Leslie Stevens, dead at 74

Prolific screenwriter, director

Screenwriter, director and producer Leslie Stevens, who created, produced, and served as the writer-director of the popular 1960s TV series “Outer Limits,” died April 24 of a heart attack at UCLA Medical Center. He was 74.

A prolific writer, Stevens’ TV output was extensive and included creating, producing and directing such hit shows as “It Takes a Thief” and “McCloud.”

Born Feb. 3, 1924, in Washington, D.C., Stevens attended the Royal College of Westminster in England where his father, Vice Admiral Leslie Stevens, was Naval Attache in London. His mother, a gifted musician, encouraged him to attend Yale Drama School.

By age 15 he had already sold his first play, “The Mechanical Rat,” to Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater.

Following World War II service, in which Stevens served as a captain in the United States Army Air Corps., he worked for Time magazine prior to producing and directing plays.

By the late 1950s Stevens’ screenwriting career began in earnest when he penned “The Left-Handed Gun” starring Paul Newman. Additional feature writing and producing credits included “Heroes Island,” “The Marriage-Go-Round,” “Incubus” and “Sheena.”

In addition to being the creative force behind “Outer Limits,” Stevens also wrote and helmed “The Name of the Game,” “Search” and “The Men From Shiloh.”

His Broadway playwright credits included “The Marriage-Go-Round” and “The Pink Jungle.”

He also taught at the American Film Institute and was instrumental in starting Rosebud Moving Artists, a company that shepherds new independent filmmakers through the making of their feature films.

Stevens is survived by his wife, Shakti Chen Stevens, his daughters Dana, Samantha and Sunday, his son Steven and two grandchildren.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Westwood Village Memorial Park, 1218 Glendon Ave., Westwood.

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