Family & Companions
Born Richard Stevenson Parker, Jr. on June 4, 1952 in Philadelphia, PA, Parker Stevenson's entry into the acting world was something of a conflict for his parents. His father, an investment banker, had reservations about the business, but his mother, a stage actress and occasional performer in television commercials, was enthusiastic about bringing their photogenic child to casting sessions. However, Stevenson did not begin to act until he was cast as Gene, the thoughtful, guilt-ridden hero of John Knowles' "A Separate Peace" (1972) while still a senior at the prestigious Brooks School in North Andover, MA. Two years later, while studying architecture at Princeton University, he landed his second lead in "Our Time" (1974), Peter Hyams' coming-of-age drama with Stevenson's future co-star, Pamela Sue Martin as a '50s-era student who must weigh the consequences of sleeping with her boyfriend (Stevenson). After graduating from Princeton, he dove into acting fulltime, landing a supporting role as a novice lifeguard opposite Sam Elliott's rugged but unemotional vet in "Lifeguard" (1976). The following year, the 25-year-old Stevenson was tapped to play Frank Hardy, the eldest of the crime-solving Hardy Boys in "The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries," which instantly minted him and co-stars Shaun Cassidy and Martin as teen idols.
Stevenson's role as Frank Hardy was to provide a calm and rational voice in the midst of the brothers' investigations into crooks, vampires, pirates and other mysteries, as well as to cast approving glances at younger brother Joe's forays into pop music. As limited as the role was, Stevenson projected a likable confidence that would help him eclipse, however briefly, the boundaries of the teen star market - something his co-star Cassidy would find hard to do, being the bigger teen idol of the two. After "The Hardy Boys" left the airwaves in 1979, Stevenson worked steadily on television, most notably in an about-face turn as Joel McCarthy, a double-dealing ex-drug addict who returned to Tuscany Valley to blackmail his ex-wife (Laura Johnson) on the nighttime soap, "Falcon Crest" (CBS, 1981-1990). There were also attempts to land a starring role on a series, most notably the wry "Shooting Stars" (ABC, 1983), with Stevenson and Billy Dee Williams as actors who, after being fired from a TV detective series, decide to do some sleuthing in real life. In 1986, he was cast as James Read's younger brother in the epic Civil War miniseries "North and South: Book II" (ABC, 1986), in which he co-starred with actress Kirstie Alley, whom he had married in 1983, and who portrayed his sister in the production.
Stevenson returned to series work with "Probe" (ABC, 1988), a thoughtful science fiction-mystery hybrid created by TV vet William Link and legendary science fiction author Isaac Asimov. The actor was top-billed as a brilliant but socially awkward inventor who solved high tech crimes. Well regarded by critics, its small but loyal legion of fans was unable to save it from cancellation, but "Probe" remained a cult favorite in the decades following its demise. In 1989, Stevenson joined the cast of "Baywatch" as lawyer-turned-lifeguard Craig Pomeroy, best friend to series lead David Hasselhoff's Mitch Buchannon. His tenure on the program, however, was short-lived; after starring in the entire first season, Pomeroy was stricken with cancer, forcing his departure until the 1997-98 season in syndication. However, Stevenson remained with the show as a director between 1992 and 1999, which in turn led to him helming episodes of "Melrose Place," among other primetime shows. Stevenson also appeared on the latter series as an entrepreneur who drove a wedge between Andrew Shue and Courtney Thorne-Smith.
Stevenson was a staple of TV movies throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, but gained the most publicity for his divorce from Alley in 1997. Reports were leaked to the press about the couple's extravagant lifestyle, which included numerous homes across the United States, lavish parties for their two adopted children, and a small fleet of cars and boats. In divorce documents, Stevenson requested support to the tune of $18,000 a month to pay rent on a home in Bel Air. He eventually settled for a one-time payment of $6 million.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Feature film debut in "A Separate Peace"
TV acting debut in episode of "Gunsmoke"
Co-starred in feature "Lifeguard"
Starred as Frank Hardy in the ABC series "The Hardy Boys Mysteries"
TV-movie debut in "This House Possessed" (ABC)
Starred on ABC sci-fi series "Probe"
Appeared in several episodes of "Melrose Place" (Fox), also directed episodes
Played villanous role on "Savannah" (The WB), also directed episodes
Starred in the Sci-Fi Channel movie "Legion"
Starred in the UPN movie "Avalon: Beyond the Abyss"