biography

Born Gail Shikles in Liberty, Missouri, on July 8, 1918, Craig Stevens originally intended to be a dentist were it not for the drama classes he began taking at the University of Kansas in the late 1930s. Leaving college, Stevens went to California and, through his work at the Pasadena Playhouse, eventually found work in films. His film appearance came in a brief bit in Columbia's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939; with Jean Arthur and James Stewart). The young actor was signed by Warner Bros. in 1940. The studio immediately cast Stevens in a variety of supporting roles in features and lead roles in Warners' two-reelers. He met fellow Warner Bros. contract player Alexis Smith in 1941 while working on the film Dive Bomber (1941; with Errol Flynn and Fred MacMurray), and the couple married in 1944. During World War II, Stevens became a popular leading man in B movies and acted in a number of military shorts for the war effort. After the war, however, Warner Bros. stable of actors returned from military service, and Steven's career went into decline, and by the late 1940s Stevens was working in musical two-reelers for the studio. He left Warner Bros. in 1949 and freelanced in such films as Monogram's Bowery Boys entry Blues Busters (1950; with Adele Jergens), the RKO western Drums in the Deep South (1951; with Guy Madison and Barbara Payton), and the Allied Artists noir thriller Murder Without Tears (1953; with Joyce Holden). Stevens' career stablized in the mid 1950s with roles in Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953; with Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, and Boris Karloff), Duel on the Mississippi (1955; with Lex Barker and directed by William Castle), and the campy horror flick The Deadly Mantis (1957; with William Hopper and Alix Talton).

Craig StevensAlexis Smith and Craig Stevens

LEFT: Early 1940s Warner Bros. photo of Craig Stevens. RIGHT: With wife Alexis Smith in the late 1950s

In 1958, Stevens was cast in the title role in the NBC noir series Peter Gunn, for which he's best remembered. Following the cancellation of the series in 1961, he appeared on Broadway in Meredith Willson's Here's Love, beginning in October 1963 and running for several months. Afterward, Stevens was cast as the star of the CBS drama Mr. Broadway, which aired in the fall of 1964.

the films of craig stevens

Secret Enemies (1942)

Craig Stevens

Stevens dabbles in espionage in the Warner Bros. second feature Secret Enemies

Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950)

Gary Merrill, Gene Tierney, and Craig Stevens

From the 20th Century Fox film noir release Where the Sidewalk Ends with Gary Merrill and Gene Tierney

The Lady from Texas (1951)

Craig StevensHoward Duff, Craig Stevens, Barbara Knudson, and Ed BegleyCraig Stevens and Barbara Knudson

From Universal-International's western The Lady from Texas. LEFT: Stevens as Cyril Guthrie. CENTER: With Howard Duff, Barbara Knudson, and Ed Begley. RIGHT: With Barbara Knudson

Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953)

Craig Stevens

From Universal-International's comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Murder Without Tears (1953)

Joyce Holden and Craig Stevens

From the Allied Artists noir release Murder Without Tears with Joyce Holden

The Deadly Mantis (1957)

Alix Talton, William Hopper, and Craig StevensWilliam Hopper, Alix Talton, and Craig StevensCraig Stevens and Donald RandolphAlix Talton and Craig Stevens

From Universal-International's science fiction thriller The Deadly Mantis. LEFT and CENTER A: With William Hopper and Alix Talton. CENTER B: With Pat Conway and Donald Randolph. RIGHT: With Alix Talton

Peter Gunn (1958-1961 NBC TV Series)

Craig Stevens and Lola Albright

Stevens as title character in NBC's Peter Gunn. Also pictured is Lola Albright, who portrayed lounge singer Edie Hart in the series

Mr. Broadway (1964 CBS TV Series)

Craig Stevens

Promotional photo from the CBS series Mr. Broadway

Gunn (1967)

Craig StevensCraig Stevens and Laura Devon

From Paramount's big-screen release Gunn, directed by Blake Edwards. LEFT: Stevens with a bevy of beauties. RIGHT: With Laura Devon

Marcus Welby, M.D (1969-1976 ABC TV Series)

Robert Young, Craig Stevens, and Alexis Smith

Stevens appeared with wife Alexis Smith in the Marcus Welby, M.D. episode The Windfall, which originally aired on March 23, 1971. Also pictured is Robert Young

The Elevator (1974)

Roddy McDowell, Craig Stevens, and Myrna Loy

With Roddy McDowell and Myrna Loy in the ABC television film The Elevator

later years

In the 1970s and 1980s, Stevens worked mostly in television but tackled stage roles from time to time as did his wife, Alexis Smith, who worked frequently on Broadway throughout much of the 1970s. One of his last theatrically released films was the Blake Edwards comedy S.O.B. (1981; with Julie Andrews and William Holden). Stevens retired from acting in 1988 after production wrapped on the made-for-television film Marcus Welby, M.D.: A Holiday Affair (1988; with Robert Young and Alexis Smith). Sadly, Craig Stevens passed away from cancer on May 10, 2000, at the age of 81. Alexis Smith preceded him in death on June 9, 1993, at age 72. Stevens and Smith had no children and left no immediate survivors.

