Paul Stewart (actor)

IntroAmerican actor
Was Actor 
Film actor 
Stage actor 
Television actor 
From United States of America 
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio 
Gendermale
Birth 13 May 1908 
, New York City
Death 17 February 1986 
, Los Angeles
(aged 77 years)

Paul Stewart (born Paul Sternberg; March 13, 1908 – February 17, 1986) was an American character actor, director and producer who worked in theatre, radio, films and television. He frequently portrayed cynical and sinister characters throughout his lengthy career. A friend and associate of Orson Welles for many years, he helped Welles get his first job in radio and was associate producer of the celebrated radio program “The War of the Worlds”, in which he also performed. One of the Mercury Theatre players who made their film debut in Welles’s landmark film Citizen Kane, Stewart portrayed Kane’s butler and valet, Raymond. He appeared in 50 films, and performed in or directed some 5,000 radio and television shows.

Biography

Paul Stewart was born in Manhattan March 13, 1908, as Paul Sternberg. His parents were Maurice D. Sternberg, a salesman and credit agent for a textile manufacturer, and Nathalie C. (Nathanson) Sternberg; both were born in Minneapolis. Stewart attended public school and completed two years at Columbia University, studying law. He had received first place in the Belasco Theatre Tournament in 1925 and decided on an acting career.

Stewart began his stage career in New York as teenager. He made his Broadway debut in 1930, in Subway Express.:16 He next appeared in the 1931 play, Two Seconds, adapted as a film the next year.

In 1932, after two additional Broadway credits, Stewart moved to Cincinnati and went to work at radio station WLW. It was there in 1928 that radio pioneer Fred Smith had created the program Newscasting, which in 1931 evolved into the popular national news series, The March of Time. For 13 months Stewart worked in all aspects of radio production at WLW — acting, announcing, directing, producing, writing and creating sound effects. When he returned to New York he was on The March of Time and a member of radio’s elite corps of actors.

In 1934 Stewart introduced Orson Welles to director Knowles Entrikin, who gave Welles his first job on radio, on The American School of the Air.:331 “I’d been turning up for auditions and never landing a job until I met Paul Stewart,” Welles recalled. “He’s a lovely man; for years he was one of the main pillars of our Mercury broadcasts. He can’t be given too much credit.”:10

In March 1935 Stewart saw Welles’s stage performance in Archibald MacLeish’s verse play Panic, and recommended him to director Homer Fickett. Welles was auditioned and hired to join the repertory company that presented The March of Time.:86

“It was like a stock company, whose members were the aristocrats of this relatively new profession of radio acting,” wrote fellow actor Joseph Julian. At that time Julian had to content himself with being an indistinguishable voice in crowd scenes, envying this “hallowed circle” that included Stewart, Welles, Kenny Delmar, Arlene Francis, Gary Merrill, Agnes Moorehead, Jeanette Nolan, Everett Sloane, Richard Widmark,:9 Art Carney, Ray Collins, Pedro de Cordoba, Ted de Corsia, Juano Hernandez, Nancy Kelly, John McIntire, Jack Smart and Dwight Weist. The March of Time was one of radio’s most popular shows.:12–13

Stewart was a founder of the American Federation of Radio Artists in August 1937, and one of its inaugural officers.:21,24 He carried card number 39 in the union and was a frequent delegate at the national convention. He was also a board member of the Screen Actors Guild, and a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Stewart played various roles throughout Welles’s memorable tenure as Lamont Cranston in The Shadow (September 1937–September 1938).:69

In 1938 Welles expanded the range of the Mercury Theatre from Broadway to network radio with his CBS series, The Mercury Theatre on the Air, and Stewart became his associate producer.:390 In addition to playing a number of roles in the drama series and its sponsored continuation, The Campbell Playhouse, Stewart made significant contributions to the celebrated broadcast, “The War of the Worlds”, as rehearsal director, actor and co-writer.:343 Welles later said that Stewart deserved the largest share of the credit for the quality of “The War of the Worlds”.:195

In 1939 Stewart was married to actress and singer Peg LaCentra (1910–1996), a vocalist with Artie Shaw’s first orchestra who worked in radio, films and television. That September Welles called Stewart in New York.:411:254

“The telephone rang and I heard the unmistakable voice of Orson Welles, speaking from California,” Stewart recalled:

