Biography

The son of prominent American director/cinematographer George Stevens, George Stevens Jr. was involved in the entertainment industry from the age of one -- though not voluntarily. His father sent him along to the Hal Roach studios to film one closeup for the Our Gang comedy Wild Poses; it was evidently a sentimental gesture on the part of Stevens, who'd gotten his start at Roach. Years later, the younger Stevens reacted in mock horror upon discovering that he'd been an Our Gang candidate, noting that he was "well below the age of consent" at the time (Stevens' scene was ultimately cut from the release print). When Stevens made his official entree into the film world, it was completely on his own volition. After graduation from Occidental College, Stevens worked with his father as an assistant on such productions as Giant (1956) and The Diary of Anne Frank (1959). In 1962, Stevens was appointed head of the United States Information Agency's motion picture division, where he supervised the assembly of the classic documentary John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning -- Day of Drums (1964). From 1967 through 1979, he was in charge of the American Film Institute, the independent, non-profit organization responsible for the preservation and restoration of so many rare films of the Nitrate Era (1895-1950). Stevens produced the AFI's 1976 compilation America at the Movies, which unsuccessfully attempted to mirror the progress of America with a succession of often inappropriately chosen film clips. Far better was Stevens' 1984 documentary tribute to his father, George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey, which brought to public attention several reels of rare Technicolor footage shot by Stevens Sr. during the Allied Invasion of Europe (1944-45). George Stevens Jr. won an Emmy for his first significant non-documentary work, the TV miniseries Separate but Equal (1991) in which Sidney Poitier played Thurgood Marshall. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi