James Stewart Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (8)  | Trivia (134)  | Personal Quotes (44)  | Salary (27)

Overview (5)

Born in Indiana, Pennsylvania, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (cardiac arrest and pulmonary embolism following respiratory problems)
Birth NameJames Maitland Stewart
Nickname Jimmy
Height 6' 3" (1.91 m)

Mini Bio (1)

James Maitland Stewart was born on May 20, 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania, to Elizabeth Ruth (Johnson) and Alexander Maitland Stewart, who owned a hardware store. He was of Scottish, Ulster-Scots, and some English, descent. Stewart was educated at a local prep school, Mercersburg Academy, where he was a keen athlete (football and track), musician (singing and accordion playing), and sometime actor.

In 1929, he won a place at Princeton University, where he studied architecture with some success and became further involved with the performing arts as a musician and actor with the University Players. After graduation, engagements with the University Players took him around the northeastern United States, including a run on Broadway in 1932. But work dried up as the Great Depression deepened, and it was not until 1934, when he followed his friend Henry Fonda to Hollywood, that things began to pick up.

After his first screen appearance in Art Trouble (1934), he worked for a time for MGM as a contract player and slowly began making a name for himself in increasingly high-profile roles throughout the rest of the 1930s. His famous collaborations with Frank Capra, in You Can't Take It with You (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), and, after World War II, It's a Wonderful Life (1946) helped to launch his career as a star and to establish his screen persona as the likable "every man".

Having learned to fly in 1935, he was drafted into the United States Army in 1940 as a private (after twice failing the medical for being underweight). During the course of World War II he rose to the rank of colonel, first as an instructor at home in the United States, and later on combat missions in Europe. He remained involved with the United States Air Force Reserve after the war and retired in 1959 as a brigadier general.

Stewart's acting career took off properly after the war. During the course of his long professional life, he had roles in some of Hollywood's best-remembered films, starring in a string of Westerns, bringing his "every man" qualities to movies like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)), biopics (The Stratton Story (1949), The Glenn Miller Story (1954), and The Spirit of St. Louis (1957), for instance, thrillers (most notably his frequent collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock) and even some screwball comedies.

On June 25, 1997, a thrombosis formed in his right leg, leading to a pulmonary embolism, and a week later on July 2, 1997, surrounded by his children, James Stewart died at age 89 at his home in Beverly Hills, California. His last words to his family were, "I'm going to be with Gloria now".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: fmetz

Spouse (1)

Gloria Stewart (9 August 1949 - 16 February 1994) (her death) (2 children)

Trade Mark (8)

Soft-spoken, extremely polite and shy manner, with a very recognizable drawl in his voice.
Often played honest, average middle class individuals who are unwittingly drawn into some kind of crisis.
Roles in westerns
After 1950 he often played tough, cynical and frequently ruthless characters.
Often worked with directors Frank Capra, Anthony Mann, John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock.
His stuttering voice, which has often been parodied to exaggerated effect.
His tall, thin frame.
Dark brown hair and blue eyes

Trivia (134)

