Anita Stewart

Anna Stewart
02/7/1895 - 05/4/1962

Born Anna Stewart in Brooklyn, New York on Feb. 7, 1895. Anita Stewart's older sister, Lucille Lee Stewart, and younger brother George were both actors for the Vitagraph Company, and Anna was invited to play supporting roles in a number of Vitagraph films. After a typographical error misnamed her as "Anita," she decided to adopt Anita as her professional name. Stewart became a predominant star for the Vitagraph company with a salary of $127,000 a year. In 1918, she partnered with Louis B. Mayer to form Anita Stewart Productions, where she produced and likely directed (Mayer was thought to be a novice) a number of successful films including "Virtuous Wives" with Hedda Hopper. During this period, Steward, an accomplished pianist, published music in conjunction with the release of her films. Stewart became dissatisfied with Mayer's increasingly more moralistic film choices and decided to leave Anita Stewart Productions in 1922. A year later, she made a film, "The Love Piker," with William Randolph Hearst’s Cosmopolitan Productions, and afterwards made a couple more films, including what she called her favorite, "Never the Twain Shall Meet." After a number of years in lower budget productions, Stewart retired from film and, for a good bit of the 1930s, she performed as a vaudeville singer. In 1935, Anita published a mystery novel, "The Devil's Toy." Stewart died of a heart attack on May 4, 1961.

Gender: 
Female
Cultural Identity: 
Alternate Name: 
Notable Roles: 
Headlining vaudeville bill in "Oh, Teacher"
Appeared in stage acts supporting film "The Canary Murder Case"
Sources: 
Flom, Eric L. Silent Film on the Stages of Seattle: A History of Performances by Hollywood Notables. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009. Print. ANITA STEWART, SILENT-FILM STAR. (1961, May 05). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/115252132?accountid=14784 Neely, Hugh. "Anita Stewart." In Jane Gaines, Radha Vatsal, and Monica Dall’Asta, eds. Women Film Pioneers Project. Center for Digital Research and Scholarship. New York, NY: Columbia University Libraries, 2013. Web. September 27, 2013. <https://wfpp.cdrs.columbia.edu/pioneer/ccp-anita-stewart/>