Several weeks ago we asked if anyone remembered Mark Stevens. Few do. But he was a star in the 1940s.
If his name and his blandly handsome face don’t ring a bell, you are certainly not alone. The irony is that he was an actor with a lengthy and diverse career lasting nearly 45 years — Stevens was big on tv in the Fifties — and he led an interesting personal life.
He was born Richard Stevens in Cleveland in 1916, but because his parents divorced when he was very young, he spent time being raised by various relatives in England and Canada, where he cut his theatrical teeth. Like Dick Powell and Dennis O’Keefe, Stevens excelled at musicals, then graduated to film noir.
He also learned the hard way. Following a bankruptcy, Stevens turned himself into clever businessman, forming a tv production company and later owning and managing various apartment properties. His later years (Stevens died at age 77 in 1994 of cancer) were spent in Europe while keeping a distant hand in Hollywood.
Ok, let’s get to our Mark Stevens Quiz. Let’s see how much you know about this somewhat elusive Forties star. Answers tomorrow.
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.
2) Question: As a down-at-the-heels-detective 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.
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?
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.
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.