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Craig Stevens

Craig Stevens

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Also Known As: Gail Shikles Jr.,Michael Gale Died: May 10, 2000
Born: July 8, 1918 Cause of Death: cancer
Birth Place: Liberty, Missouri, USA Profession: Cast ... actor
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BIOGRAPHY

On his way to a career in dentistry, dark and handsome Craig Stevens got the acting bug at the University of Kansas and after some training at the Pasadena Playhouse made his debut in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939). He signed with Warner Bros. in 1941 and worked there throughout the decade, meeting future wife Alexis Smith and receiving good notices as a newcomer. But the quality of his parts suffered when returning soldiers swelled the acting ranks at the end of World War II. Stevens worked extensively during the Golden Age of TV, augmenting a feature career that paired him with both the Bowery Boys ("Blues Busters" 1950) and Abbott and Costello ("Abbott & Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" 1953), and though he played second banana to the special effects in "The Deadly Mantis" (1957), he was in top form as an intriguing man of mystery in the taut B Western "Buchanan Rides Alone" (1958).

Stevens became a star as "Peter Gunn" (NBC, 1958-60; ABC, 1960-61), one of the first suave, aggressive lady-killer TV private detectives, but was never able to duplicate the feat, despite headlining a successive variety of short-lived series and busted pilots. He reprised his signature role for Blake Edwards' "Gunn" (1967) and also appeared in Edwards' "S.O.B." (1981), but for the most part limited his acting to TV, where he guest-starred on series like "Ghost Story" (NBC), "The Love Boat" (ABC), "Happy Days" (ABC) and "Murder, She Wrote" (CBS). Stevens portrayed Whitman in NBC's "McCloud: Who Killed Miss U.S.A.?" (1970) and Asher Berg in the 1976 ground-breaking ABC miniseries "Rich Man, Poor Man" before joining the cast of "Dallas" (CBS) as Craig Stewart. His last screen role to date was as Frank Poston in NBC's "Marcus Welby, M.D.--A Holiday Affair" (1988).

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