170 Facts About James Stewart


James Maitland "Jimmy" Stewart was an American actor.


James Stewart received numerous honors including the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 1968, the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1980, the Kennedy Center Honor in 1983, as well as the Academy Honorary Award and Presidential Medal of Freedom, both in 1985.


James Stewart landed his first supporting role in The Murder Man and had his breakthrough in Frank Capra's ensemble comedy You Can't Take It with You.


James Stewart starred in The Greatest Show on Earth, The Spirit of St Louis, The Flight of the Phoenix as well as the Western films How the West Was Won, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and Cheyenne Autumn.


James Stewart appeared in many popular family comedies during the 1960s.


James Stewart remained unmarried until his 40s and was dubbed "The Great American Bachelor" by the press.


The marriage lasted until McLean's death in 1994; James Stewart died of a pulmonary embolism three years later.


James Maitland Stewart was born on May 20,1908, in Indiana, Pennsylvania, the eldest child and only son born to Elizabeth Ruth and Alexander Maitland Stewart.


James Stewart had two younger sisters, Mary and Virginia.


The James Stewart family had lived in Pennsylvania for many generations.


James Stewart's mother was a pianist, and music was an important part of family life.


James Stewart learned to play the instrument with the help of a local barber.


James Stewart's accordion became a fixture offstage during his acting career.


James Stewart attended the Wilson Model School for primary school and junior high school.


James Stewart was not a gifted student and received average to low grades.


James Stewart began attending Mercersburg Academy prep school in the fall of 1923, because his father did not believe he would be accepted into Princeton if he attended public high school.


At Mercersburg, James Stewart participated in a variety of extracurricular activities.


James Stewart was a member of the track team, the art editor of the school yearbook, a member of the glee club, and a member of the John Marshall Literary Society.


James Stewart made his first onstage appearance at Mercersburg, as Buquet in the play The Wolves in 1928.


James Stewart remained passionate about aviation, with his interest enhanced by Charles Lindbergh's first solo transatlantic flight, but abandoned visions of becoming a pilot when his father steered him towards Princeton.


James Stewart enrolled at Princeton in 1928 as a member of the class of 1932, majoring in architecture and becoming a member of the Princeton Charter Club.


James Stewart excelled academically but became attracted to the school's drama and music clubs, including the Princeton Triangle Club.


James Stewart performed in bit parts in the University Players' productions in Cape Cod during the summer of 1932.


James Stewart was convinced to continue acting when he was cast in the lead role of Yellow Jack, playing a soldier who becomes the subject of a yellow fever experiment.


James Stewart's first Hollywood role was a minor appearance in the Spencer Tracy vehicle The Murder Man.


James Stewart's performance was largely ignored by critics, although the New York Herald Tribune, remembering him in Yellow Jack, called him "wasted in a bit that he handles with characteristically engaging skill".


James Stewart had only a small role in his second MGM film, the hit musical Rose Marie, but it led to his casting in seven other films within one year, from Next Time We Love to After the Thin Man.


James Stewart received crucial help from his University Players friend Margaret Sullavan, who campaigned for him to be her leading man in the Universal romantic comedy Next Time We Love, filmed right after Rose Marie.


James Stewart followed Next Time We Love with supporting roles in two commercially successful romantic comedies, Wife vs Secretary with Clark Gable and Myrna Loy and Small Town Girl.


James Stewart had only a bit part in The Gorgeous Hussy, but a starring role in the musical Born to Dance with Eleanor Powell.


James Stewart and co-star Simone Simon were miscast, and the film was a critical and commercial failure.


The New York Times wrote "the ending leaves us with the conviction that James Stewart is a sincere and likable triple-threat man in the [MGM] backfield" and Variety called his performance "fine".


The production was shut down for months in 1937 as James Stewart recovered from an undisclosed illness, during which he was hospitalized.


James Stewart was recast in Vivacious Lady at Rogers' insistence and due to his performance in Of Human Hearts.


