Mel Stewart

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Not to be confused with Mel Stuart. ‹See Tfd›
Mel Stewart
Mel Stewart Roll Out 1973.JPG
Stewart as Sergeant Bryant in Roll Out, 1973.
Born Milton Stewart
(1929-09-19)September 19, 1929
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Died February 24, 2002(2002-02-24) (aged 72)
Pacifica, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Alzheimer's disease
Other names Melvin Stewart
Melvin Stuart
Occupation Actor, television director, musician
Years active 1959–1993
Spouse(s) Annie Dong (m. 1976–2002)

Milton "Mel" Stewart (September 19, 1929 – February 24, 2002) was an American character actor, television director, and musician who appeared in numerous films and television shows from the 1960s to the 1990s. He is best known for playing Henry Jefferson on the popular television series All in the Family and for playing section chief Billy Melrose on the television series Scarecrow and Mrs. King. Stewart is sometimes credited as Melvin Stewart or Mel Stuart.

Career[edit]

Mel Stewart began his acting career in 1959 with small roles in TV and films. In the early 1960s, Stewart also appeared in the Broadway shows Purlie Victorious, The Hostage, The Cool World, and Simply Heavenly.[1]

Stewart's early career also included notable work as a voice actor. He provided the narration for "Scenes in the City", a long jazz composition with a text by Lonne Elder and Langston Hughes that appeared on Charles Mingus' 1957 album A Modern Jazz Symposium of Music and Poetry.[2][3] In 1961, Stewart recorded an album of Langston Hughes' poetry on Folkways Records: Langston Hughes' The Best of Simple.[4]

Stewart went on to land roles in various television series including That Girl, Marcus Welby, M.D., The Bob Newhart Show, Good Times, and Harry O. One of his most memorable roles was as "Henry Jefferson", George Jefferson's brother, in the series All in the Family. In 1973, he co-starred in the short-lived series Roll Out. The following year, Stewart directed two episodes of yet another short-lived series Get Christie Love!, before co-starring in On the Rocks. After On the Rocks was canceled in 1976, Stewart portrayed the role of Marvin Decker in the Bewitched spin-off series Tabitha from 1977 to 1978.

In the 1980s, Stewart starred on Scarecrow and Mrs. King as section chief Billy Melrose during the show's four-year run from 1983 through 1987, and continued guest starring in both television and films. His last on screen appearance came in the 1993 film Made in America, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson.

Side projects[edit]

In addition to acting and directing, Stewart was an accomplished jazz saxophonist. A longtime resident of San Francisco, he also taught acting at San Francisco State University.[1] His students included actor Danny Glover.[5] He established the theater group Black Actors Now Through Unity (BANTU) and directed plays at the Center for African and African-American Art and Culture in San Francisco and the Black Repertory Theater in Berkeley, California.[1]

A third degree black belt in aikido, Stewart opened a dojo for inner-city youth in the Bayview district of San Francisco.[1]

Personal life and death[edit]

On July 11, 1976, Stewart married Annie Dong. The couple had one child together, a daughter.[1] On February 24, 2002, Mel Stewart died of Alzheimer's disease.

Selected filmography[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1959 Odds Against Tomorrow Hotel Juno Elevator Operator Uncredited
1964 Nothing But a Man Riddick
1970 Landlord, TheThe Landlord Professor Duboise Credited as Melvin Stewart
1971 Cry Uncle! Lt. Fowler Alternative titles: American Oddballs
Super Dick
Credited as Melvin Stewart
1972 Hammer Professor Alternative title: BJ Hammer
1972 Trick Baby Blue Howard
1973 Steelyard Blues Black Man in Jail Alternative title: The Final Crash
1975 Let's Do It Again Ellison
1981 Whose Life Is It Anyway? Dr. Barr
1988 Dead Heat Captain Mayberry
1990 Martians Go Home Judge
1990 Bride of Re-Animator Dr. Graves Alternative title: Re-Animator 2
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1962 Car 54 Where Are You? Officer Episode: "That's Show Business"
Uncredited
1963 Naked City Pharmacist Episode: "Barefoot on a Bed of Coals"
Uncredited
1964 Nurses, TheThe Nurses Grand Jury Foreman Episode: "The Love of a Smart Operator"
1969 The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour Mr. Harris Episode #1.1
1971–1973 All in the Family Henry Jefferson 8 episodes
1972 Bold Ones: The Senator, TheThe Bold Ones: The Senator Dawson Episode: "A Single Blow of a Sword"
1974 Toma George Sawtelle Episode: "A Funeral for Max Berlin"
1974 Lucas Tanner Mr. Browder Episode: "Look the Other Way"
1975 On the Rocks Mr. Gibson Series regular
1975 Rockford Files, TheThe Rockford Files Police Lieutenant Episode: "Charlie Harris at Large"
1975 That's My Mama Laforche Episode: "Business Is Business"
1977 What's Happening!! Spike Gibbs Episode: "The Hospital Stay"
1977 Sanford and Son Clarence Episode: "Fred the Activist"
1979 Roots: The Next Generations Dr. Crawford Miniseries
1979 Benson Loromo Episode: "The President's Double"
1980 Soap Walter Coleman Episode: "3.14
1981 Little House: A New Beginning Hertzell Lundy Episode: "Make a Joyful Noise"
1981 Greatest American Hero, TheThe Greatest American Hero Sherman Episode: "Saturday Night on Sunset Boulevard"
1983–1987 Scarecrow and Mrs. King Billy Melrose series regular
1983 The Kid with the 200 I.Q. Debs television film
1984 Cheers Man Episode: "Coach Buries a Grudge"
1987 Amen Brother Clark Episode: "California Dreaming"
1988 Frank's Place Ben Coleman Episode: "Cultural Exchange"
1989 227 Jack McGee Episode: "The Real Decoys"
1989 Matlock Sgt Lou Marshall Episodes: "The Mayor: Part 1"
"The Mayor: Part 2"
1989 Golden Girls, TheThe Golden Girls Judge Episode: "Love Under the Big Top"
1990 In the Heat of the Night Calvin Peterson Episodes: "Brotherly Love: Part 1"
"Brotherly Love: Part 2"
"Lessons Learned"

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Hobbs, John (2002-04-10). "Milton 'Mel' Stewart: Legit, TV actor". Variety. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  2. ^ http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/mel-stewart-actor-and-teacher
  3. ^ Heckman, Don (February 11, 2001). "A More Complete Introduction to Mingus". Los Angeles Times. 
  4. ^ The Best of Simple Album Details at Smithsonian Folkways
  5. ^ "Actor Milton Stewart dies". Jet. 2002-04-01. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 

External links[edit]