A British naval pilot who served during the Second World War, Stevenson was later a foreign correspondent for The Toronto Star.
His 2012 autobiography Past to Present: A Reporter's Story of War, Spies, People, and Politics chronicled his time as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star. Posted to Hong Kong for six years, he also took assignments in locations such as India, Kenya and London. He also worked as a producer for the CBC.
Wrote A Man Called Intrepid
It was during his work for the Star that he met another William Stephenson - no relation. This Stephenson was the head of British intelligence operations in the United States, whose code name was Intrepid. Journalist Stevenson immortalized spymaster Stephenson's story in the 1976 book A Man Called Intrepid.
The book became a bestseller in the U.K. and was later adapted into a TV miniseries in 1979. He wrote several other books including 90 Minutes at Entebbe, also in 1976.
In an interview with CBC Radio's The Current in March, Stevenson described working as a correspondent for the Near and Far East News Agency, which was actually a cover for British intelligence - like his near-namesake, Stevenson himself was involved in the spymaster's world.
"By having a cover like that, your telegrams were not regarded as somehow spy telegrams, they were just information," he said, adding that he had a "kind of romanticized vision of what one did in looking at what's going on in the world."