James Stewart became a major star when he was loaned out to Columbia Pictures to play the lead role in Frank Capra's You Can't Take It With You opposite Jean Arthur.


James Stewart played the son of a banker who falls in love with a woman from a poor and eccentric family.


James Stewart had been impressed by Stewart's role in Navy Blue and Gold.


James Stewart blamed its directing and screenwriting for its poor box-office performance.


James Stewart won the New York Film Critics Circle award and received his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.


Ten days after filming The Mortal Storm, James Stewart began filming No Time for Comedy with Rosalind Russell.


James Stewart himself assessed his performance in Mr Smith to be superior and believed the Academy was recompensing for not giving him the award the year prior.


James Stewart gave the Oscar to his father, who displayed it at his hardware store alongside other family awards and military medals.


James Stewart considered the latter to be the worst film of his career.


James Stewart became the first major American movie star to enlist in the United States Army to fight in World War II.


James Stewart received his commission as a second lieutenant on January 1,1942.


James Stewart appeared in a First Motion Picture Unit short film, Winning Your Wings, to help recruit airmen.


James Stewart was concerned that his celebrity status would relegate him to duties behind the lines.


James Stewart was based initially at RAF Tibenham, before moving to RAF Old Buckenham.


James Stewart was promoted to major following a mission to Ludwigshafen, Germany, on January 7,1944.


James Stewart was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions as deputy commander of the 2nd Bombardment Wing, the French Croix de Guerre with palm, and the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters.


James Stewart was promoted to full colonel on March 29,1945, becoming one of the few Americans to ever rise from private to colonel in only four years.


At the beginning of June 1945, James Stewart was the presiding officer of the court martial of a pilot and navigator who accidentally bombed Zurich, Switzerland.


James Stewart returned to the United States in early fall 1945.


James Stewart continued to play a role in reserve of the Army Air Forces after the war and was one of the 12 founders of the Air Force Association in October 1945.


James Stewart was first nominated for promotion to brigadier general in February 1957; however, his promotion was initially opposed by Senator Margaret Chase Smith.


James Stewart served for 27 years, officially retiring from the Air Force on May 31,1968, when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 60.


James Stewart rarely spoke about his wartime service but did appear in an episode of the British television documentary series The World at War, commenting on the disastrous 1943 mission against Schweinfurt, Germany.


James Stewart decided to not renew his MGM contract and instead signed a deal with MCA.


James Stewart later stated that he was given a new beginning by Frank Capra, who asked him to star in It's a Wonderful Life, the first postwar film for both of them.


James Stewart played George Bailey, an upstanding small-town man who becomes increasingly frustrated by his ordinary existence and financial troubles.


Andrew Sarris stated that James Stewart's performance was underappreciated by critics of the time, who could not see "the force and fury" of it, and considered his proposal scene with Donna Reed, "one of the most sublimely histrionic expressions of passion".


James Stewart later named the film his personal favorite out of his filmography.


James Stewart returned to making radio dramas in 1946; he continued this work between films until the mid-1950s.


James Stewart made a comeback on Broadway to star in Mary Coyle Chase's Harvey in July 1947, replacing the original star Frank Fay for the duration of his vacation.


Rope, in which James Stewart played the idolized teacher of two young men who commit murder to show their supposed superiority, began his collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock.


The first of these was the Universal production Winchester '73, which James Stewart agreed to do in exchange for being cast in a screen adaptation of Harvey.


James Stewart was granted authority to collaborate with the studio on casting and hiring decisions.


James Stewart ended up earning about $600,000 for Winchester '73, significantly more than his usual fee, and other stars quickly capitalized on this new way of doing business, which further undermined the decaying studio system.


James Stewart chose Mann to direct, and the film gave him the idea of redefining his screen persona through the Western genre.


James Stewart starred in another successful Western that summer, Broken Arrow, which featured him as an ex-soldier and Native American agent making peace with the Apache.


James Stewart's third film release of 1950 was the comedy The Jackpot; it received critical acclaim and was commercially successful, but was a minor film in his repertoire and has largely been forgotten by contemporary critics and fans.


