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(October 1997) Ranked #10 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.
He was the first movie star to enter the service for World War II, joining a year before Pearl Harbor was bombed. He was initially refused entry into the Air Force because he weighed 5 pounds less that the required 148 pounds, but he talked the recruitment officer into ignoring the test. He eventually became a Colonel, and earned the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Croix de Guerre and 7 battle stars. In 1959, served in the Air Force Reserve, he became a brigadier general.
Stewart and his wife have twin daughters - Judy and Kelly.
The James Stewart Museum was dedicated in Indiana, PA on 20 May 1995
(1980) American Film Institute Life Achievement Award
Attended Princeton University. Graduated in 1932.
When James Stewart won the Best Actor Oscar in 1940, he sent it to his father in Indiana, Pennsylvania, who set it in his hardware shop. The trophy remained there for 25 years.
The spelling of the word "Philadelphia" on the Oscar that Jimmy received in 1941 for "The Philadelphia Story, " is mispelled. Ironically, the Oscar was kept in the window of Jimmy's father's hardware store located on Philadelphia Street in Indiana, Pennsylvania.
Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, USA, in the Wee Kirk O' the Heathers Churchyard , on the left side, up the huge slope, to the left of the Taylor Monument, space 2, lot 8.
(September 1999) James was named Best Classic Actor of the 20th Century in an Entertainment Weekly on-line poll.
Studied architecture at Princeton.
Is the highest ranking actor in military history.
Never took an acting lesson, and felt that people could learn more when actually working rather than studying the craft.
Was good friends with Henry Fonda.
His son died while serving in the Vietnam War.
When he left to serve in WWII, his father gave him a letter which he kept in his pocket everyday until the war ended.
Played the Accordian.
Achieved the highest rank in Boy Scouting, Eagle Scout, while in his youth in Indiana, Pennsylvania.
Appeared on Password in 1964 with his wife Gloria and their twin daughters.
Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:
One of America's most beloved actors, Stewart today is less movie star than cultural icon, a gracefully aged embodiment of values and traditions our nation holds dear, as we are continually reminded by endless broadcasts of his best-remembered film, It's a Wonderful Life The tall, gangly, soft-spoken youth who endeared himself to moviegoers by virtue of his appealing diffidence, boyish earnestness, and innate kindness is the Stewart most film lovers cherish, although he certainly proved that he was much more, especially in his films of the 1950s and 1960s.
In his youth Stewart aspired to be an architect, and he applied himself to that goal during his stay at Princeton, but in 1932 fellow classmate Joshua Logan convinced him to join the newly formed University Players group in Massachusetts, where he first met Henry Fonda (who was to become a lifelong friend) and Margaret Sullavan, among others. Stewart was already a Broadway veteran when Hollywood beckoned in 1935. He made his film debut in a short subject, Important News and then appeared in his first feature film, The Murder Man later that year (as a reporter named Shorty). Contracted to MGM, he was assigned supporting roles in Wife vs. Secretary, Small Town Girl, The Gorgeous Hussy, Rose Marie and After the Thin Man (all 1936, memorably if unconvincingly cast in the last-named as a maniacal killer!). On loan to Universal, he played the male lead in a glossy soap opera, Next Time We Love (also 1936), opposite old friend Margaret Sullavan, who'd specifically requested him.
Back at his home studio, Stewart finally got a lead in Speed an entertaining but unimportant B, and Born to Dance (both 1936), in which he romanced Eleanor Powell and even warbled (tentatively) Cole Porter's "Easy to Love." From then on, his rise to stardom was steady if not meteoric, helped along by well-received stints in Seventh Heaven (20th CenturyFox's tepid remake of a silent classic), The Last Gangster, Navy Blue and Gold (all 1937), Of Human Hearts, Vivacious Lady (on loan to RKO, opposite Ginger Rogers), The Shopworn Angel (again opposite Sullavan), and You Can't Take It With You (all 1938), that year's Academy Award winner for Best Picture. In the last-named film, third-billed behind Jean Arthur and Lionel Barrymore, Stewart began his fruitful association with director Frank Capra, who saw in Stewart's shy, stammering, sincere screen character the ideal incarnation of his American Everyman.
Capra played on that persona by casting Stewart as the idealistic young senator in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), a box-office blockbuster that earned the actor his first Academy Award nomination. He followed it up that same year with a well-remembered turn as the seemingly gun-shy sheriff in Destry Rides Again (opposite Marlene Dietrich), then the firstrate soaper Made for Each Other (opposite Carole Lombard), the screwball comedy-mystery It's a Wonderful World (opposite Claudette Colbert), and two more collaborations with Margaret Sullavan (1940's The Shop Around the Corner a charming, gentle romance directed by Ernst Lubitsch, and 1940's The Mortal Storm a Frank Borzagedirected drama of Nazi Germany) before winning an Oscar for his surprising portrayal of a fast-talking reporter who falls for Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story (also 1940).
