Ronnie Stevens Mar 4, 2007 8:30:42 GMT 1
Post by Laurence on Mar 4, 2007 8:30:42 GMT 1
Ronnie Stevens was often cast as a manic or nervous-type, he co-starred with Peter Sellers in I’m Alright Jack (1959) and was a stalwart of the sixties Doctor film series with Dirk Bogarde. Later in his career he became a distinguished straight actor, winning critical acclaim in classical roles.
Born in London on September 2, 1925, he was educated at Peckham Central School and the Camberwell School of Art. During the Second World War he served in the RAF and after leaving trained for the theatre at RADA. He made his West End debut in High Spirits (Hippodrome 1953) in which he co-starred with Ian Carmichael and Joan Sims .
He went on to appear in several musicals but it was in the cinema during the late fifties and sixties that he really made his comic talent known to a wider public.
He had made his film debut in 1952 playing a small role in Made in Heaven, a comedy starring David Tomlinson, but he came into his own as one of the eager, but often accident prone, medical students in Doctor at Large (1957). He played a harassed secret service official in the wartime drama I Was Monty’s Double (1958), an irritatingly cheerful factory foreman in I’m Alright Jack (1959) and he and Bob Monkhouse were cast as hapless dental students in Dentist in the Chair (1960) and the sequel Dentist on the Job (1961).
There were three more Doctor films, Doctor in Love (1960), Doctor in Distress (1963) and Doctor in Clover (1966) and he virtually stole most of Carry On Cruising (1962) when he was cast as a dipsomaniac passenger.
In the mid sixties Stevens began acting in major roles in the legitimate theatre. In 1972 he was one of the founders of the Actors Company with Ian McKellan, with which he played numerous leading roles.
Stevens had been appearing on TV since the sixties and he cropped up in character roles for the next 40 years in series such as Terry and June, Rumpole of the Bailey, Yes, Prime Minister, AJ Wentworth, BA and Goodnight Sweetheart.
He died on November 11, 2006, aged 81. He is survived by his two sons.
(source: The Stage)