Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (5) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (19) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 29 March 1902Los Angeles, California, USA
Date of Death 5 January 1977Van Nuys, California, USA  (pneumonia resulting from a broken hip suffered under apparent maltreatment at a nursing home)
Birth NameOnslow Ford Stevenson
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Son of character actor Houseley Stevenson, brother of designer Edward Stevenson and actor Houseley Stevenson Jr., Onslow Stevens was highly active from mid-1920s at the Pasadena Community Playhouse, where his entire family worked frequently as performers, directors and teachers. he scored a major success on Broadway in "Stage Door" in 1936. He played many leading roles and even more character parts over the years. Although at first a stalwart and reliable figure in films, in later years his career was adversely affected by alcohol. Nevertheless, he was a familiar and respected performer for many years. His final months were spent in a Van Nuys, California, nursing home where, in November 1976, he suffered a broken hip under unclear circumstances. Pneumonia set in and he died in January 1977. A coroner's inquest ruled that the broken hip had occurred "at the hands of another, not an accident."

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Spouse (5)

Rose Heit (aka Rose Marsel) (21 October 1961 - 5 January 1977) (his death)
Marley Shofner (1959 - 1960) (divorced)
Vicki Clark (August 1944 - 1946) (divorced)
Anne Buchanan (5 March 1936 - 1942) (divorced)
Phyllis Cooper Stevens (26 August 1934 - 1934) (divorced)

Trade Mark (1)

Smooth, resonant voice

Trivia (19)

An avid nudist. Stevens would often try to convince his fellow cast members of the health benefits associated with naturalism.
Received critical praise for his appearances as a playwright in the film Once in a Lifetime (1932) and in Peg o' My Heart (1933), when he replaced Leslie Howard in the lead, but the two roles did not lead to anticipated film stardom.
According to Laura Wagner in her article for Films of the Golden Age, Issue #81, Summer 2015, Universal wanted Onslow to change his stage name to "Ronald Stevens" because they felt his first name was not "romantic" enough. Onslow would not agree to it as he felt he was not the romantic type. He did allow them, however, to shorten his last name to Stevens.
Joined the Army out of high school.
Suffered from bipolar disorder and alcoholism in middle age and received electro-shock treatments which affected the output of his later career. Thereafter on stage he became increasingly known for ad-libbing his lines and causing problems for the other actors.
According to Laura Wagner in her article on Onslow in Films of the Golden Age, Issue #81, Summer 2015, Onslow, suffering from a serious heart ailment, was checked into the Hacienda Convalescent Hospital in Van Nuys, California, in the fall of 1976, by his wife. In November, he was brutally pushed by another patient and suffered a broken hip from the fall. An ambulance was called and Onslow was "treated" at a nearby hospital. His wife claims he was grossly neglected, developed pneumonia, and died. An inquest was held by the coroner and it was determined that he died "at the hands of another, other than by accident." Charges were brought up but they eventually were dropped.
RKO signed him up in 1937 and he was to appear in their classic film Stage Door (1937) but the role he played on Broadway was drastically changed and he wound up not appearing in it.
Was an electrician in his salad days.
Opened his own acting school in 1961.
The oldest of four children, his actor/father Houseley Stevenson taught at the Pasadena Playhouse.
On stage from age 3 with his parents.
Studied at the Pasadena Playhouse where his father taught. Appeared in such plays as Chekhov's "The Seagull," Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" and Dumas' "The Three Musketeers." His appearances in local plays led to a Universal contract. He later taught and directed at the Pasadena Playhouse himself.
Interred in an unmarked grave at Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park in North Hollywood, California.
Preferring the stage to films and appearing on Broadway a number of times, his best known film role was as Franz Edlemann, a surgeon to Dracula, the Wolf Man and the Frankenstein Creature, who becomes a vampire himself.
Met his first wife, socialite/actress Phyllis Cooper, at the Pasadena Playhouse. They eloped but separated almost immediately and divorced by two months time. He eloped with his second wife, Anne Buchanan, also a socialite/actress, when he directed her in a stage production of "Many Mansions." They divorced after a few years. He met and married third wife Vicki Clark while she was a student of his at the Pasadena Playhouse. That marriage lasted two years.
First appeared on Broadway in the production of "Stage Door" in 1936. His last Broadway play was 1957's "A Clearing in the Woods." Off stage he had altercations with his leading ladies, 'Kim Stanley' and Joan Lorring.
Mother was actress Margurita E. Behrens.
Met fourth wife Marley Shofner after he directed her in a 1958 production of "The Waltz of the Toreadors" in Laguna Beach, California.

Personal Quotes (1)

One of my earliest memories is of going on the stage with Mother and Dad in one of their plays. I wore a wig of golden curls and played a girl.

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