Although some critics have said my best "acting" was impersonating a pro hockey player and then a ref, I have made several cameos in motion pictures.
In 1977, I was in "Slap Shot" as the yellow helmet-wearing Long Island Ducks defenseman battling behind the net while Paul Newman's Reggie character colorfully taunts our goalie, Hanrahan, about his wife's, umm, lifestyle preferences. Finally, the goalie snaps and the Chiefs score a goal into the now-vacant net just before a brawl erupts. The funniest thing I remember about the scene is that the actor who played Hanrahan (Christopher Murney) was too short to actually jump into the bench to go after Newman's character, so they gave him an off-camera ramp to make it much easier.
My other memories are of receiving a $500 check (long, long gone) and autographed copy of the script from Paul Newman (which I still have). Newman hung out off-set with us players to get a sense of what we were like (bat guano crazy). In terms of my on-screen time, it's roughly one second in the background of two shots focused on an increasingly angry Hanrahan.
Years later, I had the opportunity to be in two non-hockey movies. In 1983, I played a Secret Service agent in "Kennedy," starring Martin Sheen. In 2003, I portrayed a U.S. solider killed by machine gun fire on the final day of battle in World War II for the movie "Letters from the Dead." (side note: I posted a shot from the set of "Letters" in the photo section of my autobiography, "Ya Wanna Go?" and also on my Twitter page).
Most recently, I was invited by producer Howard Baldwin, a longtime close friend of mine, to play a cameo role in the upcoming hockey movie release, "Odd Man Rush", starring Jack Mulhern, Dylan Playfair, Elektra Jansson Kilbey and Trevor Gretzky. Mario Lemieux's daughter, Alexa, also has a small role. The movie is based on Bill Keenan's autobiography about the travels of a Harvard hockey player to playing minor league hockey in Europe after his graduation.
Originally, I was asked to play a referee in the movie. I refused, due to fears of typecasting. I asked instead to play an import enforcer in Swedish Division 1 hockey, only to be told that I was too old to be convincing as a still-active player and there were no such players in the league.
Yes, I'm just kidding; on both fronts.
I was asked to portray a referee but, sadly, my bad knees no longer enable me to skate for any prolonged period of time. Graciously, the producers offered me an alternative role; a Harvard assistant coach. So this old Groton kid and Penn Quaker got into Harvard after all. I gladly accepted the opportunity.
When you see the movie, look fast or you might miss me. Again, I jest. Actually, I am in one entire scene, unlike Slap Shot, which truly was a "don't blink" kind of cameo.
Paul Stewart: "Odd Man Rush: I Finally Got into Harvard"
A 2018 inductee into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, Paul Stewart holds the distinction of being the first U.S.-born citizen to make it to the NHL as both a player and referee. On March 15, 2003, he became the first American-born referee to officiate in 1,000 NHL games.