Stewart's next new films-1941's Come Live With Me, Pot o' Gold and Ziegfeld Girl-weren't nearly as impressive as their immediate predecessors, and it's interesting to speculate what might have happened to his career if World War 2 hadn't intervened. Stewart enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a private and worked his way up to colonel, flying in more than 1,000 missions over enemy territory and winning both the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. (Stewart remained in the Air Force Reserves after the war, and had attained the rank of brigadier general by the time he retired in 1968.)
He returned to Hollywood in 1946, teaming up once again with Frank Capra for It's a Wonderful Life As George Bailey, the small-town dreamer who reaches rock bottom-the literal depths of despair-before learning how many lives he's touched, Stewart delivered what may be his best performance, and picked up another Oscar nomination. No longer the gawky, stammering youth, he tried a wide variety of roles over the next several decades, adapting himself to the more naturalistic screen style of the post-WW2 era. He played a crusading reporter in Call Northside 777 an intellectual detective (of sorts) in Rope (both 1948, the latter a fascinating if ultimately unsuccessful thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, who generally used Stewart's talents wisely), a disabled ballplayer in The Stratton Story (1949), and an ex-Cavalry officer in Broken Arrow (1950).
Stewart adopted a lighter, breezier tone for his portrayal of kindly, eccentric Elwood P. Dowd, a man befriended (so he says) by a six-foot-tall white rabbit in Harvey (1950). He'd had plenty of practice in the role, having played it for a brief time on Broadway; he snagged another, much deserved Academy Award nomination for his delightful performance. But then it was on to sterner stuff. The 1950s saw Stewart in several extremely tough Westerns, occasionally showing a harshness hitherto unsuspected by his fans. Winchester '73 and the aforementioned Broken Arrow (both 1950) kicked off the cycle, which really went into high gear when Stewart negotiated an unprecedented contract with Universal that would entitle him to a cut of his films' profits. His most frequent collaborator behind the camera was director Anthony Mann, with whom he did Bend of the River (1952), Thunder Bay (1953), The Naked Spur (also 1953, but made for MGM; probably the best of the bunch), The Far Country (1955), and The Man From Laramie (also 1955, for Columbia).
Stewart didn't confine his efforts to Westerns in this decade. He had a memorable role as a mercy-killing doctor who hides with a circus in Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth (1952, his face always hidden beneath clown makeup), and worked for Hitchcock in three of the director's best 1950s films: Rear Window (1954, playing a wheelchair- bound voyeur who spots a murder through the window of an adjoining building), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956, as the husband of Doris Day in this updated remake of Hitch's 1934 thriller), and, perhaps best of all, Vertigo (1958, giving an edgy performance as a fearful detective obsessed by two Kim Novaks). He also played the famous swing-era bandleader in The Glenn Miller Story (1954), and finished out the decade with a masterful turn as a cagey country lawyer for the defense in a sensational trial in Anatomy of a Murder (1959), a characterization for which he was again Oscar-nominated.
Stewart made the best of his starring roles in two John Ford Westerns, Two Rode Together (1961, as a cynical lawman) and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962, as a tenderfoot lawyer aided by gunman John Wayne), but increasingly, as the 1960s progressed, he fell back on his well-established persona to carry him through uninspired, undistinguished films such as Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962), Take Her, She's Mine (1963), Cheyenne Autumn (1964, one of Ford's more uneven films, an overlong, episodic drama with Stewart superfluous as Wyatt Earp), Shenandoah (1965), The Rare Breed (1966), Firecreek (1968), Bandolero! (1968), and, in the 1970s, The Cheyenne Social Club (1970), Fools' Parade (1971), Airport '77 (1977), The Big Sleep and The Magic of Lassie (both 1978). Two meritorious exceptions: Flight of the Phoenix (1966), which starred him as a pilot struggling to save his passengers after a crash in the Arabian desert, and The Shootist (1976), which gave him a small but juicy supporting role as the doctor who tells aging gunfighter John Wayne that he's terminally ill.
Active in radio (with a fine 1950s series, "The Six Shooter," to his credit), Stewart was a longtime TV holdout, though he did appear in a 1962 episode of the "Alcoa Premiere" anthology series, "Flashing Spikes," directed by John Ford. His attempts to find a suitable starring TV series in the 1970s were ill-fated however; neither "The Jimmy Stewart Show" (1971-72) nor "Hawkins (on Murder)" (1973-74) lasted very long. In 1983 he costarred with Bette Davis in a mediocre made-for-cable movie, Right of Way Since then he has appeared in several Hollywood-themed documentaries, done considerable voiceover work (including a delightful turn as Wylie Burp, an aged sheriff, in the 1991 animated film An American Tail: Fievel Goes West become a favorite talk-show guest on TV, and authored a bestselling collection of poems.