Craig Stevens, 81, who created the title role of the...

Deaths Elsewhere

May 14, 2000

Craig Stevens, 81, who created the title role of the suave but tough private eye in "Peter Gunn," a popular television series in the late 1950s and early 1960s, died Wednesday in Los Angeles. When not chasing down evildoers and dazzling the women who crossed his path, Mr. Stevens' Peter Gunn spent his time at a jazz club where his girlfriend, Edie (Lola Albright), worked as a singer. The jazz, including the show's theme song, which became a hit on its own, was written by Henry Mancini and was the basis of two best-selling RCA recordings.

Mr. Stevens was born Gail Shikles Jr. in Liberty, Mo., but moved to California when he decided to become an actor. It was there that he met his future wife, the actress Alexis Smith, who died in 1993. The couple had no children.

Lewis Allen, 94, who directed "The Uninvited," one of Hollywood's favorite ghost stories, and who helped Frank Sinatra achieve one of his best dramatic performances as a professional assassin in "Suddenly," died May 3 in a nursing home in Santa Monica, Calif. Mr. Allen directed more than 30 Broadway and London stage productions before he turned to feature films with "The Uninvited" in 1944. Based on Dorothy Macardle's novel, the movie starred Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey and Gail Russell. "The Uninvited" continues to be celebrated by film buffs for Ms. Russell's performance, the atmospherics and an evocative score that yielded the standard "Stella by Starlight."

Peter Thompson, 65, an actor on stage and in film who later taught drama for more than 20 years, died on April 24 at New York Hospital in Manhattan.

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