Stewart died on May 29, her family announced last week.
Born Peggy O’Rourke in 1923 in West Palm Beach, Florida, she moved to California in the 1930s and signed a contract with Paramount Pictures. She made her film debut in 1937’s Wells Fargo, a Western starring Joel McCrae and his wife, Frances Dee.
In 1944, she joined Republic Pictures, a studio known for churning out B-movie Westerns and played leading lady alongside some of their biggest stars. She appeared in 35 films from 1944 to 1951, and had lead roles in Western serials.
By the 1960s, she began to slow down and focus mostly on television. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, she was in the classic 1961 Twilight Zone episode “The Shelter,” about a nuclear attack. Other television credits include The Cisco Kid, Have Gun – Will Travel, Gunsmoke, Mod Squad, Room 222, Baretta, Emergency!, Beverly Hills, 90210, Weeds, Frasier and The A-Team.
Stewart introduced herself to a new audience with TV roles in the 1990s and though the 2010s. She appeared in the classic 1993 Seinfeld episode “The Implant” as the aunt of George Costanza’s (Jason Alexander) girlfriend. She also played Pam Beesley’s (Jenna Fischer) grandmother in The Office episodes “Christening” and “Niagara: Part 1.” Stewart also appeared in the Community episode “Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design.”
Stewart’s final film turned out to be That’s My Boy, the 2012 comedy starring Sandler and Andy Samberg. She played Grandma Dolores, the mother of Steve Spirou, played by Tony Orlando. Her final television role was in a 2014 episode of Getting On.
Stewart was married twice, first to actor Don “Red” Barry from 1940 to 1944. In 1953, she married actor Buck Young, and they remained married until his death in 2000. She is survived by children Abi, Mike and Greg.
“I’d known her personally for a few years now, but I used to watch all those Western movies when I was a kid — she was in everything,” Bruce Fortine, the former president of the Santa Clarita Community College District’s board of trustees, told The Santa Clarita Valley Signal. “She was the nicest, sweetest lady you would ever want to meet. At her age, she still had such a sharp mind that she remembered everything as it should be remembered and had a million stories to tell. She was very entertaining and could tell you stories that no one else could.”
“She was just this wise woman that was a mentor to me,” Julie Rogers Pomilia, whose grandparents Roy Rogers and Dale Evans worked with Stewart, told The Signal. “She had lots of stories about (my grandparents) and filled in the gaps. … She just had so much wisdom from living so long and just had an amazing outlook on life. She was one of those people that you made you feel really peaceful and good after being with her.”
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