After filming The Cowboys (1972), he was so enamored with horses and the real cowboys he met, he briefly pursued a Junior Rodeo career. For four years he rode bulls, broncs and competed in roping events with the "National Little Britches Rodeo Association" formerly based in Littleton, Colorado.
The Stunt Coordinator & Second Unit Director for "The Cowboys", Buzz Henry was a huge influence on Stephen's eventual career path as a Stuntman, Stunt Coordinator and Second-Unit Director. An experienced, kind, careful mentor, he guided Stephen through his first on-camera stunt - sliding off the back of a specially-trained horse for his death-scene close-up. Tragically and ironically, he was killed in a 1972 car accident on - of all places - Forest Lawn Drive (right in front of the cemetery of the same name), barely a few blocks from the Warner Brothers Studio lot where the film was completed.
At the peak of his child-acting career, he had at least two fan clubs and received an average of 500 fan letters a week. He appeared in and on the covers of 16 Magazine, 16 Spec Magazine, Tiger Beat Magazine, Look Magazine, Life Magazine and several newspapers and press releases around the world. All fan letters (including a hand-signed picture), were personally replied to first by a form letter, created by his father, Norman Hudis, and if the fan wrote back, a more personalized response was ensured by his father's painstaking (and non-computerized) record-keeping and cross-referencing.
He has one to two degree(s) of separation between practically anyone in The Entertainment Business, from golden-era legends to the stars and celebrities of the present-day. His "Bacon number" is two.
His real mother, Rita Hudis, played his on-screen mother in the tearful farewell scene from The Cowboys (1972). After filming was completed, the family adopted a dog and named him "Charlie" after Stephen's character in the film. The faithful, frisbee-catching, spotted-tongued mutt lived almost twenty years.