Legendary performer Stuart Wagstaff passes away, aged 90

Stuart Wagstaff AM, the legendary entertainer whose multi-faceted career was a pinnacle in the Australian landscape of theatre, television and music has passed away peacefully, aged 90.

Stuart Wagstaff. Image supplied
Stuart Wagstaff. Image supplied

After 50 years in the business of show (and over 40 of those years in Australia) Stuart achieved success in the world of television, theatre, music and theatre.

He passed away at Greenwhich Hospital on Tuesday and information on a memorial will be confirmed soon.

Originally from England first came to Australia in 1958 to appear in the JC Williamson production Not in the Book after a successful early career in London’s West End as well as some film and television appearances.

Stuart appeared in the original Australian production of My Fair Lady, with which he was associated for the next four and a half years, the last two and half playing Professor Henry Higgins. Following this he took over the male lead in the stage musical The Sound of Music.

He has hosted TV shows, worked in Hollywood, appeared as a permanent panelist on Channel 10’s Blankety Blanks, but his first love was the theatre.

Apart from television he was active in his first love, the theatre. In late 1979 Stuart appeared again as Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady and a successful national tour followed, in which production he was also co-producer. About this time he also produced Sydney and Melbourne seasons of the American stage comedy Father’s Day. In the 1980s Stuart toured as the Narrator in the highly successful Rocky Horror Show.

1982 saw the production of Noises Off and this too, with Stuart in the lead, had a very successful national tour. In 1983 he played the lead in Blithe Spirit at Marian Street Theatre in Sydney and then went on to host the Midday Movie and Friday Night Movies on the Seven Network for two years.

Guest roles in television continued throughout in such shows as G.P, Rafferty’s Rules, A Country Practice, All Saints and others. Stuart appeared often on Midday and Good Morning Australia.

More recently, Stuart appeared in the role of Old Cookson in the spectacular theatrical production of Pan at the Capitol Theatre, as well as taking on the role of Mr Brownlow in Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Oliver!

Stuart Wagstaff actively supported many charities, most notably Varity and the Actors benevolent Fund. Stuart was created a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) on the 26th January 1998 in recognition of this service to the community.

Members of the Australian arts community and wider public took to social media this week to honour Stuart Wagstaff and his life’s work.



Erin James

Erin James is AussieTheatre.com's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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