Stephens in Swing High, Swing Low (1937)
|Born||August 21, 1901|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Died||December 22, 1986 (aged 85)|
Laguna Hills, California, U.S.
|Barbara Adams (1946-1986) (his death) (2 children)|
Beatrice Nichols (1929-1944) (divorced)
Harvey Stephens (August 21, 1901 - December 22, 1986) was an American actor, known initially for his performances in Broadway productions, and thereafter for his work in film and on television. He was most active in film beginning in the 1930s and through the mid-1940s. Beginning in the mid-1950s, he transitioned to television and enjoyed success there through the 1960s.
Stephens was born in Los Angeles. As a student at the University of California at Los Angeles, he earned letters in basketball and football. Before he turned to acting, Stephens worked in western copper mines and Mexican oil fields in addition to working around the world on a freighter.
Stephens' debut in the theater came in 1920 at the Pilgrimage Play in Hemet, California. Following that, he toured for two years in a troupe headed by Walter Hampden and worked in stock theater companies in several cities.
On Broadway, At the Times Square Theatre, Stephens appeared as Sam Worthing in Other Men's Wives, written by Walter C. Hackett, late in 1929. He also appeared as Richard Wadsworth in Dishonored Lady (1930), as Gail Redman in Tomorrow and Tomorrow (1931), as Joe Fisk in The Animal Kingdom (1932), Fred Barton in Best Years (1932), Bruce Blakely in The Party's Over (1933), and John Palmer in Conquest (1933). He also appeared in South Pacific as Commander Harbison, alongside Mary Martin; he was one of only two cast members who did not sing.
Stephens made his leading debut opposite Tallulah Bankhead in The Cheat (1931). After appearing in The Texans (1938) and The Oklahoma Kid (1939), he began appearing in many Western films, although he also appeared with Gary Cooper, Joan Leslie, and Walter Brennan in Sergeant York (1941).
Stephens appeared on a number of television shows beginning in the early 1950s and continuing through the late 1960s, including The Aquanauts, Ripcord, 77 Sunset Strip, Ben Casey and The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, as well as multiple episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Wagon Train, Perry Mason, and Bonanza.
Beginning in the late 1930s, Stephens was one of the earliest major proponents of gliders, and pursued an interest in the sport throughout his life. In 1937, Harland Ross custom built a glider for Stephens, which became the Ross RS-1 Zanonia (The "RS" designation stands for "Ross-Stephens"). He organized a number of competitions and was still participating after his retirement from acting into the 1960s.