his serious good looks. He soon materialized into a prime film noir contender with such films as Within These Walls (1945) and the excellent film noir The Dark Corner (1946) (interestingly starring but 4th billed!), the latter pairing him up with a cast-against-type Lucille Ball five years before her "I Love Lucy" fame. One of his best roles, however, was as an FBI man at odds with Richard Widmark in The Street with No Name (1948). On the musical front, Mark appeared rather colorlessly in such tunefests as I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now (1947) and Oh, You Beautiful Doll (1949) in which he seemed overshadowed by his leading ladies. Indeed, despite his good looks and abilities, Stevens was constantly (and unfairly) compared to a lesser version of John Payne or Alan Ladd. In retrospect, many of his capable performances leave viewers thinking he was a producer's casting Plan B.
TV played a big part in the 1950s with two classic dramatic series coming his way. A move into producing with Mark Stevens Television, Inc. and music publishing with Mark Stevens Music, Inc. prodded him to consider retiring from acting, although he occasionally did guest spots on such TV dramas as "Wagon Train" (1957) and "Playhouse 90" (1956), occasionally directing as well. A jack of all trades, Mark moved to Europe in the late 1950s and spent a decade operating a restaurant in Spain while writing novels (This, Then My Mind; Run Fast, Run Far; The Ex-Patriots).
He was married for some time to actress Annelle Hayes and had two children, Mark Richard and Arrelle. His rather nomadic existence eventually led to him not only filing for bankruptcy but headed for divorce in 1962. Mark remained content in Europe, however, for most of his later life, but he did work in Hollywood and owned and maintained apartment buildings as well. He married a second time to a Swedish woman named Hilde. He died of cancer in Majores, Spain at 77 well-lived years old.
- Became a contract player for Warners at $100 a week in 1943 but they changed his looks and his stage name. They darkened and straightened his curly ginger-colored hair and covered his freckles. At first he was billed as Stephen Richards, later changed it to Mark Stevens at the suggestion of 'Darryl F. Zanuck' (qv) when he switched to 20th Century-Fox.
- Romantically involved for a time with actress 'Hedy Lamarr' (qv).
- An instinctive rebellious nature had him kicked out of every school he ever attended, public or private.
- Once prepared for training for the Canadian Olympic Diving Team but seriously hurt his back on the high springboard. This injury later kept him out of the Army and resulted in an operation.
- Honored with a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, located at 6637 Hollywood Blvd.
- Met wife 'Annelle Hayes' (qv) while she was out testing for movies. They had two children, Mark Richard and Arrelle.
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