News of the death of Chad Stuart — one half of the British soft-rock ’60s duo Chad & Jeremy — provoked for me yet another memory from the Television Critics Association press tour.
Nearly nine years ago, in January of 2012, me and Bill Harris — another former Toronto Sun scribe — wound up at a table with Chad’s son James Patrick Stewart. It was at one of the gala nights the Hallmark Channel used to host for talent and reporters on the lawn of the stately Tournament of Roses House in Pasadena, Calif.
Now, as you enter these events and you’re actually trying to work, you start scoping out the name tags on the dinner plates to see who you’ll be stuck with for the next three hours. These dinners go long, or used to; the ex-head of Hallmark would yammer on and introduce all 100 stars spread out at various tables in the lavishly-appointed, hanger-sized tent.
I’m not sure about Harris, but I think I chose that table because I was hoping “James Patrick Stewart” was the bald guy from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
So we passed on sitting next to Jane Seymour or Valerie Harper or Dean Cain, Kristy Swanson, Candice Cameron Bure, Joely Fisher, Genie Francis or even show-killer Ted McGinley. We were ready to engage! with Patrick Stewart.
Turned out that James Patrick Stewart was the son of Chad Stuart of Chad & Jeremy. This was way better, because me and the other Bill were probably the only two British Invasion geeks in the room. We were thrilled to engage with a guy with less than six degrees of separation from a Beatle.
Stuart was really there to promote “A Taste of Romance,” a Hallmark movie he had made with Teri Polo. Since it premiered that night, however, there really wasn’t any point in talking about that. It was too late to get it into print. That cleared the deck for dinner and dad talk.
Immediately, me and Harris started hitting James up with Chad & Jeremy questions. I wanted to know about their guest starring stint on The Dick Van Dyke Show. On the 1965 episode “The Redcoats Were Coming,” they played a British pop duo who were sequestered at Rob & Laura’s house in New Rochelle in order to elude their mad teenage fans. This was pre-Monkees, and ’60s sitcoms, usually written by guys who were more into Frank Sinatra, were happy to mock and marginalize what they saw as a passing fad.
Harris quizzed James about the time his dad and his singing partner guest starred on Batman. That led to a great story about the time young James got to go to the Batman set. The youngster met the caped crusader, Adam West, which had to be a thrill. Even more amazing, especially in retrospect, he got to meet Julie Newmar, who was purrfect as Catwoman.
The December, 1966 episode was titled, “The Cat’s Meow.” Catwoman’s big crime that bat-week: silencing Chad & Jeremy. Apparently this didn’t sit well with young James. He marched right up to Newmar and said, “Why did you steal my dad’s voice?”
Stuart went straight on feeding our nerd fix with stories of George Harrison and David Crosby visiting the family home in California in the ’60s and ’70s. That same house was later sold to David Cassidy. Stuart grew up on TV sets, attending tapings of shows like Mork & Mindy and Happy Days.
It helped that we were also sitting with fellow critic Howard Benjamin, who has interviewed a Who’s Who of music superstars over the years, including half the people who ever set foot in Chad Stuart’s house. Stuart kindly indulged us all.
Son of Chad has enjoyed a long acting career, with 155 IMDb credits and counting. The amiable actor broke out on the soap opera All My Children and was in the cast of one of those great Fox sitcoms that should have lasted a lot longer, Andy Richter Controls the Universe. He has made several memorable guest starring appearances on several sitcoms. One as Elaine’s egocentric boyfriend on Seinfeld and another as a gay ski instructor hot for Niles on Frasier. He was also seen in the recurring role as a public defender on CSI.
The 52-year-old can now be seen on General Hospital and has built a steady career doing voice-over work on animated shows, movies and video games — some of them Batman-themed.
Condolences to him and the rest of his family on the passing of Chad Stuart, whose voice will never be silenced. Born David Stuart Chadwick, the singer died at 79 after complications from pneumonia.