In October 1997 he was 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 in World War II, joining a year before Pearl Harbor was bombed. He was initially refused entry into the Air Force because he weighed five pounds less than the required 148 pounds, but he talked the recruitment officer into ignoring the test. He eventually became a colonel (active duty) and then brigadier general in the US Air Force Reserve, and earned the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Croix de Guerre (from France) and seven battle stars. In 1959 he served in the Air Force Reserve, before retiring as a brigadier general (Walter Matthau was a sergeant in his unit).
The James Stewart Museum was dedicated in Indiana, PA, on 5/20/95.
Received his Bachelor of Science degree in architecture from Princeton University in Princeton, NJ, in 1932.
When he won the Best Actor Oscar in 1940, he sent it to his father in Indiana, PA, who set it in his hardware shop. The trophy remained there for 25 years.
The word "Philadelphia" on the Oscar that he received in 1941 for The Philadelphia Story (1940) is misspelled. The Oscar was kept in the window of Jimmy's father's hardware store located on Philadelphia Street in Indiana, PA.
Interred at Forest Lawn Cemeeary, Glendale, CA, in the Wee Kirk O'the Heather Churchyard, on the left side, up the huge slope, to the left of the Taylor Monument, in Space 2, Lot 8.
In September 1999 he was named Best Classic Actor of the 20th Century in an "Entertainment Weekly" on-line poll.
Held the highest active military rank of any actor in history. During World War II he served in the US Army Air Forces, and rose to the rank of colonel. After the war he continued serving in the US Air Force Reserve, ultimately becoming a brigadier general. Ed McMahon was also commissioned as a brigadier general in the California Air National Guard in 1966, and he continued to serve after he began his acting career. Two former actors outranked him: John Ford was an actor before becoming a director, and he became rear admiral in the US Naval Reserve. President Ronald Reagan became the US Commander-in-Chief, but he had made his last theatrical TV appearance in 1965.
Never took an acting lesson, and felt that people could learn more when actually working rather than studying the craft.
When he left to serve in World War II, his father gave him a letter that he kept in his pocket every day until the war ended.
Played the accordion.
Often incorrectly noted as having achieved the highest rank in Boy Scouting--Eagle Scout--while in his youth in Indiana, PA; he was a scout for four years, attaining Second Class. He appeared in a series of award-winning commercials promoting the Boy Scouts, and served as a volunteer with the Orange County and Los Angeles Area Councils. He was awarded the Silver Beaver, the highest adult award.
Was a regular on the "Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts". He was even "roasted" himself once: Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Jimmy Stewart (1978).
Introduced the Cole Porter standard "Easy to Love" in Born to Dance (1936). His undubbed, reedy tenor voice was actually not so bad. He would later say of the experience, "The song had become such a big hit that they felt even my singing couldn't ruin it." He would later sing a few bars of "Over the Rainbow" as part of his Oscar-winning performance in The Philadelphia Story (1940).
Recipient of Kennedy Center Honors in 1983.
Many of his works were donated to Brigham Young University in 1983, including his personal copy of It's a Wonderful Life (1946).
Most of his ancestry was Scots-Irish (Northern Irish) and Scottish, with more distant English and Irish roots. Some of his ancestors were from County Antrim.
In 1972 was Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
While he served as an officer and a pilot in the US Army Air Forces in World War II, one of the sergeants in his unit was Walter Matthau.
Once said the public was his biggest critic, and that if they did not like his performance, then neither did he.
His two natural children, twin daughters Judy Stewart and Kelly Stewart, were born on 5/7/51. His wife, Gloria Stewart (the former Gloria Hatrick McLean), a former model from Larchmont, NY, also brought two sons to the marriage: Ronald and Michael (aged 5 and 2 at the time of the wedding in 1949), whom he adopted. Ronald later died on active service, as a Marine Corps officer on 6/8/69 in Vietnam.
Over 3,000 people, mostly Hollywood celebrities, attended his funeral to pay their respects.
President Harry S. Truman was an admirer of his work, and even commented that if he had a son, he would have wanted him to be "just like Jimmy Stewart".
Despite having been a decorated war hero in World War II, he declined to talk about this, in part because of the traumatic experiences he had in killing others and watching friends die. The roles he chose after returning from the war were generally darker, some say because he was hardened by combat.
A true "regular guy", he genuinely disliked the glamour often basked in by Hollywood stars, avoiding expensive clothes and fancy cars.
He remained faithful to his wife Gloria Stewart throughout their marriage. While this may seem ordinary, it was rare in Hollywood for male stars to stay devoted to their wives, with many of his colleagues, such as Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and his friend Henry Fonda, having had a series of infidelities.
His mother's maiden name was Jackson. Her father, Col. Samuel Jackson, served in the Civil War.
One of the first (if not the first) stars to receive a percentage of the gross of his movies.
