Love – Loss — Laughter
I want to Talk about wonderful people, those who continue to share the love … and those that were loved. Some wonderful people arranged an evening at theTelevisionAcademylast week to fulfill a last wish of Bob Stewart. Bob wanted to throw a party. And so he did….
Bob Stewart was a party, a carnival, an event. A living celebration, who was festive, funny, and a generous Happy Maker. And his final party was filled with family, friends, and performers who appeared on his many Quiz Shows. JoAnne Worley, Earl Holliman, Anita Gillette, Vickie Lawrence and Al Schultz, Teresa Ganzel, Ilene Graff, Barbara Feldon, Henry Polic and of course Bob’s dearest pal Betty White.
Prior to the party, those who spoke drew a verbal picture of Bob Stewart’s complete life, from his kick-start in the business from Monty Hall, his great buddy Bill Cullen, and the game shows he created and produced. (To name a few, The Price Is Right and To Tell the Truth, Password, and the Pyramid shows with ever-growing cash prizes.) We learned of a Bomb Scare just before a taping of The Price Is Right, and without telling anyone, he had Don Pardo announce that someone in the audience would be getting a prize and that everyone should stand and look under their seats. Since nobody found anything, Bob figured that there was no bomb.
They also spoke of his devotion, which matched his humor. Bob’s son Sande, also a Producer, guided all with grace and wisdom. He revealed that in a last minute change to his Will, Bob left a sizeable amount of money to Betty White – if, at his death, she was not working. One could not learn enough about Bob.
StudioCity’s Francine Bergman (married to John Goldhammer) was a close friend and she offers this, “On June 18th we spent a magical evening celebrating the life of a man I’d known since I was 21 years old. Friends and associates gathered together at theTelevisionAcademy… an organization that not long ago inducted Bob into their Hall of Fame. Celebrities, friends and family flew in fromNew York,New Orleans,Arizona… all over the country. I felt such an overwhelming sense of pride having been part of Bob’s professional and personal life. We won awards together, we celebrated together … it was much more than a job for me … we were a family; that feeling was shared by all those who for years worked along side Bob and his long time partner, Anne Marie. Bob Stewart will be missed but long remembered for his body of work, his spirit, his love of life and never ending creative drive. He was an inventor, a creator of new ideas, a poet, a man for all seasons and for me, a great mentor and friend.”
My good fortune is to have attended parties with Bob and Ann Marie and to have a peripheral connection to his kindness and wit. His allegiance to Actors and Others for Animals will keep Bob Stewart in our hearts forever. He was on the dais for A&O’s last fundraiser toasting Betty White and his hysterical eloquence brought a standing ovation. His ode to Betty was naturally, a word game, a search for three words to properly honor her. He did six minutes on Betty’s exquisite penmanship and her brilliant spelling and then in a perfect finish, he offered the third word in song with the final refrain of, “you’re much too much, and just so very very, to ever be in Webster’s Dictionary, and so I’m borrowing a love song from the birds — to tell you that your marvelous, too marvelous for words.” Bob Stewart was marvelous and I guarantee you that there was never a funnier tribute.
With respect and admiration, we’ll Talk….