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filmography

FILM
Marcus Welby, M.D.: A Holiday Affair (1988) with Alexis Smith and Robert Young
Supercarrier (1988) with Robert Hooks, Paul Gleason, Ken Olandt, Richard Jaeckel, and Denise Nicholas
Condor (1986) with Ray Wise
The Trout (1982) with Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Jeanne Moreau, and Alexis Smith
S.O.B. (1981) with Julie Andrews, William Holden, Marisa Berenson, Larry Hagman, Robert Loggia, and Shelley Winters
Secrets of Three Hungry Wives (1978) with Jessica Walter, Eve Plumb, and James Franciscus
The Love Boat II (1977) with Ken Berry, Bert Convy, Celeste Holm, Hope Lange, Robert Reed, Lyle Waggoner, and Diana Canova
Rich Man, Poor Man (1976) with Peter Strauss, Nick Nolte, Susan Blakely, Edward Asner, Gloria Grahame, Dorothy McGuire, Robert Reed, and Frank Aletter
Killer Bees (1974) with Edward Albert, Kate Jackson, and Gloria Swanson
The Elevator (1974) with James Farentino, Roddy McDowall, Don Stroud, Myrna Loy, Carol Lynley, and Barry Livingston
The Snoop Sisters (1972) with Helen Hayes, Mildred Natwick, Art Carney, Paulette Goddard, Charlie Callas, Jill Clayburgh, Bill Dana, and Edward Platt
Who Killed Miss U.S.A.? (1970) with Dennis Weaver, Peter Mark Richman, Diana Muldaur, Terry Carter, Raul Julia, and Julie Newmar
The Limbo Line (1968)
Gunn (1967) with Laura Devon, Edward Asner, Sherry Jackson, and J. Pat O'Malley
The Fanatics (1960) with Philippe Hersent
From the Desk of Margaret Tyding (1958) with Maggie Hayes
Buchanan Rides Alone (1958) with Randolph Scott, Barry Kelley, and L.Q. Jones
The Deadly Mantis (1957) with William Hopper and Alix Talton
Duel on the Mississippi (1955) with Lex Barker, Patricia Medina, and Warren Stevens
The French Line (1954) with Jane Russell and Gilbert Roland
Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953) with Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Boris Karloff, and Reginald Denny
Murder Without Tears (1953) with Joyce Holden and Richard Benedict
Phone Call from a Stranger (1952) with Bette Davis, Gary Merrill, Shelley Winters, Keenan Wynn, Michael Rennie, Warren Stevens, and Hugh Beaumont
Drums in the Deep South (1951) with James Craig, Barbara Payton, and Guy Madison
The Lady from Texas (1951) with Howard Duff, Mona Freeman, and Gene Lockhart
Katie Did It (1951) with Ann Blyth, Mark Stevens, Cecil Kellaway, and Jesse White
Blues Busters (1950) with Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Adele Jergens, and Phyllis Coates
Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) with Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Gary Merrill, Tom Tully, Karl Malden, and Neville Brand
Night Unto Night (1949) with Ronald Reagan, Viveca Lindfors, Broderick Crawford, Rosemary DeCamp, and Osa Massen
Love and Learn (1947) with Jack Carson, Robert Hutton, Martha Vickers, Janis Paige, Otto Kruger, and Angela Greene
That Way with Women (1947) with Dane Clark, Martha Vickers, and Sydney Greenstreet
The Man I Love (1947) with Ida Lupino, Robert Alda, Andrea King, Bruce Bennett, and Martha Vickers
Humoresque (1946) with Joan Crawford, John Garfield, Oscar Levant, and J. Carrol Naish
Too Young to Know (1945) with Joan Leslie, Robert Hutton, Rosemary DeCamp, Robert Lowell, and Dorothy Malone
God Is My Co-Pilot (1945) with Dennis Morgan, Dane Clark, Raymond Massey, Andrea King, and Mark Stevens
Roughly Speaking (1945) with Rosalind Russell, Jack Carson, Robert Hutton, Andrea King, Mona Freeman, and Ray Collins
Resisting Enemy Interrogation (1944)
The Doughgirls (1944) with Ann Sheridan, Alexis Smith, Jack Carson, Jane Wyman, Charles Ruggles, Eve Arden, and Alan Mowbray
Since You Went Away (1944) with Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Shirley Temple, Monty Woolley, Lionel Barrymore, Robert Walker, Hattie McDaniel, Agnes Moorehead, Guy Madison, Alla Nazimova, and Keenan Wynn
The Hidden Hand (1942) with Elisabeth Fraser, Julie Bishop, and Willie Best
Secret Enemies (1942) with Faye Emerson
Spy Ship (1942)
Steel Against the Sky (1941) with Alexis Smith, Lloyd Nolan, Gene Lockhart, and Julie Bishop
The Body Disappears (1941) with Jeffrey Lynn, Jane Wyman, Edward Everett Horton, Marguerite Chapman, Willie Best, William Hopper, and Natalie Schafer
Law of the Tropics (1941) with Constance Bennett, Jeffrey Lynn, and Regis Toomey
Dive Bomber (1941) with Errol Flynn, Fred MacMurray, Ralph Bellamy, Alexis Smith, Robert Armstrong, and Regis Toomey
Affectionately Yours (1941) with Merle Oberon, Dennis Morgan, Rita Hayworth, Ralph Bellamy, George Tobias, Hattie McDaniel, Jerome Cowan, and Butterfly McQueen
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) with Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Claude Rains, Thomas Mitchell, Eugene Pallette, Beulah Bondi, and H.B. Warner

TELEVISION SERIES
Dallas, 1978-1991 CBS TV series. Stevens portrayed Craig Stewart in 1981
The Invisible Man, 1975-1976 NBC TV series. Stevens portrayed Walter Carlson. Also in the cast was David McCallum
Mr. Broadway, 1964 CBS TV series. Stevens portrayed Mike Bell
Man of the World, 1962-1963 syndicated TV series. Stevens portrayed Michael Strait
Peter Gunn, 1958-1961 NBC/later ABC TV series. Stevens portrayed Peter Gunn

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Watch an episode of Craig Steven's 1958-1961 series Peter Gunn titled Let's Kill Timothy
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This page premiered February 17, 2005.
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