His best friend was probably Henry Fonda, whom he met while at acting camp. Early on they got into a fistfight over politics (Stewart was a very conservative Republican, Fonda a very liberal Democrat) that was won by Fonda, but they apparently never discussed politics again. When Fonda moved to Hollywood he lived with Stewart and the two gained a reputation as Hollywood's biggest playboys. However, after each married and settled down, their children noted that their favorite activity when not working seemed to be silently painting model airplanes together.
His hair began receding during World War II. By the early 1950s he was wearing a toupee for all his movie roles, though he often went without it in public. His baldness was made less obvious by his wearing a gray toupee for many of his movie roles.
Was voted the 9th Greatest Movie Star of All Time by "Premiere" magazine.
Ranked #3 on The 50 Greatest Screen Legends Actor list by the American Film Institute.
According to the 3/31/41 issue of "Time" magazine, he was drafted into the Army. Prior to induction, he flew in a private plane to California and the next day braved a large crowd of female admirers to board a Los Angeles trolley car that took him and other draftees off to be inducted for a one-year hitch in the Army. "Time" said that his salary would drop to $21 a month from $6,000 a month.
Accepted his friend Gary Cooper's honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1961, because Cooper was dying of cancer.
Died on 7/2/97, just one day after the death of Robert Mitchum.
While always gracious with his fans, he was always very protective of his privacy. A notable example of this occurred when a nervy family of tourists set up a picnic on his front lawn. Stewart came out of his house and, without uttering a word, turned on the sprinklers.
Hosted the Academy Awards in 1946 (alongside Bob Hope), 1958 (alongside David Niven, Jack Lemmon, Rosalind Russell, Bob Hope and "Donald Duck").
Upon accepting his Honorary Oscar in 1985, he stated, "This was the greatest award I received, to know that, after all these years, I haven't been forgotten." The audience gave him a ten-minute standing ovation, making the show run long. Steven Spielberg, who was in attendance, said that he was humbled to even be in the same room as Stewart, because he respected him so much.
While filming The Big Sleep (1978) in August 1977, he appeared to be much older than his actual age of 69, playing the rich, wheelchair-bound Gen. Sternwood. The fact is that he had a hearing impairment and was having memory problems, which caused him to keep flubbing his lines. It is believed that these health problems brought about his retirement from films shortly afterwards, although he was also concerned with the violence and explicit sexual content of modern films, and he saw no future for himself in the movie business.
Upon his death on 7/2/97, a small group of fans and admirers placed a few items on his Hollywood star, not the least of which was a rather tall (although not six feet tall) plush rabbit wearing overalls, a tribute to one of his most beloved films, Harvey (1950). It was reportedly stolen later in the night.).
Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian award, by his friend President Ronald Reagan at the White House in 1985.
Very much wanted the role of Roger Thornhill in North by Northwest (1959) and he was the original choice for it, but after the financial failure of Vertigo (1958), director Alfred Hitchcock blamed the film's box office woes on Stewart, claiming Stewart looked too old to still attract audiences and cast Cary Grant instead, even though Grant was actually four years older than Stewart. Previously one of the director's favorite collaborators, he and Stewart never worked together again.
Of all his films, he has said that It's a Wonderful Life (1946) was his favorite.
Replaced Cary Grant as Rupert Cadell in Rope (1948). Ironically, Grant replaced him as Roger Thornhill in North by Northwest (1959).
His performance as George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life (1946) is ranked #8 on "Premiere" magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
In 2006 his performance as James "Scottie" Ferguson in Vertigo (1958) is ranked #30 on "Premiere" magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.
His jazz and blues piano-playing skills were showcased in Anatomy of a Murder (1959).
After making The Magic of Lassie (1978), he went into semi-retirement from acting. During the next few years he suffered from many health problems including heart disease, skin cancer, deafness and senility.
His performance as George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life (1946) is ranked #60 on "Premiere" magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Three of his films are on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time, two in the top five. These are: The Spirit of St. Louis (1957) at #69, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) at #5 and It's a Wonderful Life (1946) at #1.
According to the curator of the James Stewart Museum, he was exactly 6' 3" tall. His military physical would have indicated that he was 6' 3", since he was 138 lb., five pounds under the 143 required for his enlistment eligibility. The weight / height requirement for the US Army Air Forces before October 1999 was a 143-pound minimum for a man of 6' 3" in height. By the late 1950s he reported that his weight was up to 160 pounds.