In December 1950, the screen adaptation of Harvey was released, directed by Henry Koster and with James Stewart reprising his stage role.


James Stewart appeared in only one film released in 1951, playing a scientist in Koster's British production No Highway in the Sky, which was one of the first airplane disaster films ever made.


Critics were curious why James Stewart had taken such a small, out-of-character role; he responded that he was inspired by Lon Chaney's ability to disguise himself while letting his character emerge.


James Stewart followed Bend of the River with four more collaborations with Mann in the next two years.


James Stewart portrayed a photographer, loosely based on Robert Capa, who projects his fantasies and fears onto the people he observes out his apartment window while on hiatus due to a broken leg and comes to believe that he has witnessed a murder.


Limited by his wheelchair, James Stewart had to react to what his character sees with mostly facial responses.


James Stewart continued his successful box-office run with two collaborations with Mann in 1955.


James Stewart took a central role in its development, using his experiences from the air force.


James Stewart ended the year with a starring role in the Western Night Passage, which had originally been slated as his ninth collaboration with Mann.


James Stewart Neilson replaced Mann, and the film opened in 1957 to become a box-office flop.


Hitchcock blamed the film's failure on James Stewart being too old to convincingly be Novak's love interest: he was fifty years old at the time and had begun wearing a silver hairpiece in his movies.


Consequently, Hitchcock cast Cary Grant in his next film, North by Northwest, a role James Stewart wanted; Grant was four years older than James Stewart but photographed much younger.


The film and James Stewart's performance received poor reviews and resulted in a box office failure.


However, according to film scholar David Bingham, by the early 1950s, "James Stewart's personality was so credible and well-established", that his choice of role no longer affected his popularity.


James Stewart ended the decade with Otto Preminger's realistic courtroom drama Anatomy of a Murder and the crime film The FBI Story.


James Stewart received critical acclaim for his role as a small-town lawyer involved in a difficult murder case; Bosley Crowther called it "one of the finest performances of his career".


James Stewart won his first BAFTA, a Volpi Cup, a New York Film Critics Circle Award, and a Producers Guild of America Award, as well as earned his fifth and final Academy Award nomination for his performance.


The latter film, in which James Stewart portrayed a Depression-era FBI agent, was less well received by critics and was commercially unsuccessful.


James Stewart opened the new decade by starring in the war film The Mountain Road.


James Stewart began a new director collaboration with John Ford, making his debut in his films in the Western Two Rode Together, which had thematic echoes of Ford's The Searchers.


James Stewart was considered for the role of Atticus Finch in the 1962 film adaptation of Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird, but he turned it down, concerned that the story was too controversial.


James Stewart was billed above John Wayne in posters and the trailers, but Wayne received top billing in the film itself.


In 1962, James Stewart signed a multi-movie deal with 20th Century Fox.


James Stewart then appeared in John Ford's final Western, Cheyenne Autumn, playing a white-suited Wyatt Earp in a long semi-comedic sequence in the middle of the movie.


In 1965, Stewart was given his first honorary award for his career, the Cecil B DeMille Award.


The Fox family-comedy Dear Brigitte, which featured French actress Brigitte Bardot as the object of James Stewart's son's infatuation, was a box-office failure.


In 1971, James Stewart starred in the NBC sitcom The Jimmy James Stewart Show.


James Stewart played a small-town college professor whose adult son moves back home with his family.


James Stewart disliked the amount of work needed to film the show each week and was relieved when it was canceled after only one season due to bad reviews and lack of audiences.


Robert Greenspun of The New York Times stated that "the movie belongs to James Stewart, who has never been more wonderful".


James Stewart returned to television in Harvey for NBC's Hallmark Hall of Fame series in 1972 and then starred in the CBS mystery series Hawkins in 1973.


James Stewart periodically appeared on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show, sharing poems he had written at different times in his life.


James Stewart's poems were later compiled into a short collection, Jimmy Stewart and James Stewart's Poems.


