The ongoing popularity of Leslie Stevens’ 1960s television masterwork The Outer Limits, as well as later series creations Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, has kept his name familiar to television fans. Surprisingly, very little writing exists on his earlier Broadway contributions or his seminal film and television production company, Daystar Productions. Stevens’ personal life also remains relatively unknown.
This biography focuses on the origins of Daystar Productions as well as Stevens’ first years in Hollywood when he was married to actress Kate Manx. After meeting Manx in 1957, Stevens took her with him to Los Angeles and refashioned her into a dramatic film actress who would soon star in his startling, New Wave–style debut film, Private Property. That film, which Stevens made for just $40,000, would go on to gross several million dollars and open the doors to Hollywood for Manx and co-star Warren Oates. While Oates prospered, Manx was unable to sustain her brief success and her life soon spiraled out of control as Stevens’ career turned increasingly toward television.