Medals awarded: the Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf cluster, Air Medal with three Oak Leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal, American Defense Service Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three Service Stars, the World War II Victory Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the French Croix de Guerre with Palm, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Never recovered from his wife's death on 2/16/94, and vowed to make no further public appearances after her funeral service. Thereafter, he spent most of his time in his bedroom, coming out only at the insistence of his housekeeper for his meals. Newspaper reports suggested that he had Alzheimer's disease. Over the Christmas holiday season in 1995, he failed to negotiate a rise leading to a dining area and he fell, cracking his head on the bill of a wooden duck that his daughter Judy had given him some years previously. In December 1996, when he was due to have his battery changed in his pacemaker, he told his children that he would rather not have that done. He wanted to let things take their natural course. However, on 1/31/97 he tripped over a potted plant in his bedroom and cut open his forehead. He was taken to St John's Hospital, in Santa Monica, CA, where he was given 12 stitches. A few weeks later he was hospitalized for a blood clot and an irregular heartbeat. He had a blood clot in his right knee, and the swelling soon spread through his entire leg. At 11:05 a.m. on 7/2/97 he died of cardiac arrest at age 89.
Nearly declined to support his friend Ronald Reagan's campaign for the governorship of California in 1966, since Reagan had been a Democrat until 1962. In 1976 Stewart campaigned extensively in California for Reagan in the presidential primaries, especially visiting shopping malls and airports.
Campaigned for Richard Nixon in the 1968 and 1972 Presidential elections.
Fell out with Anthony Mann during the shooting of Night Passage (1957), resulting in Mann being replaced (by James Neilson). A year later Mann shot Man of the West (1958), regarded by many as his greatest western of all and totally suited to Stewart, but with Gary Cooper in the lead role.
His mother, Bessie Stewart, died on 8/2/53, a week after suffering a severe heart attack at age 78.
His father, Alexander Stewart, died of stomach cancer on 12/28/61 at age 89.
During the 1980s he was one of the most prominent critics of the colorization of old movies, even testifying before a Congressional committee about what he called the "denaturing" of It's a Wonderful Life (1946). "If these color-happy folks are so concerned about the audience," he said, "let them put their millions of dollars into new films, or let them remake old stories if they see fit, but let our great film artists and films live in peace. I urge everyone in the creative community to join in our efforts to discourage this terrible process.".
Had a dislike of Hollywood war movies, explaining that they were hardly ever accurate. During his career he only starred in two: Strategic Air Command (1955) and The Mountain Road (1960).
In 1980 he was hospitalized for five days with an irregular heartbeat. Three years later the condition resurfaced and doctors at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica installed a pacemaker.
Agreed to a cameo role in The Shootist (1976) only after John Wayne specifically requested him. His short time on the film proved to be trying. The bad acoustics of the huge, hollow sound stages worsened his hearing difficulties, and he stayed by himself most of the time. He and Wayne muffed their lines so often in the main scene between them that director Don Siegel accused them of not trying hard enough. Wayne's reply was a variation on an old line by John Ford, advising the director that "if you'd like the scene done better, you'd better get a couple of better actors." Later on, the star told friends that Stewart had known his lines, but hadn't been able to hear his cues, and that in turn had caused his own fumbling.
He and Richard Widmark both wore toupees and had hearing problems. On the set of Two Rode Together (1961) director John Ford became frustrated with the two stars being unable to hear his instructions and exclaimed, "Fifty years in this goddamn business, and what do I end up doing? Directing two deaf hairpieces!".
Underwent surgery for skin cancer in 1983.
Considered himself to be miscast in Vertigo (1958) and Bell Book and Candle (1958), and was widely criticized for being too old to play both roles.
Deliberately exaggerated his accent in films after he returned from World War II, because several directors told him he needed to create a persona in order to sell his films to the public, particularly with the rising popularity of television.
Never had any cosmetic surgery, unlike his friends Gary Cooper, Henry Fonda and John Wayne.
In association with politicians and celebrities that included President Ronald Reagan, Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, California Gov. George Deukmejian, Bob Hope and Charlton Heston, Stewart worked from 1987-93 on projects that enhanced the public appreciation and understanding of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Was sometimes amused when critics would always compare him with Henry Fonda, in particular his one marriage versus Fonda's five. Stewart was dismayed that people forgot that he had been romantically linked with numerous actresses before finally marrying at age 41.
Wanted to make Night Passage (1957) because he believed it would give him a chance to show off his accordion playing. However, all of his playing was re-recorded by a professional accordion player.
Wore the same hat in all of his westerns. John Ford complained on the set of Two Rode Together (1961): "Great, now I have actors with hat approval!".