James Stewart was offered the role of Howard Beale in Network but refused it due to its explicit language.


James Stewart made a memorable cameo appearance on the final episode of The Carol Burnett Show in March 1978, surprising Burnett, a lifelong James Stewart fan.


James Stewart took the role because the film promoted wildlife conservation and allowed his family to travel with him to Kenya.


James Stewart was offered the role of Norman Thayer in On Golden Pond but turned it down because he disliked the film's father-daughter relationship; the role went instead to his friend, Henry Fonda.


James Stewart filmed two television movies in the 1980s: Mr Krueger's Christmas, produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which allowed him to fulfill a lifelong dream to conduct the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and Right of Way, an HBO drama that co-starred Bette Davis.


James Stewart made an appearance in the historical miniseries North and South in 1986 and did voiceover work for commercials for Campbell's Soups in the 1980s and 1990s.


James Stewart remained in the public eye due to his frequent visits to the White House during the Reagan administration.


James Stewart regarded him as a close friend and co-worker, and they never began a romantic relationship, but Stewart felt unrequited romantic love toward her for many years.


Sullavan loved James Stewart but was never interested in him romantically; rather, she felt protective and maternal.


However, the director of The Shopworn Angel, H C Potter suggested they might have married had Stewart been more forthcoming with his feelings.


James Stewart became his acting mentor in Hollywood and according to director Edward H Griffith, "made [him] a star"; they went on to co-star in four films: Next Time You Love, The Shopworn Angel, The Shop Around the Corner and The Mortal Storm.


James Stewart did not marry until his forties, which attracted a significant amount of contemporary media attention; gossip columnist Hedda Hopper called him the "Great American Bachelor".


James Stewart dated Olivia de Havilland in the late 1930s and early 1940s and even proposed marriage to her, but she rejected the proposal, as she believed he was not ready to settle down.


James Stewart ended the relationship shortly before he began his military service, as she had fallen in love with director John Huston.


James Stewart was made brigadier general in the Air Force Reserve in 1959.


James Stewart retired from the service in 1968, at which time he was awarded the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal.


President Reagan recounted at a White House briefing that he was corrected by James Stewart himself after Reagan incorrectly announced he was a major general at a campaign event.


In 1942, while serving in the military, James Stewart met singer Dinah Shore at the Hollywood Canteen, a club mainly for servicemen.


James Stewart had crashed the party and became inebriated, leaving a poor impression of himself with Hatrick.


James Stewart adopted Gloria's two sons, Ronald, and with Gloria he had twin daughters, Judy and Kelly, on May 7,1951.


James Stewart was guarded about his personal life and, according to biographer Scott Eyman, tended in interviews to avoid the emotional connection he was known for in his films, preferring to keep his thoughts and feelings to himself.


James Stewart was known as a loner who did not have intimate relationships with many people.


When James Stewart moved to Hollywood in 1935, he again shared an apartment with Fonda, and the two gained reputations as playboys.


James Stewart served as the national vice-chairman of entertainment for the American Red Cross's fund-raising campaign for wounded soldiers in Vietnam, as well as contributed donations for improvements and restorations to Indiana, his hometown in Pennsylvania.


James Stewart was a lifelong supporter of scouting, having been a Second Class Scout as a youth and being awarded the Silver Buffalo Award for service to youth in 1958.


James Stewart was an adult Scout leader, and in the 1970s and 1980s, he made advertisements for the Boy Scouts of America, which led to his being incorrectly identified as an Eagle Scout.


James Stewart was a Life Member of the Sons of the Revolution in California.


In 1964, James Stewart campaigned for the conservative presidential candidate Barry Goldwater and, according to biographer Marc Eliot, erred on the obsessive prior to the election.


James Stewart was a hawk on the Vietnam War and maintained that his son, Ronald, did not die in vain.


James Stewart actively supported Ronald Reagan's bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 1976.


James Stewart attended Reagan's campaign rallies, in one speech assuring that he was more conservative than ever, regardless of the death of his son in the Vietnam War.


