Born in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, Stevens began his acting career after serving in the United States Army Air Corps as a pilot during World War II. A founding member of The Actor’s Studio in New York, Warren Stevens received notice on Broadway in the late 1940s, and thereafter was offered a Hollywood contract at 20th Century Fox. His first Broadway role was in The Life of Galileo (1947) and first movie role followed in The Frogmen (1951). As a young studio contract player, Stevens had little choice of material, and he appeared in films that included Phone Call from a Stranger (1952), Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie (1952), and Gorilla at Large (1954). A memorable movie role was that of the ill-fated “Doc” Ostrow in the science fiction film Forbidden Planet (1956). He also had a supporting role in The Barefoot Contessa (1954) with Humphrey Bogart. Despite occasional parts in big films, Warren Stevens was unable to break out consistently into A-list movies, so he carved out a career in television as a journeyman dramatic actor. He co-starred as Lt. William Storm in Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers (NBC, 1956–1957), a prime-time adventure series set in India. Stevens also provided the voice of John Bracken in season one of Bracken’s World (NBC, 1968–1970). On November 24, 1959, Warren Stevens guest starred as the corrupt James Hedrick in “Dark Verdict” of NBC’s Laramie. In the episode, L. Q. Jones portrays John MacLane, a friend of series regular Jess Harper (Robert Fuller) who is falsely accused of murdering a doctor. MacLane is apprehended by a lynch mob led by Hedrick, a son of Judge Matthew Hedrick. Judge Hedrick, portrayed by Thomas Mitchell, stacks the trial against MacLane, who is quickly convicted and hanged with no recourse for an appeal. The mob is then cleared in a trial before the circuit judge, with Judge Hedrick acting as their defense attorney. Walter Coy plays the prosecutor, and Harry Dean Stanton portrays Vern Cowan, the doctor’s real killer.
Warren Stevens’ appearances on CBS’s Have Gun, Will Travel introduced him to Richard Boone, who hired him for a continuing television role in The Richard Boone Show, an award-winning NBC anthology series which lasted for the 1963–1964 season. In 1966, Stevens was cast as Doc Holliday in the episode “Doc Holliday’s Gold Bars” of the syndicated western series, Death Valley Days, hosted by Robert Taylor. Stevens was a close friend of actor Richard Basehart and helped him through a difficult divorce in the early 1960s. Stevens guest starred on a few episodes of Basehart’s ABC series, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. He also had a supporting role on another Irwin Allen production, The Return of Captain Nemo in 1978. In his later years, Stevens’ appearances were infrequent. He guest starred on ER in March 2006 and had two roles in 2007. Warren Stevens died on March 27, 2012, from complications of lung disease in his home in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California. He was survived by his three children.
- November, 02, 1919
- Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania
- March, 27, 2012
- Sherman Oaks, California
Cause of Death
- complications from lung disease