He actively supported the presidential campaign of Sen. Barry Goldwater in 1964, after Goldwater had voted against the Civil Rights Act.
His favorite movies were Westerns, he said, "because they're told against the background of a very dramatic period in our history" and "give people a feeling of hope, an affirmative statement of living".
Pictured on a 41¢ USA commemorative postage stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series, issued on Friday, August 17, 2007.
Originally intended to make On Golden Pond (1981), but Jane Fonda bought the rights before he could.
Was a frequent guest at the White House throughout the 1980s, addressing the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan on Tuesday, 1/20/81.
Was 49 when he played a 25-year-old Charles Lindbergh in The Spirit of St. Louis (1957). He had actively sought the role even though the producers thought that he was far too old. He did this simply because he admired Lindbergh so much.
In 1999 the American Film Institute named him the third greatest male star of all time.
Profiled in "Back in the Saddle: Essays on Western Film and Television Actors", Gary Yoggy, ed. (McFarland, 1998).
Scaled back playing the romantic lead after he turned 50.
Joined the Army eight months before Pearl Harbor. Served overseas for 21 months, where, as a pilot with the 445th Bomb Group, 703rd squadron, he flew 20 combat missions.
In March 2008 a proposal was submitted to award him the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his services to the nation.
After Boris Yeltsin seized power in Russia in December 1991, Stewart was involved in arranging for It's a Wonderful Life (1946) to be screened on Russian television.
Following the release of Winchester '73 (1950), he appeared on the list of Top 10 Stars at the US box office for the first time, a position he retained until the end of the decade.
Wearing his Army Air Forces uniform, he presented Gary Cooper with his Best Actor Oscar for Sergeant York (1941).
Along with Robert De Niro and Harrison Ford, has eight films in IMDb's Top 250 movie list.
African-American actor Woody Strode, (Stewart's co-star in Two Rode Together (1961) and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)) praised Stewart as "one of the nicest men you'll ever meet anywhere in the world".
His daughter Kelly and her husband teach at the University of California at Davis.
Daughter Kelly Stewart married Cambridge University Prof. Alexander "Sandy" Harcourt in London in 1977.
Daughter Judy married banker Steven Merrill in 1979, but they later divorced.
Daughter Kelly Stewart graduated from Stanford University, and she earned her Ph.D. from Cambridge University.
Had two grandsons, John (b. 8/10/82) and David Merrill (b. 11/29/83).
Gary Cooper considered Stewart to be his closest friend.
As of the fifth edition of "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" (edited by Steven Schneider), Stewart is runner-up as the most represented leading actor, by 13 films, behind Robert De Niro. Included are the Stewart films Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Destry Rides Again (1939), The Mortal Storm (1940), The Philadelphia Story (1940), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), Rope (1948), Winchester '73 (1950), The Naked Spur (1953), Rear Window (1954), The Man from Laramie (1955), Vertigo (1958), Anatomy of a Murder (1959) and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962).
Some sources state that he was considered to play James Bond in Dr. No (1962). However, it was in fact Stewart Granger, whose real name was James Stewart, who was considered, but was ultimately rejected as being too old.
Allegedly hated the nickname "Jimmy".
Burt Reynolds was a neighbor a life-long devoted fan. In an interview for the TC Palm in 2010, Reynolds said how much he admired Stewart and that he was always gracious and kind towards him and others. "So modest, so wonderful", Reynolds said. "He was more than an actor. He was every man you wish you could be".
On 11/2/56 he the principal speaker at a veterans rights ceremony in Arlington, VA.
Daniel Day-Lewis and Gary Oldman, two English actors each with very different styles and personas from Stewart, have both cited him as a major influence.
At the 1972 Republican National Convention he introduced the honored guest speaker Pat Nixon; which is historically significant considering she was the first ever Republican First Lady to give a live speech at any of the RNCs at that time.
Awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1708 Vine St. on 2/8/60.
Appeared in two Best Picture Academy Award winners: You Can't Take It with You (1938) and The Greatest Show on Earth (1952).
The citation for one of two Distinguished Service Crosses awarded to Lt. Col. James Stewart: The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Colonel (Air Corps) James M. "Jimmy" Stewart (ASN: 0-433210), United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary achievement, while serving as Air Commander of heavy bombardment formations on many missions to enemy occupied territory during World War II. Lieutenant Colonel Stewart's skillful leadership and sound judgment in guiding his formations to heavily defended targets requiring deep penetrations have been major factors in the successful destruction of these vital enemy installations. The outstanding tactical ability displayed by Lieutenant Colonel Stewart reflects the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.
A rumor circulated for years among Disney's Goof Troop (1992) fans that Stewart's last acting role was as the voice of Red Crocker in Disney's Goof Troop: E=MC Goof (1992). The character was actually voiced by Frank Welker, impersonating Stewart.
