66 (passed away Mar. 8th, 1994)
Feb. 26th, 1928
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
John Ewart's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Veteran Australian actor John Ewart's career got off to a promising start when he played 'Dopey' in a 3XY radio production of 'Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs'. John was aged four. Numerous radio shows and theatre productions later at the age of 18 he so impressed legendary film maker Charles Chauval that he was signed to make his film debut playing the coveted leading role of the youngest son in Sons of Matthew (1949). When television came to Australia in 1956, John began a live children's show with Channel 2 Sydney in the first week of the stations inception. John was the host of the show which ran for eight years.
He also appeared on variety shows including "The Barry Crocker Show" (1966), panel games and quizzes. Interspersed throughout his prolific film and television career was a great success on stage. He performed in countless productions for the Melbourne Theatre Company, the Sydney Theatre Company, The Old Tote, The Independent Theatre, Phillip Street Theatre, The Metropolitan Theatre and The Comedy Theatre Restaurant. Some of these productions included 'A Cup of Tea, a Bex and a Good Lie Down', 'Entertaining Mr. Sloane', 'Don's Party', 'Behind the Curtain' and 'Tribute'.
In 1975 he featured in "The Last of the Australians" (1975) - Crawford Productions first sitcom and the first Australian sitcom to be filmed before a live studio audience. Though John performed at some point in most television shows made in Australia, he desperately wanted to achieve movie success. He made more than 30 films - more than Errol Flynn and most of the star names who were, at the time, getting most of the limelight.
In 1982 John celebrated the anniversary of his 50 years as an actor at the Hilton's Cliveden Room in the company of friends, including British actor Robin Nedwell and a stellar group of Australian film and television friends. At the time he was famous for an on-going role in "The Restless Years" (1977). He said on the night he had done everything except circus.
In 1983 John starred in the Australian Christmas time favourite film Bush Christmas (1983) alongside a young Nicole Kidman in her first feature role and 'John Howard' . However, the film he always remained most proud of was The Picture Show Man (1977) in which he co-starred alongside his friend the late John Meillon, Rod Taylor (I) and Judy Morris (I). John won the 1977 Australian Film Institute Award for best supporting actor for his performance in. He hoped this film would be a launching pad to an international career so he went and tried his luck in Hollywood. He returned disappointed but not disillusioned by the industry and over the next 3 years made a succession of 8 movies, including the critically acclaimed Newsfront (1978), as well as countless appearances on TV.
In 1978 while starring in the television series "The Truckies" (1978), John was rushed to the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney with a serious case of Hepatitis. Doctors gave him a 50% chance of surviving. He lost 2 stone through the illness but was back on his feet within a month. Because of the damage to his liver, John was forced to give up his drinking.
In 1991 at the age of 62, he was diagnosed with throat cancer. In an interview with TV Week shortly after major surgery, he said he coped with cancer by laughing a lot. In the last weeks of his life, doctors insisted he leave his Sydney home and return to hospital. With doctors warning he had only hours to live, a marriage celebrant was arranged and he married his long time love Jane Fennell. Fennell was famous to a generation of Australian children as Miss Jane in the children's show "Mr. Squiggle and Friends" (1959). Her father, veteran actor Willie Fennell, was John's long time closest friend. She had known John since she was 15 and he became a close confidant after she was seriously injured in a career destroying car accident which caused severe facial injuries. Surgery eventually repaired most of the damage but she never returned to the industry.
Following John's death Australian actor 'Charles 'Bud Tingwell made a financial gift to John's former school in Melbourne - Scotch College, to honour John and his contribution to the entertainment industry. John is survived by 4 children and 4 grandchildren.
- Son John Jnr. was best man when he married his second wife Trish De Heer on Christmas Eve 1979 at the Wayside chapel in Sydney's Kings Cross. Actress Lynda Stoner was matron of honor.
- John became involved in Operation Newsreel - a joint project between News Corporation, Greater Union and The National Film and Sound Archive aimed at protecting and prexerving Australia's stock of antique newsreels. John gave publicity to the project and celebrated the launch of the project with a hot air balloon ride over Canberra.
- Died aged 66 from lung cancer at Sydney's Grenwich Hospital
- Made his theatre debut aged 5
- Made his debut aged 4 in a radio production of Snow White
- Attended Melbourne's Scotch College
- John's final role was in the acclaimed movie _Tracks of Glory'(1991) (mini)_ - the true story of a black American cyclist living in Australia who overcomes prejudice and corruption to become a world champion.
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