Craig Stevens

Craig Stevens

Liberty, Clay County, Missouri, USA
Death 10 May 2000 (aged 81)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea
Memorial ID 6929133 · View Source
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Actor. He is best remembered for his role as private detective 'Peter Gunn' in the NBC (later ABC) television drama "Peter Gunn," that aired from 1958 until 1961. Born Gail Shikles, Jr., his father was a high school teacher. He originally aspired to become a dentist and studied dentistry at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, Missouri, and received a Bachelor's Degree in 1936. While at college, he joined the drama club and became interested in acting after being spotted by a talent scout, to the point where he decided to embark on a career in the Hollywood film industry. After first using the stage name 'Michael Gale' his first screen role was a sailor in "Coast Guard" (1939). He then adopted the stage name Craig Stevens and for the next period of his film career, he played mainly secondary parts. In June 1944 he married prominent Canadian movie actress Alexis Smith, and remained with her until her death in 1993. His first television role came on October 29, 1954, guest starring on the ABC sitcom with a variety show theme, "The Ray Bolger Show." In 1958 he gained national prominence for the Blake Edwards-produced "Peter Gunn," a ground-breaking show that ushered in the era of tough but smooth private eyes who were handy with their fists and with the ladies, and which also pioneered the use of jazz as not only background music but its main theme song (written by Henry Mancini). During the late 1950s, he appeared three times on Rod Cameron's syndicated western-themed crime drama, "State Trooper" and once on the CBS sitcom "Mr. Adams and Eve," with Howard Duff and Ida Lupino, and on the syndicated military television drama "The Silent Service." He also appeared on variety shows, like "The Ford Show," with Tennessee Ernie Ford and "The Dinah Shore Chevy Show" with Dinah Shore. After "Peter Gunn" ended, he was called on by Sir Lew Grade of the British ITV television network to move to London, England, to play the lead role in the television series "Man of the World" (1962). In 1964 he followed this series with "Mr. Broadway," the 13-week CBS drama in which he starred as 'Mike Bell', a New York City public relations specialist. He and Blake Edwards brought 'Peter Gunn' to the big screen with a feature film called "Gunn" (1967). Though advertised as Gunn-Number One no sequels followed. He co-starred with actor David McCallum in "The Invisible Man" for one season on NBC during 1975 to 1976. Other television roles included the 1974 movie "Killer Bees" and guest appearances on several popular series including "Quincy, M.E.," "The Love Boat," "Fantasy Island," "Happy Days," "Dallas," "Hotel," and "Murder, She Wrote." He worked with Blake Edwards again in the 1981 comedy film "S.O.B." and was featured with his wife two more times in Joseph Losey's French drama film "La Truite" (1982) and the 1988 television movie "Marcus Welby, M.D.: A Holiday Affair," which was his final acting appearance. His other film credits include "Dive Bomber" (1941), "The Doughgirls" (1944), "Humoresque" (1946), "The Man I Love" (1947), "Blues Busters" (1950), "Drums in the Deep South" (1951), "Phone Call from a Stranger" (1952), "Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1953), "The Deadly Mantis" (1957), "Buchanan Rides Alone" (1958), and "Secrets of Three Hungry Wives" (1978). He died of cancer at the age of 81.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Kenneth McNeil
  • Added: 15 Nov 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial 6929133
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Craig Stevens (8 Jul 1918–10 May 2000), Find a Grave Memorial no. 6929133, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea.