East 15 graduate Reg Stewart was a jobbing actor who lent reliability and a guarantee of a well-turned performance to a career that spanned three decades.
Early stage appearances included Harald Mueller’s Big Wolf at London’s Royal Court in 1972, Max Frisch’s Andorra (alongside a young Antony Sher) at the Liverpool Empire (1973) and Henry Livings’ Stop It, Whoever You Are at the Manchester Library (1976).
He stayed in Manchester for two seasons, where he was seen in Peter Nichols’ Forget-Me-Not-Lane and Trevor Griffiths’ Comedians (1977) before becoming a fixture at Theatre Royal Stratford East, where he was seen in David Holman’s Dig for Victory (1978) and Alan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus and Brecht’s Mr Puntila and his Hired Man Matti in 1979.
At the Dukes Playhouse (now Dukes) Lancaster, he made his mark as Sergeant Match in Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw and Shamrayev in Chekhov’s The Seagull (1982) and as a witty Gravedigger in Hamlet (1983).
His comic talents were to the fore as Bottom in the Young Vic’s 1986 A Midsummer’s Night Dream and in his return to Griffiths’ Comedians as the bumptious Bert in 1987. They were more subtly applied as a touchingly direct Estragon in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot back in Lancaster and more broadly displayed in multiple roles in Dario Fo’s Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! at the Young Vic in 1989.
Among his last theatre appearances were Luigi Pirandello’s Henry IV (Wyndham’s Theatre, 1990) and Dick Edwards’ Regan – In the Great Society (1991) and Louise Osborn’s theatre-in-education drama Red Dressing (1992), both with Theatr Powys.
Small-screen credits ranged from The Fenn Street Gang (1971) and Alan Clarke’s 1978 take on Georg Büchner’s Danton’s Death to London’s Burning, crime soap The Bill and period drama Bramwell.
Stewart’s other fleeting claims to fame were as a French polisher in a 1991 advert for Yellow Pages and as the pie-and-mash man in the 1979 film Quadrophenia.
Reginald ‘Reg’ Stewart was born on February 24, 1942, and died on August 31, 2019, aged 77.