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STEVENS, WARREN
(1919–2012). American actor.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Acted in: "The Tell-Tale Heart" (1949), episode of Actor's Studio; Gorilla at Large (Harmon Jones 1954); "Time Is Just a Place," "Barrier of Silence" (1955), episodes of Science Fiction Theatre; "Premonition" (1955), "Never Again" (1956), episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents; Forbidden Planet (Fred WILCOX 1956); "The Riddle" (1959), episode of One Step Beyond; "Quarantine" (1959), episode of Men into Space; "Dead Man's Shoes" (1962), episode of The Twilight Zone; "Keeper of the Purple Twilight" (1964), episode of The Outer Limits; "The Children's Day Affair" (1965), episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; "The Saboteur" (1965), "Deadly Invasion" (1966), "Cave of the Dead" (1967), episodes of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea; Cyborg 2087 (Franklin Adreon 1966); "One Way to the Moon" (1966), episode of The Time Tunnel; "Basil of the Bulge" (1967), episode of Tarzan; "The Slave" (two-part episode) (1967), "The Bargain" (1968), "Image" (1972), episodes of Mission: Impossible; "By Any Other Name" (1968), episode of Star Trek; "Brainwash," "A Place Called Earth" (1969), episodes of Land of the Giants; The Return of Captain Nemo (Alex March and Paul Stader 1978); "The Murderous Missile" (1978), episode of Wonder Woman; episode of Mr. Wizard's World (1983); "A Day in Beaumont" (1986), episode of Twilight Zone; Amazing! Exploring the Far Reaches of Forbidden Planet (documentary short) (2006).
 
When I was growing up, Warren Stevens was that actor who sort of looked like Gene Kelly, except that he wasn't quite as handsome, he lacked Kelly's winning smile and charisma, and he presumably couldn't sing and dance. Unable to dominate a scene or attract attention, Stevens was therefore destined for a career of playing second bananas, victims, and villains, but he calmly accepted his fate and devoted himself to his chosen profession during three astounding decades of constant work.

An intelligent young man, Stevens attended Annapolis and joined the Navy, where he absorbed useful skills—obeying orders and looking smart in a uniform—that would come in handy for his acting career. But his original plans for a military career were abandoned after he actually experienced military life during World War II, and he instead resolve to become a star. After pursuing parts in radio and on Broadway, Stevens made his way to Hollywood at a relatively late age—his early thirties—but was seemingly determined to make up for lost time, as he began compiling a filmography of over 200 performances in different roles, mostly as guest stars in episodes of innumerable television series. But he did garner an occasional job in films, most prominently Forbidden Planet, wherein as "Doc" Ostrow he served as Leslie NIELSEN's sidekick, nobly sacrificed himself to gain needed knowledge about the vanished Krell, and delivered the film's most memorable line—about "Monsters from the Id"—before dying.  He was less impressive, however, in two less impressive films, Cyborg 2087 and The Return of Captain Nemo.

Surveying his subsequent credits in television, one might imagine that Stevens was constantly badgering his agent to get him a part in every science fiction series of the 1950s and 1960s, since he only missed a few of them. But in fact, if any badgering was going on, he was seeking to appear in every single television series on the air, period, and his genre performances represent only a small percentage of his prodigious onscreen labors, which also included many roles in westerns and crime dramas. These are some of the highlights: in an episode of Science Fiction Theater, "Time Is Just a Place," he is effectively understated as a new neighbor who is actually a vistor from the future; in "The Riddle," an episode of One Step Beyond, he is excellent as a man visiting India who experiences bouts of inexplicable rage at the sight of an elderly man, who turns out to have been his romantic rival in the reincarnated man's previous life; in "Quarantine," an episode of Men into Space, he out-acts Simon OAKLAND as one of two feuding scientists doing research on a space station; in "Keeper of the Purple Twilight," an episode of The Outer Limits, he is a suicidal scientist who gives his emotions to an alien; and "One Way to the Moon," an episode of The Time Tunnel, pays tribute to his role in Forbidden Planet by again making him a spacefaring "Doc," this time in a rocket to the Moon. Content to play mostly subordinate roles, it is evident that Stevens was driven by no personal Monsters from the Id. But he was the center of attention in his most famous television performance, for an episode of Star Trek, "By Any Other Name," where he portrayed a purportedly super-intelligent alien from the Andromeda galaxy, vanguard for a planned invasion, who takes human form and is easily manipulated and outsmarted by the crew of the Enterprise. Unsurprisingly, this was the Stevens performance that was referenced in the Fark.com link to his obituary.

In the 1980s, as Stevens entered his sixties, the pace of his work finally slowed down, although in what was clearly envisioned as a homage to icons of 1950s science fiction films, he did join John AGAR, Jeff MORROW, and Kenneth TOBEY in an episode of Twilight Zone, "A Day in Beaumont," and after a long hiatus he again started accepting a few roles in the twenty-first century. Sadly, he did not live long enough to make a cameo appearance in the long-delayed remake of Forbidden Planet—always, it seems, scheduled for release next year—but canny use of archival footage might allow this hard-working actor to add one more item to his seemingly interminable filmography.

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