© PAST Projects/Martin Stephens, 2013. All Rights Reserved
Martin Stephens was born in London, Southgate on the 15th July 1949 to parents Hilda and Bruce Stephens. He began his film career at the age of four starring as young Hans in the tug of love drama The Divided Heart (1954), beside actress Yvonne Mitchell. He landed his second role in Law & Disorder (1958) with Sir Michael Redgrave, then he played little Brian Trevor in Another Time, Another Place (1958) opposite Lana Turner, Glynis Johns and Sean Connery. Immediately after he starred with Stewart Granger in Harry Black & the Tiger (1958) which was shot on location in India, within the jungle – an exciting experience for young Martin who was eight years old at the time. Four episodes of Tales from Dickens (1958) followed; three as young David Copperfield and one in "Holly Tree Inn" about two children who elope to Gretna Green to marry. Martin took on two more roles towards the end of the 1950’s, a brief part in A Passionate Summer (1958) and the role of Peter Brindon in the crime/drama The Witness (1959) with Dermot Walsh. He also teamed up with award winning actress Deborah Kerr, Italian heart throb Rossano Brazzi and Maurice Chevallier in the romantic drama-comedy that was Count Your Blessings (1959) which was filmed in both Hollywood and Paris. During this time Martin formed a close friendship with Deborah with whom he would soon work again. A Touch of Larceny (1959) was his next film as John Holland starring alongside George Sanders and James Mason. He went on to star as Scottish boy, Angus, in the mischievous family comedy No Kidding/Beware of Children (1960) where a young couple inherit an estate and decide to turn it into a summer camp for children.
This was only the beginning for Martin’s career as his popularity as child actor was about to grow. MGM went to work in 1960 and Martin found himself working with George Sanders once again, playing the role of David Zellaby, the leader of the sinister children that frighten the village of Midwich in Village of the Damned (1960) based on the novel “The Midwich Cuckoos” by John Wyndham, the location shots entirely within the small village of Letchmore Heath in England. MGM expected the film to be a washout until its popularity soared throughout the UK and USA. Martin thoroughly enjoyed playing the part of David, recalling in Mark Burman’s article ‘Return of the Cuckoos’; "I knew it was an unusual part. I quietly liked it...having these very adult qualities and having control over the adult. Imagine having that power." At the age of twelve, Martin played Oliver Twist in the London musical Oliver! replacing a boy who had become too old for the role. After 8 months in the role he was offered the part on Broadway, New York, but by that time had to concentrate on school studies.
Between two of Martin’s biggest films he starred briefly in The Hellfire Club (1961) as young Jason before teaming up again with Deborah Kerr and Pamela Franklin to play the mysterious young boy - Miles - in the psychological thriller The Innocents (1961) directed by Jack Clayton and based off the novel Turn of the Screw by Henry James, which would go on to be the other very successful film of his career and is now regarded as a classic. It was screened at the Venice Film Festival in September 2014. Just before he went to boarding school he travelled to Canada to act in a television play "A Book with Chapters In It" (1962), learning his lines on the 5-day sea voyage from Southampton to Montreal. Martin took a break from acting to focus on his education but would soon return at the age of 14 to appear in Battle of the Villa Fiorita(1965), again with Rossano Brazzi, where two children travel from Britain to Italy to retrieve their “affair-stricken” mother (Maureen O’Hara). His last film was Hammer’s: The Witches/The Devil’s Own(1966) where he appeared as the young, charming Ronnie Dowsett beside Joan Fontaine and Biba/Vogue model Ingrid Brett (Boulting), the shooting for the village of Heddaby took place in the small town of Hambleden, Buckinghamshire and interior shooting at the Hammer studios. Martin returned to focusing on his education before studying Architecture at Queen’s University in Belfast and Bristol University for postgraduate studies. He now works successfully as a self-employed architect.. Martin and his wife reside in Portugal and are both teachers of Vipassana meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka. He travels the world helping design meditation centres.