He appeared in four films directed by Alfred Hitchcock: Rope (1948), Rear Window (1954), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) and Vertigo (1958).
Was friends with Scottish physicist Robert Watson-Watt, who won the Nobel Prize for his contributions to the invention of radar. He would later narrate an Air Force training film on the use of radar in ballistic early-warning systems.
A regular contributor to the political campaigns of Sen. Jesse Helms.
Was 32 when he won the Best Actor Academy Award for The Philadelphia Story (1940), making him the youngest winner at the time. He held the title for 14 years until Marlon Brando became the youngest winner for On the Waterfront (1954).
While a student at Princeton, he acted in stage productions with the Triangle Club, many of them produced by future Hollywood writer / director Joshua Logan. In his senior year in 1931 he acted in a show called "The Spanish Blades," which happened to be seen by a talent scout for MGM named William Grady Jr.. Years later Grady wrote that the cast had been "a motley group, and, like all amateurs, accentuated their . . . appearance with excessive mugging and gestures . . . All but the skinny guy at the end. He was six foot four, towered over all the others, and looked uncomfortable as hell. While the others hammed it up, the thin one played it straight and was a standout." Grady introduced himself backstage, then wrote in his notebook that the boy had "an ingratiating personality" but was a type in which the studio would have "no particular interest." Eighteen years later, Grady would serve as best man at Stewart's wedding.
In his 2017 dual biography of Henry Fonda and James Stewart, "Hank & Jim", film historian Scott Eyman writes that an actor complained to director John Ford that although he had worked with Stewart several times, he still didn't know the man. Ford replied: "You don't get to know Jimmy Stewart. Jimmy Stewart gets to know you".
Although he played Josephine Hull's brother in Harvey (1950), he was 31 years her junior in real life.
Starred in seven Oscar Best Picture nominees: You Can't Take It with You (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), The Philadelphia Story (1940), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), Anatomy of a Murder (1959) and How the West Was Won (1962). "You Can't Take It with You" and "The Greatest Show on Earth" both won.
His Best Actor Oscar nomination for Harvey (1950) is the only time he was nominated for his performance in a film that was not nominated for Best Picture.
It was reported early in 2011 that the Jimmy Stewart Museum was facing a financial crisis.
Having graduated in architecture he announced to his parents that he was giving up on being an architect and was going to Broadway where he had a small part in a play. His parents gave him their blessing.
In high school was in the Triangle Club, which was a drama club.
His father was a volunteer fireman.
The army said that he was too valuable to be put on active service and wanted him to do propaganda films but he wanted none of it wanting to be on the front line.
MGM actively tried to stop him from signing up for war service.
In 1960 MGM toyed with the idea of doing an all-male remake of The Women (1939) which would've been entitled "Gentlemen's Club." Like the female version, this would have involved an all-male cast and the plot would have involved a man (Jeffrey Hunter) who recently discovers among his comrades that his wife is having an affair with another man (Earl Holliman) and after going to Reno to file for divorce and begin a new life, he later finds himself doing what he can to rectify matters later on when he discovers that the other man is only interested in money and position, and he decides to win his true love back again. Although nothing ever came of this, it would have consisted of Jeffrey Hunter (Martin Heal), Earl Holliman (Christopher Allen), Tab Hunter (Simon Fowler), Lew Ayres (Count Vancott), Robert Wagner (Mitchell Aarons), James Garner (Peter Day), Jerry Mathers (Little Martin), James Stewart (Mr. Heal), Ronald Reagan (Larry), Troy Donahue (Norman Blake), and Stuart Whitman (Oliver, the bartender who spills the beans about the illicit affair).
Has appeared in 12 films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Destry Rides Again (1939), The Shop Around the Corner (1940), The Philadelphia Story (1940), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), Winchester '73 (1950), The Naked Spur (1953), Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), Anatomy of a Murder (1959), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) and How the West Was Won (1962).
Descended from Clan Stewart.
A devotee of Edgar Allan Poe (surprising for such a conservative), he recorded a couple of Poe stories for BBC radio.
Suffered from PTSD.
In direct contrast to his on-screen persona, he was known by many who knew him as having a bit of a short fuse.
On 8/7/2019 he was honored with a day of his film work during the Turner Classic Movies Summer Under the Stars.
Despite always being referred to as "Jimmy" by fans and critics, he was never credited in any of his most famous roles as "Jimmy Stewart", always going by "James", and he in fact hated being called "Jimmy".
Stewart won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance for starring in "Harvey" on Broadway in 1970.
In High school he was in the Triangle Club which was a drama club.
His adopted son Ronnie was killed in Vietnam.
After being drafted into the army in 1941, he continued to pay his agent, but instead of $600 per month he wrote him a check for $2.10 - 10% of his army pay of $21 per month.
He was a hawk on the Vietnam War.

