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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 13 January 1918Northampton, Massachusetts, USA
Date of Death 2 September 1977Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameFrancis Dunne

Mini Bio (1)

A minor "B" leading man of 1940s and early 1950s films who moved easily to 60s TV when film offers dried up, blue-eyed, brown-haired actor Stephen Dunne was born Francis Michael Dunne and raised in his hometown of Northampton, Massachusetts in 1918. His interest in acting occurred following high school and, after a brief job for an electric company, decided to study drama and journalism at the University of Alabama. He also earned experience at the time as a radio deejay at a nearby station. The radio gig paid off as he moved into full time announcing work for station WOR in New York City.

Dunne's good looks, smooth voice and affable demeanor caught the attention of Hollywood. Signed by Fox in 1945 and billed as "Michael Dunne", the actor started out billed third in his very first film, the congenial comedy Junior Miss (1945) although overshadowed in the film by Peggy Ann Garner, Allyn Joslyn, Mona Freeman and Barbara Whiting. Unfortunately instead of up he moved down the billing line in the musical Doll Face (1945) again showcasing others like Perry Como and Carmen Miranda, as a doctor in the Vincent Price starrer Shock (1946), billed 12th in the charming Charles Coburn comedy Colonel Effingham's Raid (1946) and was fairly nondescript in the Grable musical Mother Wore Tights (1947).

In 1947 a disillusioned Michael was picked up by Columbia, where they changed his name to "Stephen Dunne" and moved him back up again in billing. But, as expected perhaps, his leading roles in such "B" pictures as The Son of Rusty (1947), The Woman from Tangier (1948), Rusty Saves a Life (1949), Kazan (1949), Law of the Barbary Coast (1949) did little to advance his film career. When a more important movie did come out, he was usually in service of the star, such as Glenn Ford, Lucille Ball or William Holden, finding himself down in the credit list once again.

Again, radio saved the day for the smooth-voiced actor during the leaner times with numerous programs including the popular "Danger, Dr. Ddanfield" (1946) and "Richard Diamond, Private Eye" (1949) to his credit. He replaced Howard Duff at one point in "The New Adventures of Sam Spade" in 1950 but Duff was missed and the show canceled quickly. Throughout the 1950s, Dunne worked for KTSL-TV in Los Angeles. His film roles in independents continued on with such programmer fare as The Crime Doctor's Diary (1949), The Underworld Story (1950), The WAC from Walla Walla (1952) and Above and Beyond (1952) filling his resume.

Focusing on TV acting in the mid 1950s through the early 1970s, guest appearances included roles in "Private Secretary," "The Gale Storm Show," "How to Marry a Millionaire," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Petticoat Junction," "Batman," "Love, American Style," "The Brady Bunch" and "The Bold Ones," among others. He also appeared regularly on the musical program The Bob Crosby Show (1953), as a psychologist on the short-lived sitcom Professional Father (1955), and in the crime drama The Brothers Brannagan (1960). Steve's voice and personality was ideally suited for quiz show duties, and he wound up hosting such game programs as You're on Your Own (1956), The New Truth and Consequences (1950) (during the 1956-57 season) and Double Exposure (1961).

Despite an avid self-promoter during his film and especially his radio/TV career, he could not muster past his benign, clean-cut personality. Still, he soldiered on and managed to keep busy throughout his over three-decade career. His moneymaker was his voice and his best success remained on radio.

Retired in the early 1970s after a support role in the Disney film Superdad (1973) as a (naturally) TV moderator, Steve died a few years later, relatively young at the age of 59 of undisclosed causes in Los Angeles. He was survived by his wife of 37 years, Vivian Bellveau, and their two children, Stephen and Christina.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (1)

Bellveau, Vivian (1940 - 2 September 1977) (his death) (2 children)

Trivia (3)

Replaced Howard Duff as the voice of the famous private eye in "The Adventures of Sam Spade," the 1946-1951 radio series.
He took over the role of Sam Spade on NBC Radio in 1950. He stayed on until the show was cancelled in 1951.
Once after he completed a water scene in Rusty Saves a Life (1949) with his canine co-star, Flame, an assistant yelled "Someone get him a towel!". A moment later he realized the towel was for the pooch.

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