Born in Southport, Lancashire in England in 1927, Joe Stewardson was an actor and writer, arguably best known for Flatfoot in Africa (1978), Follow That Rainbow (1979) and City Lovers (1982). He arrived in South Africa in 1947, skipping the Royal Navy when his ship called at Simon's Town.

Joe appeared in his first play, Rose Without a Thorn, at the Labia Theatre, Cape Town, in 1949, but his career didn't really take off until he relocated to Johannesburg in 1960. He went on to figure in a succession of productions including A Taste of Honey (1960), The Amorous Prawn (September 1961), The Red Silk Umbrella (1962), The Caucasian Chalk Circle (as Azdak the judge, 1965) and Shakespeare (Hamlet at the Civic Theatre in 1964, King Lear at the Alexander Theatre in 1969).

His performance as King Lear won a best actor award and he also won the Stuart Leith Trophy for Best Actor three times during his career.

In 1973 he married Diane Appleby, who played Emma Peel in the Sonovision Avengers. He retired from the screen in 1990 and died in January 1997 in Johannesburg at the age of 70. Of his five children, Deon (1951-) and Mathew (1974-2010) also entered the acting profession.

by Alan Hayes


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