Personal Quotes (44)

Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing a Jimmy Stewart imitation myself.
[in 1983] I'd like people to remember me as someone who was good at his job and seemed to mean what he said.
There ought to be a law against any man who doesn't want to marry Myrna Loy.
[on John Wayne] I can't imagine there's anyone in the country who doesn't know who he is. Kids will be talking about him long after the rest of us are gone. John will make the history books, as Will Rogers did, because he as lived his life to reflect the ideals of his country.
It's much easier, for example, to play a heroin addict and you're withdrawing - you tear the ceiling off - that's much easier than it is to come in and say, "Hello" or "I love you". When you judge it in that way, the heavy isn't as difficult.
[10/1/48, upon being named a Pennsylvania Ambassador (he was born and raised in the town of Indiana) by Gov. James Duff] Indiana means home to me. It is a town for me to cling to, because my mother and father are here. I was born and reared here. I have a great love and pride for Indiana. I love every bit of it.
I don't act. I react.
I'm the inarticulate man who tries. I don't really have all the answers, but for some reason, somehow, I make it.
The big studios were an ideal way to make films - because they were a home base for people. When you were under contract, you had no chance to relax.
If I had my career over again? Maybe I'd say to myself, "Speed it up a little".
[5/20/58, from a speech at a Boy Scout Testimonial Dinner celebrating his 50th birthday] Through the years Indiana [his home town of Indiana, PA] has been something of tremendous importance in my life. It's true there is something special about the place where you were raised--your hometown. I have found through the years during the times when I've been here in Indiana that almost every direction I look, and so many faces I see, immediately cause a picture to be formed of an event, a happening in my life that I remember well. I think the main thing that has kept Indiana so close to my heart is the fact that Indiana has been, and still is, the headquarters of Mr. Alex Stewart and his family ... My father has been almost fanatical in his determination to keep our family together--and he has done it. Time and distance haven't seemed to have affected this headquarters in Indiana. I've settled down three thousand miles from Indiana. I've traveled to points in the world three times that distance. At times I've stayed away several years at a stretch, but I somehow have never felt that I was very far from here ... somehow I don't feel that I have ever been away.
John Wayne was probably the biggest star in the world, yet he retained the qualities of a small boy. He had the enthusiasm for life that would make a high school football star envious. And through it all, Duke never changed. As a man he was exactly the boy he started out. And as a friend . . . well, you just wouldn't want a better one. In his lifetime, Duke stamped AMERICA across the face of the motion picture industry. Few other men, living or dead, have ever portrayed the fine, decent, and generous American qualities as Duke did. He portrayed on screen the values he lived off screen. Gentle - so much so, it would have surprised his critics. Loyal - once your friend, always your friend. Courageous - if you doubt it, remember his fight against cancer, or the way he faced heart surgery. And decent. Above all, Duke was a decent man. He was also far from perfect. He made his mistakes as I have made mine and you have made yours. All in all, I would say they were unintentional. Mistakes of the heart, I would say. Let me say this about the John Wayne I knew. He was an original. He was the statue of his times. All in all, I think it was the man's integrity that speaks most of him. His principles never varied. Nor did his ideals. Nor did his faith in mankind.
[in 1970] I don't think there's any question that the Communists are behind a great deal of unrest in the United States. In addition, I feel they are still a potential danger in show business.
[on draft-age men who evaded military service during the Vietnam war] I hate them! I absolutely hate them! Whether right or wrong, their country was at war and their country asked them to serve, and they refused and ran away. Cowards, that's what they were.
[his last words] I'm going to be with Gloria [deceased wife Gloria Stewart] now.
If a western is a good western, it gives you a sense of that world and some of the qualities those men had - their comradeship, loyalty, and physical courage. The vogue for the new kind of western seems pretty unimportant to me. They try to destroy something that has been vital to people for so long.
I am James Stewart playing James Stewart. I couldn't mess around with the characterizations. I play variations on myself.
Mr. Hitchcock [Alfred Hitchcock] did not say actors are cattle. He said they should be treated like cattle.
I have my own rules and adhere to them. The rule is simple but inflexible. A James Stewart picture must have two vital ingredients: it will be clean and it will involve the triumph of the underdog over the bully.
You hear so much about the old movie moguls and the impersonal factories where there is no freedom. MGM was a wonderful place where decisions were made on my behalf by my superiors. What's wrong with that?
[asked how he wanted to be remembered] As someone who believed in hard work and love of country, love of family and love of community.
John Wayne was the greatest cowboy. Henry Fonda was the better actor but John Wayne, well, he was a champ.
[on Joan Crawford] My first impression of Joan Crawford was of glamor.
[on Jean Arthur] Jean was the finest actress I ever worked with. No one had her humor, her timing.
[on Margaret Sullavan] She could do maybe a look, or a line or two, but they would hit like flashes or earthquakes.
I suppose people can relate to being me, while they dream about being John Wayne.
[on longtime friend Henry Fonda, a liberal Democrat] Our views never interfered with our feelings for each other, we just didn't talk about certain things.
[to longtime friend Ronald Reagan, on his inauguration as US President on 1/20/81] I cannot tell you, Mr President, just how happy I am to finally be able to call you my Commander-in-Chief.
I've always thought [John Wayne] is underrated as an actor. I think The Searchers (1956) is one of the most marvelous performances of all time.
[in 1976] I am sixty-eight years old and I feel every damn day of it.
I've always regretted that I didn't spend more time on the stage because there's nothing like that for experience - real experience - and to bring you up to snuff as far as the acting is concerned.
From 1932 through 1934 I'd only worked three months. Every play I got into folded.
[on Grace Kelly] We all say she made as good a princess as she did a movie actress, even better.
[on John Ford] The set was anything but tranquil on a Ford picture. Ford believed that acting is a competitive thing. That it's good to be tense, good to be suspicious of other actors. His direction would be mostly asides, whispers ... In a Ford film you never exactly sure of what was going to happen next. And this is the way he wanted it.
[Asked in March 1957 interview "What do you think of your future":] Eventually I'd like to direct. I'd like to use the tools I've developed in my years in the movie business. If I haven't learned enough in all this time, I'd better quit and go back to my father's hardware store.
[Asked in March 1957 interview "What do you do for kicks when you're not working":] I like to fly. And I like music. I've got a cabinet full of pop stuff. Also some Elvis Presley and that sort of thing that the kids drive me nuts with. When I had a press conference in Chile a few weeks ago, I happened to remark that I didn't like rock 'n' roll. Well, you'd think I had insulted the whole Chilean republic. I had to backtrack on my statement.
[to Frank Capra when he was offered the role of George Bailey] Frank, if you want to do a movie about me committing suicide, with an angel with no wings named Clarence, I'm your man.
[to Philip Van Doren Stern, the author of The Greatest Gift, the short story that inspired It's a Wonderful Life (1946) via letter on December 31st, 1946] More important than anything, thank you for giving us that idea, which I think is the best one anyone has had for a long time. It was an inspiration for everyone concerned with the picture to work in it, because everyone seemed to feel that the fundamental story was so sound and right, and that story was yours, and you should be justly proud of it.
[Stewart testifying before Congress about Hollywood colourizing It's a Wonderful Life (1946)] I tried to look at the colourized version, but I had to switch it off - it made me feel sick.
[It's a Wonderful Life (1946)] It didn't do well at all. I don't think it was the type of story people wanted right after the war. They wanted a war-related story or a pure slapstick, Red Skelton type of comedy. Our movie just got lost.
[It's a Wonderful Life (1946)] Such a pure movie. It wasn't taken from a novel or a play. It was developed from one little paragraph. Simple story, no message, no violence, no mob scenes. When the movies have a story like this, they do it better than any medium there is.
I was six feet three and 138 pounds. They must have thought I looked like I had just survived a famine.
Well, John Ford was a man who had certain values that he was dedicated to and he could get that up on the screen. Not by telling actors what to do and having long rehearsal sessions with them, because he never did that. He just had a vision of what the film should be like and he would let us sort of go along with him and do it. If we didn't do it the way he liked, we would certainly hear about it. He came so well prepared, knowing the script and everything about the picture, that I never even saw him even look at the script. He'd just say to his cameraman, "I want this, tell me when your ready." Then he'd shoo us actors in front of the camera and say, "all right, this is what you're being paid for, go and get comfortable with what you're going to do and whenever you're ready, let me know and we'll shoot it."
(On John Wayne) Duke Wayne was a great friend of mine and I also think he was an excellent actor. He was a tremendous force in the whole production. Everybody, including the actors, the producer and the director looked to Duke to sort of get the idea of what the scene meant, or how it should go. Not, "how do I do this," but the idea behind it, the tone of the scene. I was also in his last picture, The Shootist (1976) and it was a great privilege and a wonderful honor to have worked with him.

