Hardy Boys actor Parker Stevenson opened up about how he joined the series that made a household name by pure chance.
“I grew up with a mother who had access to the industry, and I physically had a certain look, a certain type,” Stevenson explained. “And there were parts that lined up. I got lucky when I was getting commercials, I got lucky when I got The Hardy Boys. I was the last person to read and there was no particular reason that anybody else couldn’t have gotten that part.”
However, Stevenson also discussed how it was his chemistry with Shaun Cassidy that nabbed him the part. The two had the kind of easygoing friendship that made them believable as brothers.
“He was the first person set, and I was the last person who read. I still see Shaun. We crack each other up. There’s something about… his sense of humor is really dry, and it’s a humor that I really like and I’m comfortable with. It’s just… I think that is what worked, us fooling around. That’s when we did the backlot. We’d jump on the trams for studio tours in the middle of a shot, and we’d tour around through a couple of streets, say hi to people, and jump off–not tell them we were on the back. That is what our relationship is. It’s loose, warm, and fun.”
Stevenson starred as Frank Hardy, while Cassidy played his brother Joe from 1977 to 1979. The series also starred Pamela Sue Martin of Dynasty fame as Nancy Drew. Picking up from The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books, each episode solved a mystery. Some featured just the brothers or just Drew. However, the third season pivoted to only featuring the Hardy Boys, as Martin left the series. It only lasted a single season after her departure.
The Hardy Boys Star Wanted to be an Architect
Prior to being cast in The Hardy Boys, Stevenson wanted to pursue a different career path entirely.
“I had no interest in acting. None, zip. I was studying architecture [at Princeton University] and I was sure that’s what I was going to do,” the actor said. “And then somewhere along the line I did a couple pieces of work—[in particular] one little movie called Lifeguard—and that experience shifted everything. By the time I graduated I didn’t want to do architecture anymore.”
Despite some pushback from his father, Stevenson chose to stick with acting–a decision that definitely panned out. In the years following Hardy Boys, Stevenson remained a television star, mainly through guest spots on popular series. He never really made the leap from television to film, but Stevenson saw some success starring on the first season of Baywatch.