Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Latest HuffPost Blog:"Tribute To Actor Warren Stevens"

Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D..

Host, 'Mysteries From Beyond the Other Dominion'

A Tribute to Versatile Actor Warren Stevens!

Posted: 04/ 4/2012 4:28 pm

Alien! Scientist! Gunslinger! Detective! Lancer! Criminal!

These are among the numerous roles veteran character actor Warren Stevens handled most ably during his long and extensive movie and TV career. Sadly, Stevens passed away last week at the age of 92. He had been quite active until recently, having appeared in The Trail to Hope Rose (Hallmark Channel, 2004) and ER (2006). And, he had been a regular figure at Hollywood conventions where fans gather to meet their favorite stars of yesteryear.

As a sci-fi buff, I was especially enamored of his many roles in this genre, such as Rojan, an alien from the Andromeda galaxy bent on conquering the Milky Way galaxy in the Star Trek episode, "By Any Other Name" (1968), professor Eric Plummer possessed by an alien presence in the The Outer Limits episode, "Keeper of the Purple Twilight" (1964), and scientist Dr.Carl Zellar encountering a time traveler (Michael Rennie) from earth's future attempting to prevent the creation of cyborgs in Cyborg 2087 (1966).

He also guested on The Time Tunnel, Men Into Space, Land of the Giants (twice), Science Fiction Theater (twice), and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (thrice).

In each instance, Stevens delivered a solid, credible performance. He was indeed a consummate actor.

Of course, he is probably best remembered for his role as Doc Ostrow in the 1956 sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet where he is destroyed by a "monster from the id" of brilliant professor Edward Morbius (portrayed by Walter Pidgeon). Unfortunately, he is the 3rd principal actor from that cinematic gem to die recently (the other two being Leslie Nielsen in 2010 and Anne Francis in 2011).

Actually, I felt that that his best part career-wise was as a bum who steals a murdered club owner's exquisite loafers and is subsequently possessed by his spirit in a superb 1962 Twilight Zone episode, "Dead Man's Shoes."

When I had the high honor of interviewing Stevens on my cable TV show, Mysteries From Beyond the Other Dominion, a few years ago, he concurred with my assessment of the role. He jokingly complained that his recent residual checks from the episode had diminished to only a few cents!

One other part that deserves special commendation is his role in 1958's Intent To Kill as the mastermind of a plot to subtly assassinate a South American leader (Herbert Lom) who is at a Montreal hospital for brain surgery, This was a remake of 1950's Crisis starring Cary Grant and José Ferrer. But, the screenplay by Jimmy Sangster was much more involved and absorbing, featuring several intriguing subplots and powerful acting by all involved. Among those featured in the cast were Betsy Drake (one of Grant's wives) and Jackie Collins (Joan Collins' younger sister who went on to become renowned as the author of several exotic novels).

Considering his diverse plethora of roles, Stevens will not be forgotten by his many fans. And, on a personal note, I say, "May the power of the cosmos be with you, Warren, wherever you may now be!"

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