Steve Stevens

From the magazine Favorite Westerns & Serials Plus.Written by Dale Berry.

Most of us envision a Hollywood talent agent as being a suave, dapper little guy with a pencil thin mustache, wearing sunglasses in the offices, extra-long cigarette holder, beret on his head, bright ascot around his neck, seven telephones ringing at once, and a bevy of starlets waiting on him hand and foot. Actually, this is not the case. Hollywood itself portrayed the talent agent in this scenario, in many of their films. They always seem to be calling everyone "Dahling", and trying all sorts of hijinks on the studio bosses, as well as the actors and actresses. Perhaps this could have been a true rendition of how a Hollywood talent agent looked and conducted himself during the early years of Hollywood. If so, it's certainly no longer true. Today's Hollywood agent is usually dressed very conservatively, conducting himself in a strictly businesslike manner.

One agent in particular, one that I am especially proud to know, is Steven Stevens, owner of the prestigious talent agency firm, The Stevens Group. I first met Steven at a Ben Johnson Celebrity Team Roping and Cutting Horse benefit in Fort Worth, Texas where we both were guests. I immediately took a liking to this guy, because I first noticed that he always said, "yes, ma'am", "yes, sir", and "no, ma'am" and "no, sir" when speaking to someone, whether they were older or not. I also noticed that he said "please", "may I" and "thank you", and that he had a good, firm, solid handshake. This showed me that Steven Stevens had been taught well by his parents, and that he knew how to show respect. I also noticed that he was wearing a good looking western suit from "Nudie's", the famous rodeo tailor and I noticed even more so, that he was chomping at the bit to try his hand at team roping.

Out of curiosity, I asked him point blank if he was a roper. He replied, "No, not right now, but next time you see me at one of these events, ask me again and see what I say". Nowhere in our conversation did he ever tell me that he was a talent agent. I guess the reason is that all actors are looking to better themselves, and having a topnotch talent agent with a topnotch talent firm representing you, is the foremost part of being in the entertainment business. The next time our trails crossed, was down in Houston, Texas at another of the Ben Johnson Celebrity Team Roping and Cutting Horse benefits. I ran into Steven down at the pens, where all the other celebrities and professional rodeo cowboys were working out. Here was Steven, with his dusty jeans, scuffed boots and his rope and rope bag. "This crazy son of a gun is actually going to try to be a roper and is probably gonna get killed trying," were the thoughts running through my head. In team roping, you have a "header" and a "heeler", whereby the "header" ropes a steer's horns and the "heeler" ropes the steer's hind legs.

Whether you are a header or a heeler, you're still going to get a mouthful of dirt, eyes full of dust, a good chance of losing some fingers when you "dally" and the possibility of being thrown from the horse or him falling on you. Steer roping, team or otherwise, is not the safest sport around. I couldn't believe my eyes! Here Steven was, starting a new sport at age 50, (he is now 60), mounted up on a big old roan horse, and roping with a professional rodeo cowboy.

Now most Hollywood agents would prefer spending their weekends on the golf course, or lounging around the pool, but not old Steven Stevens! Nah, sir, here he is with a mouthful of Skoal and spittin' just as far as the rest of the cowboys! I don't think Steven won a trophy buckle that time out, and it was many times out of the box before he ever did win a buckle, but he stayed with it until he did. I guess Steven Stevens has always been a cowboy at heart. He told me a story of the time his dad took him to Madison Square Garden to see the "King of the Cowboys", Roy Rogers and Trigger. He likes to remember that Roy came riding around the arena on Trigger after he was introduced, and that Roy reined up and had Trigger rear up on his hind legs. Young Steven knew in his adolescent mind that Roy reared Trigger just for his benefit. Then the announcer came over the loudspeaker and said that a greased burro would be released and the youngster that could catch it would get to sit astride Trigger. Now some of the kids were older, and some of the kids were bigger, but none had the sheer determination of young Steven Stevens. Yep...you guessed it. This young cowpoke caught the greased burro and was rewarded with a ride on Trigger in Madison Square Garden!

With Annette Funicello

With Annette Funicello on the Annette series,
shown on The Mickey Mouse Club.

The Stevens family moved to California a few years later, and it wasn't long before young Steven was noticed, and started landing a few jobs in the movies and in television series. Among them were, The Mickey Mouse Club, The Annette series starring Annette Funicello, Zorro with the late Guy Williams, That's My Mom with Betty Hutton and in over a dozen of the Hot Rod pictures of the era. Working in pictures gave Steven the opportunity to meet many of the stars that he represents today as an agent. Steven proudly recalls many stars who have since passed away that were not only his clients, but his closest friends. Stars such as Forrest Tucker, Slim Pickens, Rod Cameron, Don "Red" Barry, Doug McClure, Chuck Connors, Alan Hale and another one we all loved and adored, Gunsmoke's Miss Kitty Russell, Amanda Blake.

Steven Stevens will tell you very quickly that he was led to Christianity by Roy Rogers at a meeting of The Hollywood Christian Fellowship, and that his faith has carried him through. Hollywood lost a very talented young actor when Steven Stevens decided to retire from acting and enter the talent agency field. He had a very successful career going as an actor, and even more successful as an agent. With the kind of determination that Steven has, who knows? *He may wind up being a professional champion team roper!

Steve and Ben Johnson

* Steve with the late Ben Johnson. Steve was the team roping winner
at the Ben Johnson Pro-celebrity Invitational in Phoenix, AZ in 1993.