Well, when Orson said he had a part for you, you went. So I left New York to play my first role in a picture at 500 dollars a week, three weeks’ guarantee. I was on Citizen Kane for 11 weeks. … My first shot was a close-up in which Orson wanted a special smoke effect from my cigarette. I was rigged with tube that went under my clothes and down my finger to the cigarette, but somehow the contraption wouldn’t exude smoke. “I want long cigarettes — the Russian kind!” Orson ordered. Everyone waited while the prop man fetched some Russian cigarettes. Just before the scene Orson Welles warned me: “Your head is going to fill the screen at the Radio City Music Hall” — at that time Citizen Kane was booked for the Music Hall. Then he said in his gruff manner, “Turn ’em.” But just before I started, he added quietly in his warm voice, “Good luck.” I blew the first take. It was 30, 40 takes before I completed a shot that Orson liked — and I had only one line. That was almost 30 years ago, but even today I have people repeat it to me, including young students. The line was: “Rosebud … I’ll tell you about Rosebud …”:8–9

Stewart’s most famous role is his screen debut as Raymond, the cynical butler in Citizen Kane (1941).:195 Actress Ruth Warrick, who portrayed Kane’s first wife, remembered Stewart saying to her at the film’s New York premiere, “From this night on, wherever we go or whatever we do in our lives, we will always be identified with Citizen Kane.”

On the stage, Stewart appeared in the Mercury Theatre’s acclaimed production of Native Son, directed by Welles and produced by John Houseman at the St. James Theatre March 24–June 28, 1941.

During World War II Stewart served with the New York-based Office of War Information (1941–43) and narrated documentaries including The World at War (1942). He worked under John Houseman at the newly created Voice of America (1942–43), broadcasting news, editorials and commentary from the U.S. press, and quotes from notable speeches, to audiences in Europe.:39 When Houseman took his oath of allegiance as a U.S. citizen in March 1943, he chose Stewart to accompany him as his witness.:87

Stewart was given leave to go to Hollywood to act in a few wartime films, including Mr. Lucky (1943), and worked as a barker in The Mercury Wonder Show, a magic-and-variety show produced by Welles and Joseph Cotten as a morale-boosting entertainment for U.S. soldiers.:171 Because of his comprehensive radio experience, Stewart was called upon by U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr. to prepare radio programs used to promote the purchase of War Bonds during World War II. He produced and directed Welles’s Fifth War Loan broadcast from the Hollywood Bowl June 14, 1944,:384 and produced, directed and acted in a number of patriotic episodes of the Cavalcade of America radio series.

After the war Stewart went to work for David O. Selznick and Dore Schary as a writer, director and producer, and directed screen tests for Paramount Pictures. Stewart’s many feature film credits as an actor include The Window, Champion, Twelve O’Clock High, Deadline – U.S.A., The Bad and the Beautiful, The Juggler, Kiss Me Deadly, King Creole, In Cold Blood, The Day of the Locust and W.C. Fields and Me, in which he portrayed Florenz Ziegfeld.

In 1950 Stewart took over the role of Doc in Joshua Logan’s Broadway production of Mister Roberts, starring Henry Fonda.

On television, Stewart’s director credits include the syndicated series, Top Secret (1954–55), in which he costarred with the young Gena Rowlands, and a notable episode of the TV series The Twilight Zone, “Little Girl Lost” (1962). He was host and narrator of the syndicated series Deadline (1959–61) and appeared in episodes of The Ford Theatre Hour, Suspense, Playhouse 90, Alcoa Theatre, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Asphalt Jungle, Perry Mason, Dr. Kildare, Mannix, Mission Impossible, The Name of the Game (“L.A. 2017”), McMillan & Wife, Columbo, The Rockford Files, Lou Grant and Remington Steele, among many other TV series.

Orson Welles called upon Stewart to play a role in his film, The Other Side of the Wind, shot in the 1970s and left unfinished. When Welles died at his home in Hollywood October 10, 1985, Stewart was the first of his friends to arrive.:195, 297

Stewart died of heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on February 17, 1986, after a long illness. He had suffered a heart attack in 1974 during the first two weeks’ filming of Richard Brooks’s Western, Bite the Bullet, in which he was replaced.

In the 1999 film RKO 281, Paul Stewart was portrayed by Adrian Schiller.

