Actor Stephan W. Burns

Stephan William Burns (November 15, 1954 – February 22, 1990; also credited as Stephan W. Burns, Stephen W. Burns, and Stephan Burns) was an American actor best known for playing Pete Stancheck in Herbie Goes Bananas and Jack Cleary in the miniseries The Thorn Birds.

Early life and career

Burns was born on November 15, 1954 in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and grew up in the small town of Chews Landing, New Jersey. As soon as he graduated high school, Burns moved to New York City to study theater. He worked odd jobs during the day to pay for his rent and the acting classes he attended at night. Auditions eventually led to an offer for the lead role in the national touring production of the Broadway hit Grease.

Burns moved to Hollywood and within six months, he was offered the role of Li’l Abner in the 1978 TV special Li’l Abner in Dogpatch Today. During his short career, Burns starred as Pete Stancheck in Walt Disney Productions’ Herbie Goes Bananas and appeared on several television shows, as well as starring in the ABC series 240-Robert and The Thorn Birds miniseries. Other credits include Eight Is Enough, Heart of the City and Simon & Simon.


After being involved in a serious car accident in 1984, Burns received an emergency blood transfusion. Unfortunately, the blood was contaminated, infecting Burns with HIV. Burns died on February 22, 1990, in Santa Barbara, California.


Year Title Role Notes
1978 Li’l Abner in Dogpatch Today Li’l Abner TV movie
1979 Eight Is Enough Dixon Episode – “The Better Part of Valor”
1979 When She Was Bad… Orderly TV movie
1980 Herbie Goes Bananas Pete Stancheck Feature film
1981 240-Robert Deputy Brett Cueva Episodes: “A Cool Welcome”, “First Loss”, “Hostages”
1982 The Day the Bubble Burst TV movie
1983 The Thorn Birds Jack Cleary TV miniseries (3 episodes)
1986 Spiker Sonny Reston Feature film
1987 Heart of the City Del Ruth Episode – “Beauty and a Couple of Beasts”
1987 Simon & Simon David Jenner Episode – “Walking Point”
1987 Werewolf Brother Mark Episode – “Let Us Prey” (final role)

External Links

Actor Stephan W. Burns – Wikipedia

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