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Mark Stevens Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (7)

Overview (4)

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Died in Majones, Spain  (cancer)
Birth NameRichard William Stevens
Height 5' 9½" (1.77 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Mark Stevens, a good-looking, second-tier star during the 1940s and 1950s, was born Richard William Stevens in Cleveland, Ohio, on December 13, 1916 (the dates in reference books seem to vary between 1915-20). Of Scottish and English heritage, the freckle-faced boy with the reddish hair had a father who was an American flyer. His parents divorced while he was young and Mark was sent to England where the rebellious boy found himself kicked out of several schools. He resided briefly with his maternal grandparents until a second move to Canada, where he was raised by his older sister. Slight in stature, Mark built himself up through athletics. A back injury, sustained while training as a Canadian Olympic diver, however, kept him from serving in WWII.

His initial interest appeared to be art, which he studied for a time, but a gift for singing led to nightclub and theatre work, performing in musicals and legit plays throughout the various Canadian provinces. Radio broadcasting turned into another creative outlet for Mark. He eventually returned to his Ohio hometown in the early 1940s where he earned leading roles at the Cleveland Playhouse. Notice here on the stage eventually had him setting his sights on Hollywood. Being young and talented -- combined with a 4-F classification -- helped gain him a studio contract at a time when the major stars were assigned to military duty. Voted 5th as a promising "star of tomorrow" in 1946, he appeared sporadically on radio.

He first became a contract player at Warner Brothers where he was groomed in bit parts as earnest soldier types and given the marquee name of Stephen Richards. That name was quickly changed by Darryl F. Zanuck to Mark Stevens, however, when Mark moved to the 20th Century-Fox lot. The studio also darkened his hair and covered up the freckles to enhance his serious good looks. He soon materialized into a prime film noir contender with such films as Within These Walls (1945) and the excellent The Dark Corner (1946) (interestingly had the starring role but billed fourth in line), the latter pairing him up with a cast-against-type Lucille Ball several years before her I Love Lucy (1951) fame. One of Mark's finest hours on film was as an FBI man at odds with Richard Widmark in The Street with No Name (1948). He also co-starred as the altruistic husband of mental patient Olivia de Havilland in The Snake Pit (1948).

On the musical front, Mark appeared rather colorlessly in such tunefests as I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now (1947) and Oh, You Beautiful Doll (1949), in which he was overshadowed by his leading ladies. Indeed, despite his good looks and abilities, Stevens was constantly (and unfairly) pigeonholed as a lesser version of John Payne or Alan Ladd. In retrospect, many of his capable performances leave viewers thinking he was a producer's casting Plan B. Securing a brief contract at Universal in 1951 where he appeared in such films as Little Egypt (1951) and Katie Did It (1950), Stevens later directed and starred in the "B" level crimer Cry Vengeance (1954) for Allied Artists.

TV played a big part in his career in the 1950s, with two classic dramatic series coming his way. A move into producing (Mark Stevens Television, Inc.) and music publishing (Mark Stevens Music, Inc.) encouraged his retirement from acting, although he did occasionally appear in guest spots on such TV dramas as Wagon Train (1957) and Playhouse 90 (1956), while occasionally directing as well. He earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 for his small screen work.

A jack of all trades, Mark moved to Europe in the late 1950s and spent a decade operating a restaurant in Spain. He was married for some time to film/TV actress Annelle Hayes and had two children, Mark Richard and Arrelle. His rather nomadic existence eventually led to him to both the divorce and bankruptcy courts in the early 1960's. Divvying his time between here and Europe in later years, he still found occasional work in Hollywood while owning/maintaining apartment buildings as well. He married a second time to a Swedish woman named Hilde. He last on-screen work occurred on late 1980's TV, dying of cancer in Majores, Spain, at age 77, on September 15, 1994.

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

Spouse (2)

Annelle Hayes (13 January 1945 - 1961) ( divorced) ( 2 children)
Hilde (? - ?)

Trivia (7)

An instinctive rebellious nature had him kicked out of every school he ever attended, public or private.
Once prepared for training for the Canadian Olympic Diving Team but seriously hurt his back on the high springboard. This injury later kept him out of the Army and resulted in an operation.
Became a contract player for Warners at $100 a week in 1943 but they changed his looks and his stage name. They darkened and straightened his curly ginger-colored hair and covered his freckles. At first he was billed as Stephen Richards, later changed it to Mark Stevens at the suggestion of Darryl F. Zanuck when he switched to 20th Century-Fox.
Met wife Annelle Hayes while she was out testing for movies. They had two children, Mark Richard and Arrelle.
Romantically involved for a time with actress Hedy Lamarr.
Honored with a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, located at 6637 Hollywood Blvd.
Karen Burroughs Hannsberry has a short biography of him in her book "Bad Boys: The Actors of Film Noir".

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