Tonea Stewart was born in Greenwood, Mississippi. She graduated from Jackson State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Speech and Theatre. She later earned a Masters Degree in Theater Arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara and earned her Doctorate in Theater Arts from Florida State University, the first African American woman to earn this honor. In 1995 she was inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall Of Fame. She also earned the first McKnight Doctoral Fellow in Theatre Arts.

In 1969 Tonea became the first African American to star or direct in a play at New Stage Theater, Mississippi's most prestigious equity theater. Tonea's stage credits include the touring productions of "A Member of The Wedding" and "A Raisin In The Sun."

Tonea's tv guest appearances include "Matlock," "Walker, Texas Ranger," "ER" and "Touched By An Angel" but she's best known for her role as Aunt Etta Kibbey in the highly acclaimed tv series "In The Heat Of The Night."

Tonea's film credits include "Mississippi Burning," "Livin' Large" and "A Time To Kill" for which she received a NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Tonea is currently a tenured Professor and Director of Theatre Arts at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama. She's married to Dr. Allan Stewart and they have 4 children including an adopted goddaughter.

Tonea's film credits include the following:

Check out the following sites for additional information about Tonea:

Tonea Stewart@Internet Movie Database
Tonea Stewart@Wikipedia