The former Hardy Boy's new case

By Alan Carter
Updated October 22, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

When Kirstie Alley accepted her Emmy in 1991 by publicly thanking her husband for giving her ”the big one,” she may have unwittingly given Parker Stevenson exactly the image makeover he needed. Suddenly the actor who was always typecast as a bouncy-haired Hardy Boy (which he played on ABC from 1977 to ’79) had become a Hardy Man. At first, though, Alley’s tribute ”made my stomach sink,” Stevenson reports. ”She’s backstage joking, but I had to walk out of the theater with everyone looking right at my crotch!”

Starting Oct. 20, Stevenson is in for more scrutiny as he joins Fox’s hot Melrose Place for six episodes. He plays entrepreneur Steve McMillan, whose main business is to drive yet another wedge between Billy and Alison (Andrew Shue and Courtney Thorne-Smith). A veteran of the 1976 movie Lifeguard and NBC’s Baywatch (1989-90), Stevenson, 41, is glad Melrose hasn’t fit him for a bikini yet. ”I’ve played 18 for 20 years,” he says. ”Sickening, isn’t it? I came to the set, with all these beautiful young people, and it felt nice to be the old guy for a change.”

Stevenson is further shedding the skins of his youth by moving behind the camera. He has directed two syndicated Baywatch episodes and will direct a Melrose episode. Stevenson shaved his head to play a man kidnapped by aliens in Official Denial, a Sci-Fi Channel thriller airing next month. ”For half a day after she saw me bald, Kirstie wouldn’t come within 20 feet. I did look like a real knucklehead.”

Tabloid rumors to the contrary, Stevenson says his 10-year marriage is solid; he and Alley, 38, recently moved to Maine with their adopted son, William True, 1. They’ve kept their L.A. home, but favor raising True far from Hollywood and try to schedule plenty of at-home time with him. ”I was in Australia for six weeks (filming Denial),” says Stevenson, ”and I was thinking, ‘What am I doing here? He’s probably in college by now.’ No matter what they say, long distance is not the next best thing. The phone sucks.”

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