updated 11/03/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 11/03/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST
A deejay, writer and lecturer, Steffens, 55, has spent half his life as an apostle of the reggae legend, whom he met twice before Marley's 1981 death from cancer. (Marley issued Steffens his Rastafarian nickname, Ras RoJah.) The Brooklyn-born son of a typewriter salesman and a homemaker, Steffens heard Marley's first international album in 1973. "I didn't take it off the turntable for three weeks," he says. "This was music that meant something." A frequent voice-over actor who also had bit parts in Forrest Gump and The American President, Steffens went on to host an L.A. radio show and speak worldwide about Marley.
His archives are a magnet for fans, hundreds of whom have visited the home he shares with wife Mary, 53, a librarian, and children Kate, 18, and Devon Marley, 14. Steffens has turned down bids for the collection—including one from Marley's widow, Rita, and another from Japan for $1 million—though he may lend it out next year for a floating exhibition on the Queen Mary. For now, he plans to continue touring with his hit Marley lectures, which Marley's mother, Cedella Booker, has attended five times. "Every time I go," she says, "he always has new things to show me."