Just a Kiss
A fertile young actor of the NY stage, Fisher Stevens has also collected a number of credits in TV and films since the early 1980s. He has performed in more than 20 NY stage productions, including performances in Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song Trilogy” and Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs.” On screen, the youthful character actor is perhaps most known for playing Ben Jabituya in the Short Circuit (1986) and Ben Jahrvi in Short Circuit 2 (1988), Eugene “The Plague” Belford in Hackers (1995), as well as Chuck Fishman on the television series “Early Edition” (1996-2000).
Also a film producer and director, Stevens attracted attention with his feature film directorial debut, Just a Kiss (2002). Starring Marley Shelton, Ron Eldard and Kyra Sedgwick, the digitally-shot live action movie brought the filmmaker a Festróia - Tróia International Film Festival Award and a Gotham nomination. Stevens’ production credits include Piñero (2001), Lisa Picard Is Famous (2000), Uptown Girls (2003), and more recently Crazy Love (2007).
A resident of New York City for more than a decade, Stevens has founded an off-off-off Broadway theatre company that specializes in prominent avant-garde productions called Naked Angels, along with actress Lili Taylor. He also is a founding member in GreeneStreet Films, a film and television production company based in Tribeca, New York City that is devoted to producing quality, television programming and independent feature films. Stevens has actively supported the non-profit organization Artists to End Hunger.
Romantically speaking, the 5’ 7” tall actor has been linked to actress Michelle Pfeiffer, whom he dated before she married David E. Kelley. The couple met in 1989 when they costarred in NYC production of “Twelfth Night.”
Childhood and Family:
Steven Fisher, professionally known as Fisher Stevens, was born on November 27, 1963, in Chicago, Illinois. Growing up in Highland Park, young Fisher idolized celebrated Olympic old medalist Jesse Owens, who at the time was a neighbor, and dreamed someday he would be a professional athlete. These athletic ambitions remained with him up until age 12 when he found out that his physical growth did not quite keep pace with his ambitious plans. So, when his mother, an aspiring painter, rented their attic to an acting school two years later, he quickly found a new love in the performing art. He studied acting with Dan Fauci and later with Uta Hagen.
Fisher was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease when he was fourteen years old. He could overcome the illness with the support of doctors at the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Later, in 1991, doctors announced to Fisher that he had developed thyroid cancer. Fortunately, the diagnoses were wrong and he was cancer-free.
Relocating to New York City at age 13, Chicago, Illinois native Fisher Stevens made his professional stage debut as Tiny Tim’s brother, Harry, in the musical version of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” in the basement of an off-off-off Broadway theatre when he was 14. He moved on to Broadway four years later in Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song Trology,” where he portrayed David, and then undertook the starring role of Eugene in Neil Simons’ “Brighton Beach Memoirs” (1983).
At the time he debuted on Broadway, Stevens also made his film debut in the Tony Maylam-directed The Burning. He continued with a part in John Sayles’ Baby It’s You (1983) and, after appearing as a regular in the role of Henry Popkin in the ABC daytime serial “Ryan’s Hope” (1983), he could be seen in The Brother From Another Planet (1984), which was written and directed with Sayles, Garry Marshall’s hit comedy The Flamingo Kid (1984, starred Matt Dillon), the John Stockwell-Danielle von Zerneck adventure My Science Project (1985), The Boss’ Wife (1986) and Bloodhounds of Broadway (1989). But, the actor is maybe most famous as Johnny Five’s creator, Ben, in Short Circuit (1986) and Short Circuit 2 (1988). In 1989, he acted with Michelle Pfeiffer in the Off Broadway production of “Twelfth Night” at NYSF.
Stevens continued to take on roles in such movies as Point of View (1990), Reversal of Fortune (1990), The Marrying Man (1991), the Ethan Hawke comedy vehicle Mystery Date (1991, as a revengeful deliveryman), When the Party’s Over (1992), Lift (1992) and Bob Roberts (1992). Meanwhile, on the small screen, he guest starred in an episode of “The Young Riders” (1990) and costarred in the film It’s Called the Sugar Plum (1991). The actor’s debut as television series starring regular came along in 1993 with the Fox short-lived drama “Key West,” playing Seamus O’Neill. Next, he portrayed an alter-universe dinosaur-descendant in Super Mario Bros. (1993), based on the popular Nintendo video game of the same name, and in 1995, he delivered a fine supporting portrayal as the wicked Eugene Belford/”The Plague” in the cult classic cyberfilm Hackers, which starred Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller. Still in 1995, he could be found directing a one-act play as part of Act One ‘95 sponsored by Showtime Networks as well as having guest roles in television series like “Friends,” playing Phoebe’s “passionate and spine-chilling” psychologist boyfriend Roger, and “Homicide: Life on the Streets,” as an eyewitness to murder.
From 1996 to 2000, Stevens was popular to television audience as Chuck Fishman, the frequent mocking and occasionally apparent best friend of Gary Hobson (played by Kyle Chandler) on the CBS television series “Early Edition.” The actor also made his TV directorial debut with a No. 218 episode of “Early Edison” called “The Quality of Mercy.” While working on the show, he also had a cameo as a recording executive in the Gary Winick festival darling The Tic Code (1999, released theatrically in 2000) and made his producing debut with the festival screened Sam the Man (2000), where he also starred in the title character.
Stevens executive produced the mockumentary Lisa Picard Is Famous (2000), was cast opposite Laura San Giacomo who starred as the founder of the NYC theater troupe Naked Angels in the CBS drama film Jenifer (2001) and appeared in and served as a producer of the biopic film Piñero (2001, starred Benjamin Bratt). He also appeared in episodes of “Frasier” and “100 Centre Street” (both 2001), and acted in 2001 films 3 A.M. and Prison Song.
In 2002, Stevens made his debut as film director with the digitally-shot live action/animation Just a Kiss, about a group of thirtysomethings having problems with trustworthiness gets an opportunity to turn back the clock. Filmed in 2000, the film, which starred artists like Marley Shelton, Ron Eldard and Kyra Sedgwick, won Stevens a Festróia - Tróia International Film Festival for Prize of the City of Setúbal and a Gotham nomination for Open Palm Award. The same year, the actor also revisited the NYC stage by undertaking a costarring role in “The Underpants,” Steve Martin’s adaptation of Carl Sternheim’s farce performed at Classic Stage Company, and executive produced the thriller movie Swimfan, starring Jesse Bradford, Erika Christensen and Shiri Appleby.
The Chicago native went on to appear in films Uptown Girls (2003, also a producer), Anything Else (2003), Easy Six (2003), Replay (2003, voiced Blu), On the Couch (2004) and Slow Burn (2005), opposite Ray Liotta, LL Cool J, Mekhi Phifer and Taye Diggs. He costarred with Shannyn Sossamon and Kip Pardue in the comedy film Undiscovered (2005) and with in Matt Dillon in Factotum (2005), a film based on the novel by cult author Charles Bukowski. 2006 saw roles in Alan Taylor’s drama Kill the Poor and Claudia Myers’ comedy/romance Kettle of Fish. As a producer, he worked for A Prairie Home Companion (2006), Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos (2006) and The Pleasure of Your Company (2006).
More recently, Stevens produced the documentary film Crazy Love (2007), which was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. The active producer has completed the drama/thriller Awake (2007) and the drama Tenderness (2007), starring Russell Crowe. Jon Foster and Laura Dern, and is now working on Bill (2007) and Gary the Tennis Coach (2007, stars Seann William Scott). He also will produce the 2009 film Positively Fifth Street, based on the book by James McManus.