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*Mel Stewart was born on this date in 1929. He was a Black musician, teacher, and actor.
From Cleveland, Ohio, Milton Stewart was also an accomplished jazz saxophonist. While in New York, he played with John Coltrane and others. Other music-based endeavors include his voice narrating Scenes in the City on Charles Mingus’ album “New York Sketchbook.” As an actor, Broadway is where he Cut His Teeth before starring in Langston Hughes’ Simply Heaven. From there, Stewart moved to San Francisco to be in Chicago’s Second City improv group, “The Committee.”
A third-degree Black Belt in Aikido, Stewart was best known for appearing on television's "All in the Family" and "Scarecrow and Mrs. King." He appeared from 1971 to 1973 on "All in the Family," portraying the outspoken Henry Jefferson, a member of the Black family living next door to Archie Bunker. He also had roles in movies including “The Land Lord” (1970), “Trick Baby” and "Steelyard Blues" (1973), and "Newman's Law" (1974). He was married to Annie Dong-Stewart and had a daughter, Alia Dong-Stewart.
He was also an acting instructor whose students included Danny Glover. Stewart taught acting workshops at San Francisco State University and founded a theater group called Bantu for Black Actors Now Through Unity. Stewart retired after making "Made in America" with Whoopi Goldberg in 1993. Melvin Stewart died on February 24, 2002, from Alzheimer's disease in Pacifica, California.