R.I.P. Peggy Stewart, ''sheltered'' woman on The Twilight Zone and leading lady of Westerns
Image: The Everett Collection/NBCUniversal
On The Twilight Zone, Peggy Stewart wore pearls and shut her neighbors out of her shelter, terrified and thinking only of her family in "The Shelter." This dramatic flair for tension no doubt was honed as a leading lady of Western movies through the 1940s, when Stewart shared scenes with Gene Autry and memorably appeared in Son of Zorro, her poise unrivaled by cowboys and dark hair pinned and curled, looking sophisticated even in checkers and lace.
The Cisco Kid initiated her to TV in the 1950s, after which she'd do guest spot after guest spot on Westerns like Gunsmoke, Have Gun - Will Travel and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. The Sixties and Seventies would introduce her in dramas like The Twilight Zone, Mission: Impossible, The Fugitive and Mod Squad. It was so much work that by the 1980s, she was a semi-retired success, only appearing in choice roles after that, steering her career with skills that could rival any TV cowboy.
In the 1990s and 2000s, she'd even make the swing from drama to sitcoms, following a guest spot in the 1980s on Taxi, leading her to appear on shows like Coach, Frasier and Step by Step. She'd even once encounter George Costanza in the Seinfeld episode "The Implant," when acting as a good boyfriend, he attempts to impress Stewart's character Aunt May at a funeral.
Later The Office would tap Stewart for the same sitcom magic, casting her as a guest at Pam and Jim's wedding, who earnestly tells Pam she expects the love to last (injecting an icy barb that this was despite her family history). These sitcoms benefited from the veteran actor's mastery of tension, and toward the end of her career, it was a joy to see Stewart still shining onscreen, making the next generation's sitcom star's squirm.
On May 29, The Hollywood Reporter reports that Peggy Stewart passed away at the age of 95.