Theatre credits

DateTitleRoleNotes
1930 – May 1930Subway ExpressPassengerLiberty Theatre, New York
October 9 – November 1931Two SecondsFirst Reporter, First DetectiveRitz Theatre, New York
Directed by Alexander Leftwich
January 26 – February 1932East of BroadwayWillie PosnerBelmont Theatre, New York
Directed by Lew Levenson
May 6 – May 1932Bulls, Bears and AssesMerwinPlayhouse Theatre, New York
Directed by Melville Burke
February 21 – March 1938Wine of ChoiceLeo TraubGuild Theatre, New York
Directed by Herman Shumlin
March 24 – June 28, 1941Native SonA Newspaper ManSt. James Theatre, New York
Directed by Orson Welles
September 24–29, 1941Twilight WalkFulton Theatre, New York
Directed by Paul Stewart
August–September 1943The Mercury Wonder ShowBarkerHollywood, California
Directed by Orson Welles:377:171
May–December 1950Mister RobertsDocAlvin Theatre, New York
Directed by Joshua Logan
November 30, 1971 – January 8, 1972The Caine Mutiny Court-MartialAhmanson Theatre, Los Angeles
Directed by Henry Fonda

Radio credits

Paul Stewart played in or directed 5,000 radio and TV shows, usually without credit.

Actor

DateTitleRoleNotes
1934–38The March of TimeRepertory cast:13
April 17 – December 25, 1935The House of GlassWhitey:333
November 9, 1936 – June 25, 1937The Jack Pearl ShowAnnouncer:365
1936–37Easy AcesJohnny Sherwood
September 26, 1937 – September 11, 1938The ShadowRepertory cast
1938The Raleigh and Kool Cigarette ProgramAnnouncer
1938 –Life Can Be BeautifulGyp Mendoza:394
August 29, 1938The Mercury Theatre on the AirPaul Dantès“The Count of Monte Cristo”:345:51
September 5, 1938The Mercury Theatre on the AirGogol“The Man Who Was Thursday”:345:51
October 30, 1938The Mercury Theatre on the AirStudio announcer
Third studio announcer
“The War of the Worlds”:346
1939 –Mr. District Attorney:464
March 10, 1939The Campbell PlayhouseRepertory cast“The Glass Key”:351
May 5, 1939The Campbell Playhouse“Wickford Point”:352
May 20, 1939Arch Oboler’s Plays“Crazytown”
May 25, 1939The Campbell Playhouse“Ah, Wilderness!”:352
September 17, 1939The Campbell Playhouse“American Cavalcade: The Things We Have”:352
January 9, 1940The Cavalcade of AmericaRepertory cast“The Raven Wins Texas”
February 11, 1940The Campbell Playhouse“Mr. Deeds Goes to Town”:358
April 6, 1941The Free Company“His Honor, the Mayor”:362–363
May 11, 1941Twenty-Six by Corwin“The Log of the R-77”
May 30, 1941Great Moments from Great Plays“The Butter and Egg Man”:201
June 22, 1941Twenty-Six by Corwin“Daybreak”
July 20, 1941Twenty-Six by Corwin“Double Concerto”
October 6, 1941Orson Welles Show:367
November 3, 1941Orson Welles Show“Wild Oranges”:367
1942–43Voice of AmericaMedium wave English-language news broadcasts to Europe:39–40
March 28, 1942This Is War“It’s in the Works”:501
April 6, 1942The Cavalcade of America“Yellow Jack”
May 4, 1942The Cavalcade of America“The Printer Was a Lady”
May 11, 1942The Cavalcade of America“A Tooth for Paul Revere”
July 27, 1942The Cavalcade of America“Man of Design”
August 3, 1942The Cavalcade of America“This Our Exile”
September 23, 1942Suspense“A Passage to Benares”
September 28, 1942The Cavalcade of America“Juarez: Thunder from the Mountains”
February 2, 1943Lights Out“Until Dead”
March 22, 1943The Cavalcade of America“Lifetide”
June 7, 1943The Cavalcade of America“The Enemy is Listening”
June 14, 1943The Cavalcade of America“Make Way for the Lady”
June 21, 1943The Cavalcade of America“The Unsinkable Marblehead”
August 17 – October 5, 1943Passport for AdamsEight 30-minute episodes
December 6, 1943The Cavalcade of America“Navy Doctor”
December 13, 1943The Cavalcade of America“Check Your Heart at Home”
1943-1944Brave TomorrowCast
1946–The Fat Man:241
September 4, 1948Gang Busters“The Case of the Collector”
June 18, 1949NBC University Theater of the Air“What Makes Sammy Run?”:347
June 30, 1950The MGM Theater of the Air“Public Hero No. 1”
1950–51Rogue’s GalleryRichard Rogue55 episodes
January 10, 1954NBC Star Playhouse“For Whom the Bell Tolls”
November 7, 1954You Were There“Eight By Three By Two”
August 21, 1955You Were There“The Way We Want It”
August 28, 1955You Were There“Once Upon a Time”

