Steve Carver, best known for directing action films, died yesterday of a heart attack. Mr. Carver was 75.
After graduating from college (BA from Cornell University and MFA from Washington University), Carver worked as a cameraman for the Wide World of Sports for the St. Louis Cardinals, taught at local colleges and made documentaries. One of his documentaries earned him a spot in the American Film Institute. Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, one of the short films Carver created there, was well received and led to Carver meeting and working with Roger Corman.
Carver cut trailers for Corman’s New World pictures and began writing scripts. Corman then gave Carver the opportunity to direct The Arena starring Pam Grier. The success of that film led Corman to give Carter the helm of Big Bad Mama starring Angie Dickinson, William Shatner and Tom Skerritt. The success of Big Bad Mama led to Carver directing Capone. Capone starred Ben Gazarra, Harry Guardino, Susan Blakely, Sylvester Stallone and John Cassavetes.
The success of these films made Carver the potential director for Billy Jack Goes to Washington. That fell through when Tom Laughlin decided to direct it himself. Carver was instead hired to replace director Burt Kennedy on Drum which starred Warren Oates, Ken Norton, Pam Grier and Yaphet Kotto. Although the film was successful, Carver didn’t enjoy the experience.
Carver had ideas for a couple of films but they fell through. Instead Carver went on to direct David Carradine and Brenda Vaccaro in Fast Charlie… the Moonbeam Rider and Steel starring Lee Majors and Jennifer O’Neal.
In 1981, Carver directed Chuck Norris, Christopher Lee and Richard Roundtree in An Eye for an Eye. Two years later, Carver reteamed with Chuck Norris for Lone Wolf McQuade (co-starring David Carradine, Barbara Carrera and Leon Isaac Kennedy). Both of these films were highly successful, but Carver was becoming less enchanted with Hollywood and more interested in photography. Carter made six more films, but in 1995 opened his own photography studio and left directing behind.
Thanks to Steve Carver for many hours of entertainment. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.