Jay Stewart (Jay Stewart Fix)

Jay Stewart

Jay Stewart was perhaps best known for his work on Let’s Make a Deal and in the 1980s on Sale of the Century. Let’s Make a Deal host Monty Hall called Stewart “the best second banana you ever found in your life” and said that “it was a very, very good feeling between us.” On Let’s Make a Deal Stewart participated onstage as well as announcing, often seen modeling the show’s “zonk” prizes (a practice also used by current announcer Jonathan Mangum). Stewart was also the primary announcer for all Barry & Enright game shows from 1977 until 1981, including The Joker’s Wild, Tic-Tac-Dough, and Bullseye. Stewart was even the announcer in the trailers and TV spots for the company’s controversial 1981 sex comedy Private Lessons. Charlie O’Donnell took over the role on the Barry-Enright shows starting in the 1981–82 season, when Stewart left due to his daughter’s suicide. In 1981, Jay was selected by Mark Goodson to announce approximately four to six weeks worth of episodes on Card Sharks, pairing him with future Sale of the Century host Jim Perry. It was Stewart’s only announcing assignment for Mark Goodson Productions, occurring while he was still employed with Barry & Enright. Both Stewart and Johnny Olson were brought in to substitute for regular announcer Gene Wood, who was recovering from a serious automobile accident. Besides his duties on the NBC and syndicated versions of $ale of the Century, Jay Stewart announced the first year of Scrabble before being replaced by Charlie Tuna in 1985. A year later, in 1986, he made a cameo appearance on the series finale of The All-New Let’s Make a Deal alongside original LMaD prize model Carol Merrill; Stewart’s appearance, like many of his on-screen appearances on the original series, was modeling a zonk a player had just won (although that time, he wore a business suit rather than a zonk-related costume as he did on the original series). In addition, between his stints with Barry & Enright and Reg Grundy Productions, Stewart was the voice-over for National Enquirer commercials, which he continued to do until around 1986.

Jay Stewart left Sale of the Century in 1988. His final announcing position was on Blackout shortly after his departure from Sale, where he filled in for an ill Johnny Gilbert as the show’s announcer for its final two weeks. In late 1981, Stewart’s daughter Jamie committed suicide. During this time, he took a year-and-a-half respite from announcing and found religion, appearing on The 700 Club to proclaim his newfound faith, which led to him doing voiceover promos for host Pat Robertson’s CBN Cable (now Freeform (TV channel)). He returned to the game show arena in 1983 as the announcer of Sale of the Century, which he held for five years. Stewart also co-hosted with Jim Perry for a week around late 1983, when then-hostess Lee Menning was on maternity leave, and participated in several Instant Bargains during the course of his tenure on Sale. That same year, Stewart announced for a pilot of the revival of Jeopardy! hosted by Alex Trebek, but the job eventually went to Johnny Gilbert, who announced for a later pilot and all subsequent episodes. Jay Stewart could not overcome the pain of his daughter’s death and turned to alcohol, which ultimately led to his departure from $ale of the Century in January 1988. During this time, he moved into the managerial field; one of his clients was Harry Stevens, who announced the syndicated version of Finders Keepers and the 1989 version of Pictionary. On September 17, 1989, Jay Stewart committed suicide by shooting himself, 11 days after his 71st birthday. He died in the carport of his home, the result of severe depression; he had also suffered from chronic, intractable back pain for years, reportedly due to frequent heavy lifting during his work on Let’s Make a Deal (Stewart had to carry prize display tables to and from the audience area whenever a game on Let’s Make a Deal called for them; he would bring out the prizes, announce them, then take them back offstage when done).

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Born

  • September, 06, 1918
  • USA
  • Summitville, Indiana

Died

  • September, 17, 1989
  • USA
  • Los Angeles, California

Cause of Death

  • suicide by gunshot

Cemetery

  • Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
  • Los Angeles, California
  • USA

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