In 1988, James Stewart made a plea in Congressional hearings, along with Burt Lancaster, Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, film director Martin Scorsese, and many others, against Ted Turner's decision to 'colorize' classic black-and-white films, including It's a Wonderful Life.


James Stewart became even more reclusive, spending most of his time in his bedroom, exiting only to eat and visit with his children.


James Stewart shut out most people from his life, not only media and fans, but his co-stars and friends.


James Stewart died of a heart attack caused by the embolism at the age of 89, surrounded by his children at his home in Beverly Hills, on July 2,1997.


James Stewart was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.


James Stewart knew that in conversations people do often interrupt one another and it's not always so easy to get a thought out.


James Stewart was natural and at ease in front of the camera, despite his shy off-screen personality.


In line with his natural and conversational acting style, James Stewart's co-stars found him easy to work with, as he was willing to improvise around any situation that arose while filming.


Later in his career, James Stewart began to resent his reputation of having a "natural" acting technique.


James Stewart asserted that there was not anything natural about standing on a sound stage in front of lights and cameras while acting out a scene.


James Stewart had established early in his career that he was proficient at communicating personality and character nuances through his performances alone.


James Stewart used an "inside-out" acting technique, preferring to represent the character without accents, makeup, and props.


Additionally, he tended to act with his body, not only with his voice and face; for example, in Harvey, James Stewart portrays the main character's age and loneliness by slightly hunching down.


James Stewart was known for his pauses that had the ability to hold the audience's attention.


James Stewart himself claimed to dislike his earlier film performances, saying he was "all hands and feet", adding that he "didn't seem to know what to do with either".


James Stewart mentioned that even though he did not always like his performances, he would not get discouraged.


James Stewart was particularly adept at performing vulnerable scenes with women.


James Stewart showed that his characters needed them as much as their characters needed him.


Eyman suggested that James Stewart could portray several different characters: "the brother, the sweetheart, [and] the nice guy next door with a bias toward doing the right thing: always decent but never a pushover".


James Stewart portrayed this persona most strongly in the 1940s, but maintained a classic everyman persona throughout his career.


However, during his career "James Stewart [encompassed] the furthest extremes of American masculinity, from Reaganite militarist patriotism to Hitchcockian perversity".


James Stewart had difficulty playing famous historical personages because his persona could not accommodate the historical character.


James Stewart played many different types of characters, including manipulative, cynical, obsessive, or crazy characters.


James Stewart found that acting allowed him to express the fear and anxiety that he could not express during the war; his post-war performances were received well by audiences because they could still see the innocent, pre-war James Stewart underneath his dark roles.


James Stewart is remembered for portraying idealist "everyman" characters in his films.


Similarly, film scholar James Naremore has called Stewart "the most successful actor of the 'common man' in the history of movies" and "the most intensely-emotional leading man to emerge from the studio system", who could cry on screen without losing his masculinity.


David Thomson has explained James Stewart's appeal by stating that "we wanted to be him, and we wanted to be liked by him", while Roger Ebert has stated that "whether he played everyman, or everyman's hidden psyche, James Stewart was an innately likable man whose face, loping gait and distinctive drawl became famous all over the world".


James Stewart was one of the most sought-after actors in 1950s Hollywood, proving that independent actors could be successful in the film industry, which led more actors in Hollywood to forego studio contracts.


James Stewart is the most represented leading actor on the "100 Greatest Movies of All Time" list presented by Entertainment Weekly.


James Stewart has several memorials in his childhood hometown, Indiana, Pennsylvania.


On May 20,1995, his 87th birthday, The Jimmy James Stewart Museum was established.


The museum committee insisted that James Stewart had contributed significant donations to the town, but it was done quietly so it was unknown to most residents.


In 1960, James Stewart was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1700 Vine Street for his contributions to the film industry.


James Stewart has been honored with his own postal stamp as part of the "Legends of Hollywood" stamp series.


In 1999, a bust of James Stewart was unveiled at the Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum in Georgia.