Stuart Wagstaff 13.2.1925 – 10.3.2015
Born in Wiltshire, England, Stuart Wagstaff had an early interest in theatre having been taken with his sisters to see plays and pantomimes. He went on to work in all genres of the industry – television, theatre, music and stage management.
After serving in the Royal Navy from 1940, when the war ended he joined the Windsor Repertory as Assistant Stage Manager, occasionally taking small parts in plays. This was followed by a few West End and film and television appearances.
He first came to Australia in 1948 to appear in Not In The Book before Williamsons cast him as understudy to Robin Bailey as Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady, opening at HMT in 1959. He was with “MFL” for four and a half years, during which time he took over the role full time. He was undoubtedly Australia’s favourite Professor Higgins.
Stuart starred in many more television and stage productions in Australia before spending three years in Hollywood where he worked along Barbra Streisand, among others. But he loved Australia, and continued entertaining – even leaving a posthumous email thanking his friends:
“There won’t be a funeral as I have donated my tired, old body to the University of Sydney. (Hey! I finally got to Uni!!) Thanks and farewell.”
Thank you Stuart – forever etched into the memories of Her Majesty’s Theatre!