Rose Theatre

Stewart Stern (1922 - 2015)

I was hoping that I would never write these words, but my friend Stewart Stern passed away last week. I met Stewart in 2002 when I invited him to the Rose to celebrate the theatre's tenth anniversary. Stewart was a highly regarded screenwriter who had moved from Los Angeles to Seattle with his wife Merilee, but getting in touch with him proved rather elusive. I mentioned my frustration to a friend of mine - a Port Townsend screenwriter - and he said, "Oh, I know Stewart. Would you like me to call him for you?"

Past Rocky's Reviews

Writers, 12/6/18

Widows, 11/29/18

Hate / Heal, 11/4/18

Free Solo, 10/25/18

Wife / Colette, 10/13/18

A Star is Born, 10/4/18

Gilda & Co., 9/25/18

Sweet Spot, 9/12/18

Programming Movies, 8/30/18

Spike Lee, 8/16/18

Marc Forster, 8/2/18

New York, 7/26/18

Fathers & Daughters, 7/15/18

Fred, 7/7/18

Rider / Rogers, 6/27/18

Write with Light, 6/15/18

The Two Rachels, 6/6/18

Disobedience, 5/31/18

RBG, 5/16/18

Tully & Giselle, 5/4/18

Senior Superheroes, 4/28/18

Northwest Stories, 4/19/18

Woof!, 4/14/18

Sonia & Andy, 4/5/18

Comedy! Comedy! Comedy!, 3/29/18

Stormy Weather, 3/14/18

Allison Janney, 3/2/18

Oscar Week, 2/22/18

Sam Shepard, 2/9/18

Hedy Lamarr, 1/31/18

Best Parent, 1/27/18

The Shape of Water, 1/10/18

Rosamond Purcell, 1/6/18

Goldsworthy & Oldman, 12/28/17

Frances McDormand, 12/24/17

Star Wars and Lady Bird, 12/13/17

Paris Pilgrimage, 11/28/17

Greta Gerwig, 11/22/17

Refrigerators, 11/16/17

Herb & Dorothy and more, 11/13/17

Remarkable Individuals, 11/1/17

Loving Vincent, 10/26/17

Royalty Rules, 10/13/17

Battle of the Sexes, 9/28/17

Greetings From Telluride, 9/10/17

Wind River & Spain, 8/31/17

Columbus, 8/25/17

Women & Film, 8/10/17

Inconvenient Sequel, 8/6/17

Mother & Daughter, 7/14/17

25th Anniversary, 6/27/17

Wonder Woman, 6/3/17

Laura, Chuck & Norman, 5/20/17

Happy Trails, Renée, 5/13/17

A Swan Lake, 5/3/17

Swiss Cows, 4/25/17

Dance on Camera - Day 2, 4/23/17

Zucchini, 4/6/17

Robert Osborne, 3/7/17

Poetry, 2/24/17

Amadeus, 2/2/17

POP QUIZ!, 1/21/17

I Am Not Your Negro, 1/12/17

Tangoheart, 1/5/17

Star-struck, 12/21/16

From the Balcony, 11/17/16

Mahler & Mom, 11/12/16

Alvin Ailey, 11/3/16

Community Arts Film Series, 9/29/16

17th Port Townsend Film Festival, 9/23/16

Off to Telluride, 8/31/16

PTFF Essay, 8/23/16

Wild Flowers, 8/2/16

Music Movies, 7/22/16

Summer Movies, 7/13/16

It’s Our Anniversary, 7/9/16

This Week, 6/30/16

Summer’s Greetings, 6/22/16

Love is in the air!, 6/17/16

5 New Movies, 6/8/16

Food Movies, 6/1/16

Tim Burton and more!, 5/28/16

This Week’s Great Films, 5/18/16

Steampunk Animation, Walken, Berlin Phil and more., 5/11/16

The King and I, My Golden Days and more., 5/4/16

This Week, 4/27/16

Spring Has Sprung!, 4/20/16

Spring Salutations, 4/14/16

This Week, 4/8/16

This Week, 3/30/16

J.J. Abrams, Sally Field and more., 3/23/16

New movies!, 3/18/16

A Week of Incredible International Cinema, 3/9/16

Michael Moore, Mustang, Maggie Smith and more, 3/1/16

Kaufman, Bergman, Moore and more., 2/24/16

7 Days of Oscar, 45 Years, Macbeth and more., 2/17/16

45 Years, Coen Brothers, Les Liasons Dangereuses and more, 2/10/16

Special Member Event + 6 New Movies!, 2/2/16

Elvis, Held-Over movies, Laurie Anderson, 1/26/16

This Week, 1/20/16

After a screening of one of Stewart's most celebrated works - Rebel Without a Cause, starring James Dean - we had an hour-long Q&A in which Stewart regaled Port Townsend with his wonderful stories about meeting and working with James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Dennis Hopper and Nicholas Ray.  What impressed me so much about Stewart was his gentleness, his generosity and his passion for movies. Whenever we'd talked after that day at the Rose, he'd always ask me if I had seen any good movies lately.  And he could never stop thanking me for introducing him to Forever, a French documentary about art and death.

The event at the Rose that afternoon officially came to an end, but unofficially it continued for another hour. Stewart so endeared himself to that audience, that numerous people crowded around the stage afterwards and continued to ask him questions.  That afternoon was the first of several visits he paid to the Rose, each one as memorable as the first.

It was an honor to have Stewart as a friend, and so in a small way I decided to thank him for the friendship and for all the great stories that he shared at the Rose.  In 2012 when I was raising money to convert the Rose to digital projection, I bought a chair plaque in his name in the auditorium.  Typical of this quiet, gentle man, when I told him about it, he blushed.

New York Times obituary

See you at Rose, and the Starlight Room.