Director, producer

YearTitleNotes
July 11–December 4, 1938The Mercury Theatre on the AirAssociate producer, rehearsal director:343
22 episodes
December 9, 1938 – March 31, 1940The Campbell PlayhouseAssociate producer, rehearsal director:343
56 episodes
1943–44The Cavalcade of AmericaProducer and director of episodes including the following:
“Navy Doctor”, December 6, 1943
“Check Your Heart at Home”, December 13, 1943
“U-Boat Prisoner”, December 27, 1943
“Bullseye for Sammy”, January 3, 1944
“Prelude to Glory”, February 7, 1944
“The Purple Heart Comes to Free Meadows”, February 21, 1944
“Junior Angel”, February 28, 1944
“The Doctor Gets the Answer”, September 11, 1944
“Spy on the Kilocycles”, October 8, 1944 (director only)
June 14, 1944The Fifth War Loan DriveProducer, director:384
Because of his comprehensive radio experience, Stewart was called upon by U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr. to prepare radio programs used to promote the purchase of War Bonds during World War II

Film and television credits

Actor

YearTitleRoleNotes
1940Citizen Kane trailerHimself, RaymondShort:360
1941Citizen KaneRaymondFilm debut
1942Johnny EagerJulio
1942The World at WarNarratorFirst documentary released by the Office of War Information
1943Mr. LuckyZepp
1949Window, TheThe WindowJoe Kellerson
1949 The Ford Theatre Hour (TV series)Paul Lawton“She Loves Me Not”
1944Government GirlBranch Owens
1948Berlin ExpressNarrator (uncredited)
1949ChampionTommy Haley
1949Easy LivingDan Argus
1949Illegal EntryZack Richards
1950Twelve O’Clock HighCapt. [Major] “Doc” Kaiser
1950Edge of DoomCraig
1950Walk Softly, StrangerWhitey Lake
1950 Suspense (TV series)Sam Cragg“1000 to One”
1950 The Prudential Family Playhouse (TV series)Max Wharton“Over 21”
1951Appointment with DangerEarl Boettinger
1951 Lights Out (TV)“The Man with the Astrakhan Hat”
1951 Faith Baldwin Romance Theatre (TV series)“Success Story”
1952Deadline – U.S.A.Harry Thompson
1952Carbine Williams“Dutch” Kruger
1952Loan SharkLou Donelli
1952We’re Not Married!Stone, Eve’s lawyer
1952Bad and the Beautiful, TheThe Bad and the BeautifulSyd Murphy
1953Juggler, TheThe JugglerDetective Karni
1953Joe Louis Story, TheThe Joe Louis StoryTad McGeehan
1954Deep in My HeartBert Townsend
1954Prisoner of WarCapt. Jack Hodges
1954 Inner Sanctum (TV series)Three episodes
1954–55 Top Secret (TV series)Professor Brand26-episode syndicated series costarring Gena Rowlands
1955Kiss Me DeadlyCarl Evello
1955Chicago SyndicateArnold Valenti
1955Cobweb, TheThe CobwebDr. Otto Wolff
1955 TV Reader’s Digest (TV series)Larry Sears“The Manufactured Clue”
19551955 Motion Picture Theatre CelebrationHimself
1956Hell on Frisco BayJoe Lye
1956Wild Party, TheThe Wild PartyBen Davis
1956 Playhouse 90 (TV series)Martin Hoeffer“Confession”
1957Top Secret AffairPhil Bentley
1957 Joseph Cotten Show, TheThe Joseph Cotten Show (TV series)Mr. Bari“The Secret of Polanta”
1958King CreoleCharlie Le Grand
1958 Alcoa Theatre (TV series)Don Peters“The First Star”
1958 No Warning (TV series)Stephen Chase“Fingerprints”
1959Beyond All LimitsPendergast
1959–61 Deadline (TV series)Narrator, hostSyndicated newspaper anthology series
1960 Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV series)Vincent Noonan“Craig’s Will”
1961 Asphalt Jungle, TheThe Asphalt Jungle (TV series)Alex Meridan“The Kidnapping”
