Sunrise January 14, 1958 – Sunset August 28, 2021
“Some people build fences to keep people out and other people build fences to keep people in. Rose wants to hold on to you all. She loves you.”– August Wilson, “Fences”
“Your daddy wanted you to be everything he wasn’t…and at the same time he tried to make you into everything he was. I don’t know if he was right or wrong…but I do know he meant to do more good than he meant to do harm.” – August Wilson, “Fences”
“If you wanted to change me, you should’ve been there when I was growing up.” – Lyons, “Fences”
Michael Calvin Stewart was a student of the ARTS, born in Utica, Mississippi, the youngest of eight children to James Norman Stewart and Elee Fields Stewart. Michael’s formative years of schooling were spent at Hubbard and Mixon elementary schools, Hinds County Agriculture High School, and Jackson State University.
However, he credits his ability to speed read to his big sister, Juanita, who nicknamed Michael “Buddy”, and initially taught him how to read before he entered school. Speed reading came in handy, because Michael was always anxious to finish one book and go to the next one. Along the way, Michael developed a photographic memory. He was encouraged to use his photographic memory talent by family members one year while playing a role in a benefit play produced by Uncle William and Aunt Clara Wooley at Zion Travelers Missionary Baptist Church. The experience gave him the incentive to find out more about acting. Michael appreciated and loved quality writers, such as William Shakespeare and August Wilson.
Michael was a graduate of Theatre, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS; the Beah Richard’s Theatre of Being, Los Angeles, CA; and the Texas A & M Theatrical Workshop. He was a founding member of the Vivid Theatre Ensemble of Dallas, TX.
Michael was a recipient of the Best Actor Award (1994), Dallas Theatre Critics, the Best Supporting Actor, Fences, Stage West (1993), Best Actor in Featured Drama, Advice to the Players”, Live Oak Theatre (1991), Austin Circle of Theatres Award, “Advice to the Players (1991), Austin Drama Critics Award, “Advice to the Players”.
During Michael’s TV/film career, he played in the following: Love’s Savage Fury (Youngblood), Beulah Land (Alonzo), The Mississippi (Todd), Riverbend (Hank), Love Child (Dory), Robocop (policeman), Western Auto (mechanic), Nissan (buyer), Bank One (loan officer), Nations Bank (father), and “Ghosts of Mississippi” (gas station attendant)
During Michael’s professional stage career, he played in the following plays: Comedy of Errors (Antipholus of Ephesus), New Stage Theatre Jackson, MS; Dirty Work (Braiden Chaney), University of Mississippi; The Piano Lesson (Avery), New Stage Theatre; Fences (Lyons), New Stage Theatre; An Asian Jockey in our Midst (Nathan), Live Oak Theatre; Hell Cab (various roles), Pegasus Theatre; The Lion and the Jewel (Lukunle), Addison Central Theatre; The Meeting (Malcolm X), El Centro College; The Mighty Gents (Zeke/father), Jubilee Theatre; Fences (Bono), Stage West; Play with Repeats (Lawrence Bott), Addison Theatre; Stringbean (Lovett), Theatre Three; Tambourines to Glory (Buddy Lomax), Vivid Ensemble; Advice to the Players (Robert), Live Oak Theatre; A Midsummer’s Night Dream (Oberon), Live Oak Theatre; Macbeth (Young Siward), Dallas Shakespeare Festival; Twelfth Night (Malvolio/Sea Captain), Dallas Shakespeare Festival; Pericles (Cerimon), Dallas Shakespeare Festival; Taming of the Shrew (Biondello), New Stage Theatre; A Midsummer’s Night Dream (Puck), New Stage Theatre; and The Ship in the Bottle (David), Teatro Dallas.
Michael was preceded in death by his parents, James and Elee Stewart; brothers, James Earl Stewart, Lee Author Stewart, and Excel Stewart; sisters, Gloria Jean Stewart and Wilma Stewart Phillips; maternal grandparents, Tollie and Cynthia Fields; and paternal grandparents, Peter and Lillian Stewart. He is survived by two sisters, Shirley Stewart Perkins and Juanita Stewart Brown of Jackson, MS; one uncle, Peter Stewart, Jr.; sister-in-law, Florida Stewart, of Aurora, IL; several nieces, nephews, cousins, friends; and a devoted and loving friend, Ms. Patricia Jones of Aurora, IL.
“He’s worth no more they say he parted well, and paid his score: And so, God be with him! Here comes newer comfort.”
The family wishes to thank the wonderful group of doctors and nurses at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva, Illinois and the efficient staff at Dieterle Funeral Home in Montgomery, IL.
Due to COVID-19, the family will have a graveside memorial service for Michael at Henry’s Cemetery in Edwards, MS on Saturday, October 2, 2021, at 11:00 a.m.