By Robert Simonson
07 Jan 2011
Born Feb. 8, 1912, in Manhattan—the daughter of then-60-year-old, Irish-born actor Charles Alexander Stevenson and his 22-year-old wife—Ms. Stevenson arguably found her best roles in the first decade of her career, playing Kendall Adams in Kaufman and Edna Ferber's 1936 comedy about the aspirations of a rooming house full of would-be actresses, Stage Door, and Alice Sycamore, the level-headed daughter of the bohemian family in Kaufman and Moss Hart's You Can't Take It With You. She got the latter job after the actress originally cast was fired during the play's Philadelphia run. In that same decade, she acted in Firebird (her Broadway debut, in 1932), Evensong, A Party, Symphony, Truly Valiant and Call It a Day, in which she functioned as stage manager.
At the same time, she played Margot Lane, the girlfriend of the title character in the radio series "The Shadow." The Shadow was voiced by Orson Welles, then a wunderkind of both the stage and radio.
In the 1940s, she performed in Golden Wings; played Meg in an adapation of Little Women; acted opposite Spencer Tracy in Robert E. Sherwood's The Rugged Path; was in Ruth Gordon's The Leading Lady. Further roles included Triple Play, 1959 evening of one-acts by Chekhov, O'Casey and Tennessee Williams; The Young and Beautiful, an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's work; Big Fish, Little Fish, One by One and 1966's Hostile Witness, her final Broadway role.
In the 1990s, Ms. Stevenson became blind from macular degeneration.