Story
IV

Stevens Family
Legacy

ENTERTAINMENT

INDUSTRY

PIONEERS

The Stevens family has a proud history of five generations in the performing arts — a legacy that had a strong impact on the life and work of George Stevens, Jr. that was passed on to his children. While carving out his own creative path spanning seventy years, he dedicated much of his personal time shepherding the cinematic achievements of his father, as well as preserving and archiving his family’s historical stage, silent screen, and film performances for future generations to experience.

Georgia Woodthorpe

Georgia Woodthorpe, the paternal great grandmother of George Stevens, Jr., was a celebrated leading lady of the stage in San Francisco in the late 1800s. She married Fred Cooper, also an actor, in 1880 and together they embarked on a theatrical life that launched five generations of Stevens family participation in the entertainment world.

ALICE HOWELL

One Wet Night with Alice Howell
1924 movie
On the other side of the family was Alice Florence Clark known as “Alice Howell”, the maternal grandmother of George Stevens, Jr. A vaudeville chorus girl in New York in the early 1900s, Alice moved to Hollywood to pursue a career in silent films, becoming a gifted comedienne and renowned leading lady of the silent screen. She appeared in over a hundred movies, co-starred with Charlie Chaplin, and was proclaimed by Stan Laurel as one of the ten greatest comediennes of all time.

George Stevens, Sr.

George Cooper Stevens (George Stevens, Jr.’s father), was born on December 18, 1904, the same year the Nickelodeon made its debut in New York and would provide a movie career for George and in time prominence as one of Hollywood’s most admired film directors.
Inspired by the plays performed by his actor parents, and his own experiences onstage as a boy, George sought work in the movies and at age twenty-five had worked his way to a job as cameraman on the comedies of Laurel and Hardy.
Directing Alice Adams starring Katharine Hepburn in 1935 led to Stevens becoming one of Hollywood’s most honored directors for such notable films as Swingtime, Gunga Din, Woman of the Year, The More the Merrier, A Place in the Sun, Shane, Giant, The Diary of Anne Frank, and The Greatest Story Ever Told. Twice an Oscar winner, his films met his own benchmark, standing the test of time.
Woman of the Year
1942

WarTIME EXPERIENCES

Unable to sit on the sidelines while America was at war, George Stevens, Sr. joined the US Army Signal Corps in 1943 to oversee motion picture coverage for the Allied forces in Europe. Stevens led a Special Coverage Unit that became known as the “Stevens Irregulars,” that documented the historic Allied landing at Normandy and liberation of Paris. The Stevens Irregulars were the first to film the atrocities of the Nazis at the Dachau Concentration Camp. Following the war, Stevens responded to Hitler'sTriumph of the Will with his film That Justice Be Done, which was presented as evidence at the Nuremberg trials.
WWII
Lieutenant Colonel: 1943-1946

George

Stevens Jr.

George Stevens, Jr.
1935

GEORGE STEVENS, JR. WAS BORN ON APRIL 3RD 1932

Throughout his youth Stevens, Jr. had a front-row seat to the Golden Age of Hollywood. Yet he recalled his boyhood years in Toluca Lake outside Los Angeles as ordinary and carefree, shielded from the world of celebrity despite the presence of Hollywood icons in the neighborhood.

Growing up

Starting in his late teens George Stevens, Jr. often joined his father on film sets, a mentorship that led to his work as company clerk on production of Shane in Wyoming, assisting him on the script and editing of Giant, and as associate producer, and director of location scenes, on The Diary of Anne Frank. His most important lesson was to have respect for the audience.
Rock Hudson, his wife, Phyllis, and the Stevenses at the Hollywood premiere of Giant at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
1956
During the summer George Stevens, Sr. put his son to work on movie tasks. One of them was to read and comment on scripts and books sent to him by Paramount. One day George, Jr. picked a small novel from the pile and finished it before sundown.
Shane
1953 movie by Goerge Stevens, Sr.
George Stevens, Jr., Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, and George Stevens, Sr. on location in Marfa, Texas for the filming of Giant
1955
Giant
1956 movie directed by Goerge Stevens, Sr. starring Elisabeth Tylor, James Dean, and Rock Hudson
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