1963Child is Waiting, AA Child is WaitingGoodman
1964 Perry Mason (TV series)J. J. Pennington“The Case of the Tragic Trophy”
1964 Dr. Kildare (TV series)Dr. Giuseppe Muretelli“Rome Will Never Leave You”
1965Greatest Story Ever Told, TheThe Greatest Story Ever ToldQuestor
1966 Perry Mason (TV series)Cameron Burgess“The Case of the Avenging Angel”
1966–67 Man Who Never Was, TheThe Man Who Never Was (TV series)Paul GrantSeries:462
1967In Cold BloodReporter
1967–69 Moby Dick and Mighty Mightor (TV series)MightorAnimated series
1968JigsawSimon Joshua
1968 Mannix (TV series)Morgan Farrell“Pressure Point”
1969How to Commit MarriageAttorney
1969 Ironside (TV series)Paul Cambridge“The Prophesy”
1969 Mission: Impossible (TV series)Jonas Stone“Mastermind”
1970 Carter’s Army (TV movie)General ClarkAlso known as Black Brigade
1970 Governor & J.J., TheThe Governor & J.J. (TV series)Dr. Ed Graham“And the World Begat the Bleep”
1970 Gunsmoke (TV series)Sanders“The Cage”
1971 Silent Force, TheThe Silent Force (TV series)“The Banker”
1971 Name of the Game, TheThe Name of the Game (TV series)Dr. Rubias“L.A. 2017”
1971 City Beneath the Sea (TV)Barton
1971 McMillan & Wife (TV series)Chief Andy Yeakel“Husbands, Wives and Killers”
1973 Ironside (TV series)Ben Hopkins“Ring of Prayer”
1973 F.B.I., TheThe F.B.I. (TV series)Reese“Rules of the Game”
1973 Columbo (TV series)Clifford Paris“Double Shock”
1974F for FakeSpecial participant:442
1974Live A Little, Steal A LotAveryAlso known as Murph the Surf
1974 Cannon (TV series)Lester Cain“The Hit Man”
1975Day of the Locust, TheThe Day of the LocustHelverston
1975 Streets of San Francisco, TheThe Streets of San Francisco (TV series)Nick Lugo“Letters from the Grave”
1976W.C. Fields and MeFlo Ziegfeld
1977Opening NightDavid Samuels
1977 Rockford Files, TheThe Rockford Files (TV series)Julius “Buddy” Richards“Irving the Explainer”
1978Revenge of the Pink PantherJulio Scallini
1978Nativity, TheThe NativityZacharias
1979 Lou Grant (TV series)Kenneth Homes“Hollywood”
1981S.O.B.Harry Sandler
1981 Dain Curse, TheThe Dain Curse (TV)Old manMiniseries
1981Nobody’s PerfektDr. Segal
1982TempestPhillip’s father
1983 Remington Steele (TV series)Joseph Barber“Steele Knuckles and Glass Jaws”
1985 MacGyver (TV series)Dr. Carl SteubensSeries pilot
TBDOther Side of the Wind, TheThe Other Side of the WindMatt CostelloScenes filmed between 1970 and 1976

Director, producer

YearTitleNotes
1954–55 Top Secret (TV series)15-minute syndicated series, also known as Top Secret U.S.A.
“I also directed my own TV series in the East … We did 26 films in 25 days, so you can see I’m used to making deadlines” (Paul Stewart)
1955 Kings Row (TV series)Three episodes
1955–56 Warner Bros. Presents (TV series)Three episodes
1957 Meet McGraw (TV series)“The White Rose”
1958 Peter Gunn (TV series)“The Leaper”
1959–60 Hawaiian Eye (TV series)“Secret of the Second Door”
“Shipment from Kihei”
“The Koa Man”
“Stamped for Danger”
1960 M Squad (TV series)Five episodes
1960 Philip Marlowe (TV series)“Murder is a Grave Affair”
1960–61 Michael Shayne (TV series)Eight episodes; associate producer of the series
1961–62 Checkmate (TV series)Six episodes
1962 Twilight Zone, TheThe Twilight Zone (TV series)“Little Girl Lost”
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