Prolific actor Morgan Stevens, who had starring roles in Melrose Place and One Day At a Time, died Wednesday at the age of 70. TMZ reports that after one of Stevens’ neighbors hadn’t seen or heard from the actor after several days, they called the police to check on him. Once the authorities arrived at Stevens’ home they found his body in the kitchen. No foul place is suspected, with the cause of death expected to be natural causes. At this time there have not been any public comments from members of Stevens’ family on his passing.
One of Stevens’ earliest career roles came in the musical series Fame, where he portrayed a New York high school teacher named David Reardon from 1982-1984. On Melrose Place, he played Nick Diamond, a recurring character from Season 4 that appeared in seven episodes. Nick Diamond was the family attorney to Jack Parezi, Bobby Parezi, and Vince Parezi. Some of Stevens’ other roles came in One Day At a Time, Murder, She Wrote, The Waltons, and Walker, Texas Ranger.
Stevens recounted how he landed the role of Fame’s David Reardon in an interview with Fame Forever. He had just wrapped filming on the Bare Essence miniseries and was getting ready to go out to celebrate when he got the phone call that he was being cast in the hit series.
“Needless to say, after hearing news like that, it was a very good party!” Stevens said. “I’d really wanted this role on Fame, but for a while it seemed like the show and I just kept missing each other. While Fame was holding auditions for the new season here, I was in New York with Bare Essence, then when I came back here to shoot, Fame was doing some filming in New York!”
He added: “Finally, I came down to MGM from where Bare Essence was shooting in Beverly Hills, once both shows were shooting in the same city at the same time, and met the producers during my lunch-break. A week or so later I went over to the NBC network facilities in Burbank for a quick screen-test during another lunch-break. Then I didn’t hear a word for about three weeks and had just about decided that they’d cast somebody else, when the phone call came as I was walking out of the door, depressed about the end of Bare Essence and wondering what my next job was going to be.”
The actor was also able to work with Fame’s script writers and producer to mold David Reardon’s character.
“I told the producers and the story editor that there were two things I really wanted to see in his personality,” he said. “I wanted him to have passion for his acting and compassion towards his students. We decided that not only is he new to this school, he’s new to teaching, too. He’s an actor – he came to New York from Muncie, Indiana, to break into acting – and he never intended to be a teacher. He’s teaching purely for financial reasons, at least at first. His acting career isn’t going well and he needs the money, because he’s divorced, with a kid, and has alimony and child support on top of his own expenses.”
He continued: “And, as we’ll eventually learn, he needs a steady job with a regular income because he’s going to try and get custody of his child. His ex-wife is planning to move to another state, and he’s afraid he’ll never see his kid again.”
“It doesn’t parallel my own background,” Stevens concluded. “I’m not married, not divorced, have no kids. I want two of the three, though – to be married and have children.”