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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: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL 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...

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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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Marcus Welby, MD -- A Holiday Affair (1988) Frank Poston
2.
 Condor (1986) Cyrus Hampton
3.
 S.O.B. (1981) Willard Gaylin
4.
 Secrets of Three Hungry Wives (1978) Bill Mcclure
5.
 Love Boat Ii, The (1977) Robert Grant
6.
 Killer Bees (1974) Rudolf Van Bohlen
7.
 Elevator, The (1974) Dr Stuart Reynolds
8.
 Snoop Sisters, The (1972) Charles Corman
9.
 Gunn (1967) Peter Gunn
10.
 Buchanan Rides Alone (1958) Abe Carbo
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1939:
Feature debut as a Senate reporter in "Mr Smith Goes to Washington"
1941:
Signed by Warner Bros.; acted in two films with future wife Alexis Smith, receiving good notices for his support of Flight Commander Fred MacMurray in "Dive Bomber" and as Smith's love interest in "Steel Against the Sky"
1944:
Made two additional films with Smith, "The Doughgirls" and "Hollywood Canteen"
1950:
Acted with the Bowery Boys in "Blues Busters"; first movie (excluding debut) not with Warners
1953:
Provided half of the romantic duo (with Helen Westcott) for "Abbott & Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"
1957:
Starred in "The Deadly Mantis", although the real star was the special effects
1958:
Offered intriguing performance as a man of mystery in "Buchanan Rides Alone", a taut B Western starring Randolph Scott
1958:
Star of the popular series "Peter Gunn" (first two seasons on NBC, last one ABC)
1962:
Starred as Michael Strait in short-lived syndicated series "Man of the World"
1963:
Broadway debut as Fred Gaily in "Here's Love"
1964:
Played Michael Bell, sophisticated Broadway press agent, in another short-lived series, "Mr. Broadway" (CBS)
1967:
Reprised Peter Gunn role for Blake Edwards' "Gunn"; Edwards was the producer of the TV series
1975:
Recreated the "Thin Man" role popularized in features by William Powell for ABC special "Nick and Nora" (proposed pilot not picked up)
:
Had regular role as Walter Carlson in NBC series "The Invisible Man", starring David McCallum in title part
1976:
Played Asher Berg in ground-breaking ABC miniseries "Rich Man, Poor Man"
1981:
Reteamed with Edwards for "S.O.B."
1981:
Played the part of Craig Stewart on "Dallas" (CBS)
1988:
Last screen appearance as Frank Poston in "Marcus Welby, M.D.--A Holiday Affair" (NBC)
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Education

University of Kansas: -
Pasadena Playhouse: Pasadena , California -

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Alexis Smith. Actor. Married from 1944 until her death in 1993.
companion:
Frances Bergen. Widow of Edgar Bergen; together from c. 1993.

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