How much did you know about our man Mark Stevens?
Note that even in his salad days, he was (above) billed last in 1946’s Dark Corner, a film noir spinoff of Laura. (It’s also interesting to note that Lucille Ball had such a solid movie career years before her I Love Lucy tv notoriety.)
Stevens began his movie career at Warner Bros. under the name of Stephen Richards. Studio brass demanded that his naturally curly red hair be straightened and darkened. They also insisted that his freckles be covered up.
Then when Stevens moved to 20th Century Fox, studio boss Darryl Zanuck demanded another and final name to change to Mark Stevens. At Fox, the actor flourished and was voted by theater exhibitors the fifth most promising “star of tomorrow” in 1946.
Stevens was cast in 1949’s Oh, You Beautiful Doll with June Haver. Then on to Universal for, among other titles, 1951’s Little Egypt with Rhonda Fleming. And then, television where he appeared in a host of syndicated shows and series.
Now, on the answers to our Mark Stevens Quiz.
1) Question: Which one of the following movie moguls was responsible for changing Stevens’ first name from Richard to Mark? a) Jack Warner; b) Harry Cohn; c) Darryl Zanuck; or d) Carl Laemmle.
Answer: As indicated above, (c) Darryl Zanuck.
2) Question: As a down-at-the-heels-etective in 1946’s The Dark Corner, Stevens advises his amorous secretary to “get out now. Fast. I got a feeling I’m behind the eight ball. Something’s gonna happen. And when it does you’ll end up right in the corner pocket. Who plays the secretary? a) Ann Sheridan; b) Betty Grable; c) Jane Greer; or d) Lucille Ball.
Answer: Yup, it’s (d) Lucille Ball.
3) Question: Stevens made his movie breakout as a quietly crazy whacko in 1948’s The Street With No Name. a) True; or b) False?
Answer: b) False. Stevens plays undercover FBI agent on the tail of stylish and truly whacko crook played by Richard Widmark. It’s Widmark’s show.
4) Question: In the late Fifties Stevens played the lead in a revival of a popular tv series. Which one? a) Perry Mason; b) The New Adventures of Martin Kane; c) 77 Sunset Strip; or d) Wagon Train.
Answer: Stevens as a tv actor is probably best known for his leading role in (b) The New Adventures of Martin Kane, which ran on NBC from 1949 until 1954. William Gargan, Lloyd Nolan and Lee Tracy also played the lead at other times.
5) Question: During his prime Stevens was occasionally dismissed as a lesser version of which of the following? a) Alan Ladd; b) John Payne; c) Charles McGraw; or d) Craig Stevens.,
Answer: a) and (b), Alan Ladd and John Payne.