Salary (27)

Art Trouble (1934) $50 /day
The Murder Man (1935) $350 /week
Rose-Marie (1936) $350 /week
Next Time We Love (1936) $350 /week
Wife vs. Secretary (1936) $350 /week
Important News (1936) $350 /week
Small Town Girl (1936) $350 /week
Speed (1936) $350 /week
The Gorgeous Hussy (1936) $350 /week
Born to Dance (1936) $350 /week
After the Thin Man (1936) $350 /week
Seventh Heaven (1937) $350 /week
The Last Gangster (1937) $350 /week
Navy Blue and Gold (1937) $350 /week
Of Human Hearts (1938) $350 /week
Vivacious Lady (1938) $350 /week
The Shopworn Angel (1938) $350 /week
You Can't Take It with You (1938) $350 /week
Made for Each Other (1939) $350 /week
The Ice Follies of 1939 (1939) $350 /week
The Philadelphia Story (1940) $3,000 /week
Rope (1948) $300,000
Winchester '73 (1950) $600,000
Harvey (1950) $200,000 + % net profits
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) $50,000
The Shootist (1976) $50,000
Right of Way (1983) $250,000

See also

Other Works |  Publicity Listings |  Official Sites

View agent, publicist, legal and company contact details on IMDbPro Pro Name Page Link

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed