James Stewart


Actor
James Stewart

About

Also Known As
Jamie Stewart, James M Stewart, Jimmy Stewart
Birth Place
Indiana, Pennsylvania, USA
Born
May 20, 1908
Died
July 02, 1997
Cause of Death
Blood Clot In Lungs

Biography

Considered by many to be the embodiment of the very best aspects of America, actor James Stewart endeared himself to generations of film lovers with his portrayals of noble, idealistic, yet often conflicted characters that prevailed against the most daunting of odds. Far from the typical leading man, Stewart was lanky and boyish, with a stammering speech pattern that soon became a favori...

Photos & Videos

Rear Window - Lobby Card
The Far Country - Movie Poster
Vertigo - Lobby Card Set (1963 reissue)

Family & Companions

Norma Shearer
Companion
Actor. Had relationship after death of her husband Irving Thalberg.
Olivia de Havilland
Companion
Actor. Dated in the early 1940s.
Gloria Stewart
Wife
Married on August 9, 1949; had been previously married (with two sons from that marriage); died in February 1994 from cancer at the age of 75.

Bibliography

"James Stewart: A Biography"
Donald Dewey, Turner Publishing (1996)
"Jimmy Stewart and His Poems"
James Stewart (1989)
"The Films of James Stewart"
Kenneth D Jones, Castle Books (1970)
"James Stewart: Behind the Scenes of a Wonderful Life"
Lawrence J Quirk

Notes

"I am James Stewart, playing James Stewart. I couldn't mess around doing great characterization. I play variations of myself. Audiences have come to expect certain things from me and are disappointed if they don't get them." --James Stewart in "The MGM Stock Company"

James Stewart on Frank Capra: "Without any doubt he was the greatest director I ever knew. He was able to do things like no one else. He had a very solid sense of values, real values like family and friends and community and God, and because of his remarkable gift for humor he was able to get all of those values into his pictures without ever appearing to preach".

Biography

Considered by many to be the embodiment of the very best aspects of America, actor James Stewart endeared himself to generations of film lovers with his portrayals of noble, idealistic, yet often conflicted characters that prevailed against the most daunting of odds. Far from the typical leading man, Stewart was lanky and boyish, with a stammering speech pattern that soon became a favorite among comic impersonators. But it was his refreshingly unaffected performances in hits like "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939) and his Oscar-winning turn in "The Philadelphia Story" (1940) that won over critics and audiences alike. A highly-decorated bomber pilot during World War II, Stewart returned to motion pictures in Frank Capra’s "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946). A film widely regarded as overly sentimental upon its initial release, it went on to become a beloved holiday classic decades later. Another nostalgic favorite, although more appreciated in its day, was Stewart’s charming fantasy about a gentle man and his best friend – an invisible talking rabbit named "Harvey" (1950). In the decade that followed, however, Stewart set about redefining his naïve screen persona with portrayals of troubled heroes in frequent collaborations with director Anthony Mann in rugged Westerns like "Winchester 73" (1950) and "The Naked Spur" (1953), as well as four remarkable films with Alfred Hitchcock that included "Rear Window" (1954) and "Vertigo" (1958). An actor of remarkable talent and a man of unquestionable integrity, Stewart was that rarest example of a personal reality living up to Hollywood mythology.

James Maitland Stewart was born on May 20, 1908 in Indiana, PA. He was the eldest child and only son born to Elizabeth Ruth Jackson and Alexander Stewart, who ran a successful hardware store in the town for more than 50 years. Growing up in Indiana, "Jimmy," as he was known, excelled in both academic and extracurricular activities such as football, track, choir, glee club and as the editor of the school’s yearbook. Instilled with a strong work ethic from his parents, Stewart earned money over the summers with work in construction, and later, as a magician’s assistant. The young man’s love of aircraft had initially led him to consider pursuing aviation in the United States Naval Academy. His father, however, had other plans, and insisted that his son attend his alma mater, Princeton University. There, Stewart once again distinguished himself in his architecture major, so much so, that he was awarded a scholarship for graduate studies in the program. Always fond of performing and the arts, Stewart had also joined Princeton’s Triangle Club, the school’s touring theater troupe. As fate would have it, by the time he graduated with his degree in architecture in 1932, America was in the depths of the Great Depression and Stewart was doubtful as to how many opportunities his chosen field would provide. When former classmate and Triangle Club member Joshua Logan invited Stewart to join him at the University Players, a collegiate summer stock company in the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts, Stewart gamely said yes.

During the summer of 1932, Stewart learned the ropes of the theater business, doing everything from building and designing sets, providing musical entertainment on his accordion, and picking up bit parts in several productions. Also at University Players at the time were future stars Henry Fonda and Margaret Sullavan – whose brief marriage was coming to an end in 1932. As roommates that summer, Stewart and Fonda – despite having polar opposite political views (Stewart being a staunch Republican and Fonda a Democrat) – became life long friends, as well as professional contemporaries. When a Broadway mounting of the play "Carry Nation" took the company to New York at the end of the season, both Stewart and Fonda went with them, once again as roommates. As small as his role had been in the production, it was enough to garner the young actor attention, which led to another minor role in the Broadway comedy "Goodbye Again." Proving the old axiom that there are no small parts, only small actors, Stewart’s brief, two-line appearance as a chauffeur brought the house down and brought him to the attention of New York critics. Still, despite this early, minor success, the Depression remained and times were tough for Stewart over the next few years. Eventually, favorable notices in Broadway productions like 1934’s "Yellow Jack" and "Divided by Three" garnered Stewart a screen test with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Fonda had already made the transition a year earlier, and in the spring of 1935, Stewart followed his friend to Hollywood after signing on as a contract player for MGM.

Stewart began his lengthy tenure at the MGM "factory" with a small part opposite Spencer Tracy in the feature film "The Murder Man" (1935). Although the crime-drama was not well-received, Stewart’s work impressed the veteran actor Tracy, who after reportedly advising the nervous young thespian to "forget the camera," could only marvel at Stewart’s natural ability. A string of supporting roles followed, including one starring Margaret Sullavan, his old friend from the University Players, who lobbied extensively to have Stewart cast opposite her in the melodrama "Next Time We Love" (1936). As was the custom at MGM at the time, all its stars were expected to be in at least one musical, and Stewart, despite his questionable singing ability, was no exception. Alongside Eleanor Powell, he bravely warbled the opening rendition of Cole Porter’s "Easy to Love" for the musical extravaganza "Born to Dance" (1936), endearing himself to audiences in the process. A turning point came in 1936 when Stewart acquired Leland Hayward – who would later marry Sullavan – as his agent. In Hayward’s view, Stewart’s full, as yet untapped, potential could be best achieved by loaning the MGM actor out to other studios. For RKO, Stewart worked with then-girlfriend Ginger Rogers in director George Stevens’ romantic-comedy "Vivacious Lady" (1938). At the height of his career, director Frank Capra hand-picked Stewart to co-star in the smash hit "You Can't Take it With You" (1938) for Columbia Pictures and one year later, producer David O. Selznick placed him in the drama "Made For Each Other" (1939), opposite comedienne Carole Lombard in a rare dramatic role.

Capra was so impressed by Stewart’s performance in his previous film that he cast him as the titular lead character in the political drama "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939), once again for Columbia. The story about one idealistic young man standing up to corruption in Washington, D.C. was a perfect vehicle for Stewart, who exuded a sort of home-spun nobility. Although highly controversial upon its release, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" was an undeniable box office success, considered one of Capra’s very best efforts, and the film that officially made Stewart a movie star. That same year, he appeared in his first Western, opposite Marlene Dietrich – another of his early off-screen paramours – for Universal Picture’s remake "Destry Rides Again" (1939). Back at MGM, Stewart and gal pal Sullavan co-starred in a pair of revered films – the Ernst Lubitsch-directed romantic-comedy "The Shop Around the Corner" (1940) and the haunting anti-Nazi drama "The Mortal Storm" (1940). The biggest surprise in Hollywood that year also prominently featured Stewart, in addition to stars Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Directed by George Cukor, "The Philadelphia Story" (1940) was a screwball comedy of the highest order, favored by critics and embraced by audiences. The film not only saved the floundering career of Hepburn – who, two years earlier had been dubbed "box office poison" – but won Stewart his first and only Best Actor Academy Award for his role as the reporter-with-a-heart, Macaulay "Mike" Connor.

With the outbreak of hostilities in Europe, Stewart became one of the first high-profile Hollywood stars to don a uniform. First drafted, then turned away, due to his inability to meet the U.S. Army’s weight requirement, the determined actor put on extra pounds and volunteered for service. In the wake of Pearl Harbor and mere days after accepting his Oscar for "Philadelphia Story," Stewart was inducted into the Army Air Forces as a private in 1941. A life-long aviation enthusiast, he had already logged hundreds of hours as a civilian pilot, thus allowing the 33-year-old to enter flight training. After earning his wings and spending time as a flight instructor stateside, Captain Stewart at last finagled his way to Europe as part of a B-24 bomber squadron in 1943. Having led no fewer than 20 bombing missions over Nazi Germany, Stewart completed his service in England as wing operations officer and chief of staff for the 2nd Combat Bomb Wing. By the time of his discharge in 1945, he had earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Air Medals and attained the rank of colonel. Even after his return to Hollywood, Stewart diligently retained his status as a reservist, and in 1959 was promoted to the rank of brigadier general by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1966, 22 years after flying combat missions over Germany, Stewart flew on a B-52 bombing mission over Vietnam as an observer, before retiring completely in 1968.

One of Stewart’s first orders of business upon returning to Hollywood was to decline to renew his contract with MGM. As one of the film industry’s first independent contractors, he was free to pick and choose his roles, scripts and even directors. With his first motion picture since the war, Stewart delivered what would become his best-known performance, as well as his personal favorite – that of George Bailey in Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946). A uniquely American fable about a man (Stewart) brought back from the brink of suicide by a guardian angel (Henry Travers) who shows him just how profoundly his life has affected those around him, the film was pure Capra. Stewart’s captivating work in the movie earned him yet another Academy Award nomination and even prompted President Harry S. Truman to comment, "If Bess and I had a son, we’d want him to be just like Jimmy Stewart." In retrospect, "It’s a Wonderful Life" met with surprisingly mixed reviews and performed far under expectation at theaters in the year of its release. Only decades later, after repeated airings on television in syndication, would it earn the reputation as a cherished holiday classic.

Stewart sought to revise his sentimental image for a post-war American populace, jaded by memories of the Great Depression and the horrors of World War II. As the decade came to a close, the actor began taking on roles that deliberately cast him against type, often as conflicted anti-heroes. Most notable among these transitional new roles was his performance as a cynical newspaperman in Henry Hathaway’s noir drama "Call Northside 777" (1948). It was also a period that began lengthy, fruitful collaborations with two of cinema’s most respected directors. He worked for Alfred Hitchcock for the first time in the technologically innovative thriller "Rope" (1948), another film that only achieved its vaunted status long after its initial release. Stewart’s inaugural collaboration with director Anthony Mann was in the hugely successful Western tale of revenge "Winchester ‘73" (1950). The actor’s personal life was also undergoing a renovation at the time. Long considered one of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelors – past romantic interests included the likes of Ginger Rogers and Norma Shearer – Stewart married former model Gloria Hatrick McLean in 1949. One of filmdom’s most successful couples, he remained with Gloria until her death in 1994.

Despite his forays into edgier drama, Stewart’s days in sentimental, light-hearted fare were far from over. Another of his most memorable roles was the pleasant, eccentric Elwood P. Dowd – a character he had played to great acclaim on Broadway a few years prior – in the screen adaptation of "Harvey" (1950). Stewart earned his fourth Oscar nomination for his turn as the gentle man whose best friend was a six-foot, invisible talking rabbit. The in-demand actor later reteamed with director Mann for three back-to-back projects, beginning with the gritty Western action-adventure "The Naked Spur" (1953), followed by the brawling oil rig adventure "Thunder Bay" (1953) and the big band biopic "The Glenn Miller Story" (1954), with Stewart in the title role as the revered band leader. He reunited with Hitchcock for the tense, voyeuristic thriller "Rear Window" (1954), considered by film scholars to be one of the director’s most accomplished efforts. Two years later, he re-upped with the master for Hitchcock’s "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1956), a remake of the director’s 1934 suspense film of the same name.

After portraying his childhood hero Charles Lindbergh in the biopic "The Spirit of St. Louis" (1957) for director Billy Wilder, Stewart collaborated with Hitchcock for the fourth and final time in the psychological thriller "Vertigo" (1958). The latter film, which met with mixed to negative reviews from both fans and critics in 1958, would only later become acknowledged as one of Hitchcock’s most personal masterworks and ranked as one of the greatest films ever made by several critics groups. Rebounding admirably from the disappointment of "Vertigo," Stewart earned a Best Actor Award from the New York Film Critics Circle for his role as a cunning and determined defense lawyer in the groundbreaking courtroom crime-drama "Anatomy of a Murder" (1959), directed by Otto Preminger. Another hit came opposite screen icon John Wayne for the first time in director John Ford’s classic psychological Western "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962). Stewart enjoyed two more film successes that year – the epic "How the West Was Won" (1962) and the family-comedy "Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation" (1962). This marked a turning point in the revered actor’s lengthy career, and while Stewart continued to make movies throughout the remainder of the decade, with the exception of efforts like the survival-adventure "The Flight of the Phoenix" (1965), few were particularly memorable.

In 1970, Stewart revived his role in "Harvey" for a Broadway revival opposite Helen Hayes. He also made occasional ventures into the world of television, most notably as star of two short-lived series. Both characters being equally familiar to longtime Stewart fans, he first played a small town college professor on the sitcom "The Jimmy Stewart Show" (NBC, 1971-72), followed by a stint as a countrified investigative attorney on the mystery "Hawkins" (CBS, 1973-74). Later, he saddled up with "The Duke" one more time as the co-star of John Wayne’s final film "The Shootist" (1976). Less memorable was a supporting role opposite Robert Mitchum’s Philip Marlowe in the misguided remake of "The Big Sleep" (1978) and an appearance in the only musical installment of the canine franchise, "The Magic of Lassie" (1978). Having made a small fortune over the years through shrewd business investments, Stewart settled comfortably into semi-retirement, making periodic appearances on television projects like the septuagenarian drama "Right of Way" (HBO, 1983), co-starring fellow legend Bette Davis.

At the 57th Academy Awards in 1984, Stewart was presented with an Academy Honorary Award for his 50 years of achievement in motion pictures by his longtime friend and former co-star, Cary Grant. In a real world moment that echoed his iconic role in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," in 1988 he and several other Hollywood notables, including Burt Lancaster and Katharine Hepburn, testified before Congress to oppose the colorization of classic films, a controversial innovation spearheaded by media mogul Ted Turner. Stewart also revealed a softer side of himself in his twilight years when he published a book of poetry, simply titled Jimmy Stewart and his Poems in 1989. Two years later, the beloved film star lent his voice to the animated adventure "An American Tail: Fievel Goes West" (1991) – his final film performance. One day after the death of fellow screen legend and "The Big Sleep" co-star Robert Mitchum, Stewart died of a pulmonary embolism at his Beverly Hills home on July 2, 1997. Upon hearing the news of his passing, President Bill Clinton lamented, "America has lost a national treasure today. Jimmy Stewart was a great actor, a gentleman and a patriot." James Stewart was 89 years old.

By Bryce Coleman

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Fonda On Fonda (1992)
An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991)
Voice
Going Hollywood: The War Years (1988)
Himself
Grace Kelly: The American Princess (1987)
Right of Way (1983)
The Big Sleep (1978)
The Magic Of Lassie (1978)
Clovis Mitchell
Airport '77 (1977)
The Shootist (1976)
That's Entertainment! (1974)
Narrator
Harvey (1972)
Directed by John Ford (1971)
Fools' Parade (1971)
Mattie Appleyard
The Cheyenne Social Club (1970)
John O'Hanlan
Firecreek (1968)
Johnny Cobb
Bandolero! (1968)
Mace Bishop
The Rare Breed (1966)
Sam Burnett
Shenandoah (1965)
Charlie Anderson
Dear Brigitte (1965)
Professor Robert Leaf
The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)
Frank Towns
Cheyenne Autumn (1964)
Wyatt Earp
How the West Was Won (1963)
Linus Rawlings
Take Her, She's Mine (1963)
Frank Michaelson
Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962)
Mr. Hobbs
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
Ranse Stoddard
Two Rode Together (1961)
Guthrie McCabe
X-15 (1961)
Narrator
The Mountain Road (1960)
Major Baldwin
The FBI Story (1959)
John Michael "Chip" Hardesty
Bell, Book and Candle (1959)
Sheperd Henderson
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
Paul "Polly" Biegler
Vertigo (1958)
John "Scottie" Ferguson
Night Passage (1957)
Grant McLaine
The Heart of Show Business (1957)
The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)
Charles A. "Slim" Lindbergh
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
Dr. Ben McKenna
The Far Country (1955)
Jeff [Webster]
The Man from Laramie (1955)
Will Lockhart
Strategic Air Command (1955)
Lt. Col. Robert "Dutch" Holland
The Glenn Miller Story (1954)
[Alton] Glenn Miller
Jamboree (1954)
Himself
Rear Window (1954)
L. B. "Jeff" Jeffries
The Naked Spur (1953)
Howard Kemp
Thunder Bay (1953)
Steve Martin
Carbine Williams (1952)
Marsh Williams
Bend of the River (1952)
Glyn McLyntock
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
"Buttons," a clown
No Highway in the Sky (1951)
Theodore Honey
Harvey (1950)
Elwood P. Dowd
The Jackpot (1950)
Bill Lawrence
Broken Arrow (1950)
Tom Jeffords
Winchester '73 (1950)
Lin McAdam
You Gotta Stay Happy (1949)
Marvin Payne
Malaya (1949)
John Royer
The Stratton Story (1949)
Monty Stratton
Rope (1948)
Rupert Cadell
Call Northside 777 (1948)
P. James McNeal
On Our Merry Way (1948)
Slim
Magic Town (1947)
[Lawrence] Rip Smith
Thunderbolt (1947)
Introduction
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
George Bailey
Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
Gilbert Young
Pot O' Gold (1941)
[James Hamilton] Jimmy Haskell
Come Live with Me (1941)
Bill Smith
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Alfred Kralik
The Mortal Storm (1940)
Martin Breitner
No Time for Comedy (1940)
Gaylord Esterbrook
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Macaulay [Mike] Connor
Made for Each Other (1939)
John Mason
It's a Wonderful World (1939)
Guy Johnson
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Jefferson Smith
The Ice Follies of 1939 (1939)
Larry Hall
Destry Rides Again (1939)
Thomas J. Destry Jr.
Vivacious Lady (1938)
Peter [Morgan]
Of Human Hearts (1938)
Jason Wilkins
The Shopworn Angel (1938)
[William] Bill Pettigrew
You Can't Take It with You (1938)
Tony Kirby
The Last Gangster (1937)
Paul North
Seventh Heaven (1937)
Chico
Navy Blue and Gold (1937)
[John] "Truck" Cross [Carter]
Small Town Girl (1936)
Elmer
Wife Vs. Secretary (1936)
Dave
The Gorgeous Hussy (1936)
"Rowdy" Dow
Rose-Marie (1936)
John Flower
Next Time We Love (1936)
Christopher Tyler
Born to Dance (1936)
Ted Barker
Speed (1936)
Terry Martin
After the Thin Man (1936)
David [Graham]
Murder Man (1935)
"Shorty"

Music (Feature Film)

The Magic Of Lassie (1978)
Song Performer ("That Hometown Feeling" "Thanksgiving Prayer")

Special Thanks (Feature Film)

John Carpenter's Escape from L.A. (1996)
Special Thanks (Vertigo Technologies)

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

James Stewart, Robert Mitchum: The Two Faces of America (2017)
Archival Footage
Going Hollywood: The War Years (1988)
Other

Cast (Special)

A Night at the Movies: Hollywood Goes to Washington (2012)
Marlene Dietrich: Shadow and Light (1996)
Interviewee
The First 100 Years: A Celebration of American Movies (1995)
Legend to Legend Night (1993)
What Is This Thing Called Love? (1993)
Jimmy Stewart: Hometown Hero (1993)
Glenn Miller: America's Musical Hero (1992)
Helen Hayes: First Lady of the American Theatre (1991)
Hollywood's Welcome Home Desert Storm Parade (1991)
Bob Hope's Yellow Ribbon Party (1991)
Night of 100 Stars III (1990)
The 61st Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1989)
Performer
The 75th Anniversary of Beverly Hills (1989)
Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park Grand Opening (1989)
Jimmy Doolittle: An American Hero (1989)
Festival At Ford's Theater-salute To The President (1989)
Christmas in Washington 1988 (1988)
Happy Birthday, Bob -- 50 Stars Salute Your 50 Years With NBC (1988)
The 14th Annual People's Choice Awards (1988)
Performer
The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts (1987)
The 13th Annual People's Choice Awards (1987)
Presenter
The Hollywood Christmas Parade (1987)
Grand Marshall
A Beverly Hills Christmas (1987)
James Stewart: A Wonderful Life (1987)
Happy Birthday, Hollywood! (1987)
All-Star Party For Joan Collins (1987)
The American Film Institute Salute to Billy Wilder (1986)
Performer
An All-Star Tribute to General Jimmy Doolittle (1986)
George Burns' 90th Birthday Special (1986)
All Star Party for Clint Eastwood (1986)
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: 23rd Anniversary (1985)
The Night of 100 Stars II (1985)
The 50th Presidential Inaugural Gala (1985)
The American Film Institute Salute to Gene Kelly (1985)
Performer
The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts (1985)
Performer
The Funniest Joke I Ever Heard (1984)
All-Star Party For Lucille Ball (1984)
George Burns Celebrates 80 Years in Show Business (1983)
The American Film Institute Salute to Frank Capra (1982)
Host
The American Film Institute Salute to Fred Astaire (1981)
Performer
Take One Starring Jonathan Winters (1981)
Mr. Krueger's Christmas (1980)
Merry Christmas... With Love, Julie (1979)
George Burns' 100th Birthday Party (1979)
General Electric's All-Star Anniversary (1978)
The American Film Institute Salute to John Ford (1973)
Performer
The American West of John Ford (1971)
Host
Directed By John Ford (1971)
Himself
The American West of John Ford (1971)
Narration
Luxury Liner (1963)
Hedda Hopper's Hollywood (1960)
Guest

Cast (Short)

Just One More Time (1974)
Himself
That's Entertainment! (Gala Premiere) (1974)
Himself
Winning Your Wings (1942)
Himself
Cavalcade of the Academy Awards (1940)
Himself
Hollywood Hobbies (1939)
Himself
Hollywood Goes to Town (1938)
Himself
Important News (1936)
Harry Gribbon in "Art Trouble" (1934)

Misc. Crew (Short)

Breakdowns of 1941 (1941)
Archival Footage

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

North and South: Book II (1986)

Life Events

1932

Professional stage acting debut in "Goodbye Again" with University Players in Cape Cod; also in play when it moved to Broadway

1932

Moved to NYC with roommate Henry Fonda; Broadway acting debut in "Carrie Nation"

1934

Moved to Hollywood; film debut (walk-on part) in "Art Trouble"

1935

Film acting debut, "The Murder Man"

1936

First lead in an 'A' budget motion picture, "Born to Dance", a musical starring Eleanor Powell

1938

Made first of three films with director Frank Capra, "You Can't Take It With You"

1939

First Western, "Destry Rides Again"

1939

Garnered first Oscar nomination for "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"

1940

Turned in Academy Award-winning turn as a reporter covering a society wedding in "The Philadelphia Story"

1941

Last film before war service, "Ziegfeld Girl"

1941

Became first Hollywood screen actor drafted into US Army (March 22)

1942

Was a bomber pilot during WWII; achieved rank of full colonel

1946

First film after WWII service, "It's a Wonderful Life", his last film with Capra; received third Academy Award nomination as Best Actor

1948

First of four films with director Alfred Hitchcock, "Rope"

1950

Made first of eight films with director Anthony Mann, "Winchester '73"

1950

Starred in film version of hit Broadway play "Harvey"; received Oscar nomination as Best Actor

1952

Cast as Buttons the Clown in Cecil B, DeMille's "The Greatest Show on Earth"

1954

Had title role in the biopic "The Glenn Miller Story", directed by Anthony Mann

1954

Reunited with Hitchcock for "Rear Window"

1956

Co-starred with Doris Day in Hitchcock's remake of "The Man Who Knew Too Much"

1957

Portrayed Charles Lindberg in "The Spirit of St. Louis", helmed by Billy Wilder

1958

Last film with Alfred Hitchcock, "Vertigo"

1959

Garnered fifth and final Best Actor Academy Award nomination for work as a lawyer in "Anatomy of a Murder"

1961

First worked with director John Ford in "Two Rode Together"

1962

Had co-starring role in "How the West Was Won"

1962

Starred with John Wayne in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance"

1964

Last film with Ford, "Cheyenne Autumn"

1968

Retired from military reserve service with the rank of brigadier general

1970

Returned to Broadway in revival of "Harvey"

1975

London stage debut, "Harvey"

1978

Final feature acting role, the grandfather in "The Magic of Lassie"

1983

Teamed with Bette Davis in the HBO original "Right to Die"

1986

Had last TV acting role in the ABC miniseries "North and South: Book II"

Photo Collections

Rear Window - Lobby Card
Rear Window - Lobby Card
The Far Country - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for The Far Country (1955). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Vertigo - Lobby Card Set (1963 reissue)
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from the 1963 reissue of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Vivacious Lady - Publicity Stills
Here are some photos taken to help publicize RKO's Vivacious Lady (1938), starring Ginger Rogers and James Stewart. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Born to Dance - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are some photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Born to Dance (1936), starring Eleanor Powell.
The Spirit of St. Louis - James Stewart Publicity Still
The Spirit of St. Louis - James Stewart Publicity Still
Bell, Book and Candle - Movie Posters
Bell, Book and Candle - Movie Posters
The Philadelphia Story - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from The Philadelphia Story (1940), starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and James Stewart. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
The Philadelphia Story - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a number of Behind-the-Scenes photos taken during production of The Philadelphia Story (1940), directed by George Cukor and starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart.
Two Rode Together - Movie Posters
Two Rode Together - Movie Posters
Two Rode Together - Lobby Card Set
Two Rode Together - Lobby Card Set
Two Rode Together - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Two Rode Together - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Bend of the River - Movie Posters
Bend of the River - Movie Posters
Winchester '73 - Movie Posters
Winchester '73 - Movie Posters
The Glenn Miller Story - Movie Posters
The Glenn Miller Story - Movie Posters
Vivacious Lady - Publicity Art
Here are some pieces of advertising art created by RKO to publicize Vivacious Lady (1937), starring Ginger Rogers and James Stewart.
Pot O' Gold - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Pot O' Gold (1941), starring James Stewart and Paulette Goddard. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Anatomy of a Murder - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster designed by Saul Bass for Otto Preminger's Anatomy of a Murder (1950). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
The Naked Spur - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for The Naked Spur (1953). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
After the Thin Man - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from MGM's After the Thin Man (1936), starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
How the West Was Won - Program Book
Here is the souvenir Program Book sold at Roadshow engagements for the 1962 epic in Cinerama, How the West Was Won.
Come Live with Me - Kapralik Trade Ad
Here is a trade ad for MGM's Come Live with Me (1941), starring James Stewart and Hedy Lamarr. The art is by mixed-media caricaturist Jaques Kapralik. Trade Ads were placed by studios in industry magazines like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - Title Lobby Card
Here is the Title Lobby Card from Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
It's a Wonderful World - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for It's a Wonderful World (1939). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
You Can't Take It with You - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from Frank Capra's You Can't Take It with You (1938). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Born to Dance - Movie Posters
Here are a few original-release movie posters from Born to Dance (1936) starring Eleanor Powell and James Stewart.
Vivacious Lady - Lobby Cards
Here are a few Lobby Cards from RKO's Vivacious Lady (1937), starring Ginger Rogers and James Stewart. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance - Movie Posters
Here is a variety of original-release American movie posters from John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), starring John Wayne and James Stewart.
The Mountain Road - Movie Poster
Here is an American movie poster for Columbia's The Mountain Road (1960), starring James Stewart. This poster is a 3-Sheet, which measures 41" x 81"
The Stratton Story - James Stewart and June Allyson Publicity Stills
Here are a number of stills of James Stewart and June Allyson, taken to help publicize The Stratton Story (1949). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
The Shop Around the Corner - Movie Posters
Here two styles of American one-sheet movie poster for The Shop Around the Corner (1940). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
The Shop Around the Corner - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several photos taken behind-the-scenes of The Shop Around the Corner (1940). Stars James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan are seen working - and playing - with director Ernst Lubitsch.
It's a Wonderful Life - Lobby Card Set
Here is a lobby card set from Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Harvey - Lobby Cards
Here are several Lobby Cards from Harvey (1950), starring James Stewart. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
After the Thin Man - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of After the Thin Man (1934), starring William Powell, Myrna Loy, and James Stewart.
The Philadelphia Story - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for The Philadelphia Story (1941). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Ziegfeld Girl - Movie Posters
Here are a few original-release American movie posters for Ziegfeld Girl (1941), starring Judy Garland, Hedy Lamarr, Lana Turner, and James Stewart.
The Shop Around the Corner - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from The Shop Around the Corner (1940), starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.

Videos

Movie Clip

Philadelphia Story, The (1941) - They Grew Up Together Complexity as Tracy (Katharine Hepburn) performs for impostor society wedding guests (really reporters) Mike (James Stewart) and Liz (Ruth Hussey), fiancè George (John Howard) arrives, and her ex, Dexter (Cary Grant) crashes in The Philadelphia Story, 1941.
Broken Arrow (1950) - I Am Cochise Having spent a month learning Apache language and customs, and a big riding-in sequence from director Delmer Daves, Arizona scout Jeffords (James Stewart), having decided on his own to negotiate with Cochise (Jeff Chandler) to permit mail service, meets the imposing chief, in Broken Arrow, 1950.
Bend Of The River (1952) - Having A Little Trouble? Trail guide McClintock (James Stewart) visits Portland where his buddy Cole (Arthur Kennedy) has signed on with the saloon, along with would-be settler Laura (Julie Adams), but they re-unite when supplier Hendricks (Howard Petrie) makes trouble, gambler Wilson (Rock Hudson) offering backup, in Anthony Mann's Bend Of The River, 1952.
James Stewart, Robert Mitchum: The Two Faces Of America (2017) - They Sold Your Bed? From the documentary by Gregory Monro, between talk-show appearances by the two subjects, commentary by Stewart’s daughters (Judy Stewart, Kelly Stewart Harcourt), and their appearance together in The Big Sleep, 1978, in James Stewart, Robert Mitchum: The Two Faces Of America, 2017.
James Stewart, Robert Mitchum: Two Faces Of America (2017) -- Opposite Ends Opening the documentary by Gregory Monro, with comments from Leonard Maltin and the USC professor, author and historian Leo Braudy, from James Stewart, Robert Mitchum: The Two Faces Of America, 2017.
Spirit Of St. Louis, The (1957) - Rio Rita Opening sequence with prologue, introducing first friend Frank (Bartlett Robinson) then the hero (James Stewart), in Billy Wilder's hagiographic adaption of Charles Lindbergh's memoir, The Spirit Of St. Louis, 1957.
Broken Arrow (1950) - Apaches Playin' Fair? In Tucson after an encounter with Apaches, Jeffords (James Stewart) turns down an offer from ambitious Col. Bernall (Raymond Bramley), and tangles with aggrieved rancher Slade (Will Geer), Arthur Hunnicutt, Joyce MacKenzie among the spectators, in Delmer Daves’ Broken Arrow, 1950.
Broken Arrow (1950) - White Painted Lady Received into the Arizona stronghold of Apache leader Cochise (Jeff Chandler), scout and former soldier Jeffords (James Stewart), seeking negotiations over mail service, observes tribal customs and meets young initiate Sonseeahray (Debra Paget), in Delmer Daves’ Broken Arrow, 1950.
Murder Man, The (1935) - Very Fatally Dead In the press room at the precinct, crime beat reporters (William Demarest, Bobby Watson, Lucien Littlefield, Fuzzy Knight, and James Stewart as "Shorty") get word of a big time killing, early in The Murder Man, 1935.
Murder Man, The (1936) - I'll Be At Sing Sing Advice columnist Mary (Virginia Bruce) drops in on vacationing crime reporter Steve (Spencer Tracy), not realizing Shorty (James Stewart) has arrived in her rumble seat with a message from their editor, in The Murder Man, 1935.
Anatomy Of A Murder (1959) - I've Seen Him In Action Hot-shot prosecutor Dancer (George C. Scott) entering the courthouse as the judge (Joseph N. Welch) briefs the jury, the local DA (Brooks West) and his defense attorney opponent Biegler (James Stewart) taking his measure, in Otto Preminger's Anatomy Of A Murder, 1959.
Anatomy Of A Murder (1959) - An Attractive Jiggle One of a tiny number of movie appearances by jazz pioneer Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, who wrote the score, with sidemen including Paul Gonsalves on tenor, Cat Anderson on trumpet, lawyer Biegler (James Stewart) sitting in, before he finds and berates Laura (Lee Remick), wife of the soldier he’s defending on murder charges, because he killed the man who raped her, in Otto Preminger’s Anatomy Of A Murder, 1959.

Trailer

Winchester '73 - (Re-issue Trailer) A man (James Stewart) combs the West in search of his stolen rifle. Co-starring Shelley Winters. Directed by Anthony Mann.
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington - (Original Trailer) Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939), Frank Capra's masterpiece about a naive young senator (James Stewart) who uncovers political corruption.
Rose-Marie (1936) - (Original Trailer) An opera singer goes undercover in the Canadian wilderness to hunt for her criminal brother in Rose Marie (1936) starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.
Last Gangster, The - (Original Trailer) When a notorious gangster (Edward G. Robinson) gets out of prison, he vows revenge on the wife who left him. Also starring James Stewart.
No Highway in the Sky - (Original Trailer) An engineer (James Stewart) fights to prove that a new airplane is not safe in No Highway in the Sky (1951) co-starring Marlene Dietrich.
Greatest Show On Earth, The - (Original Trailer) Cecil B. DeMille won his one Academy Award® for Best Picture for the circus drama The Greatest Show On Earth (1952).
Firecreek - (Original Trailer) A pacifist sheriff (James Stewart) must use tougher means when his town is threatened by a band of outlaws in Firecreek (1968) co-starring Henry Fonda.
Bell Book and Candle - (Original Trailer) Beautiful witch Kim Novak places a love spell on James Stewart in the comedy Bell Book And Candle (1959) also starring Jack Lemmon.
Come Live With Me -- (Original Trailer) A Viennese refugee (Hedy Lamarr) weds a struggling author (James Stewart) platonically so she can stay in the U.S. Directed by Clarence Brown
Bend of the River - (Original Trailer) A westerner (James Stewart) with a questionable past leads a wagon train into the Oregon territory in Bend of the River (1952) co-starring Rock Hudson and Arthur Kennedy, directed by Anthony Mann.
Anatomy Of A Murder - (Original Trailer) Small-town lawyer James Stewart gets the case of a lifetime when a military man avenges an attack on his wife in Otto Preminger's Anatomy Of A Murder (1959).
After the Thin Man - (Original Trailer) Married sleuths Nick and Nora Charles try to clear Nora's cousin of a murder charge in After the Thin Man (1936).

Promo

Family

Alexander Maitland Stewart
Father
Hardware store owner.
Elizabeth Stewart
Mother
Michael McLean
Step-Son
Ronald McLean
Step-Son
Killed in Vietnam in June 1969.
Judy Stewart
Daughter
Born in 1951; twin of Kelly.
Kelly Stewart
Daughter
Born in 1951; twin of Judy; holds a PhD and teaches zoology at the University of California.

Companions

Norma Shearer
Companion
Actor. Had relationship after death of her husband Irving Thalberg.
Olivia de Havilland
Companion
Actor. Dated in the early 1940s.
Gloria Stewart
Wife
Married on August 9, 1949; had been previously married (with two sons from that marriage); died in February 1994 from cancer at the age of 75.

Bibliography

"James Stewart: A Biography"
Donald Dewey, Turner Publishing (1996)
"Jimmy Stewart and His Poems"
James Stewart (1989)
"The Films of James Stewart"
Kenneth D Jones, Castle Books (1970)
"James Stewart: Behind the Scenes of a Wonderful Life"
Lawrence J Quirk

Notes

"I am James Stewart, playing James Stewart. I couldn't mess around doing great characterization. I play variations of myself. Audiences have come to expect certain things from me and are disappointed if they don't get them." --James Stewart in "The MGM Stock Company"

James Stewart on Frank Capra: "Without any doubt he was the greatest director I ever knew. He was able to do things like no one else. He had a very solid sense of values, real values like family and friends and community and God, and because of his remarkable gift for humor he was able to get all of those values into his pictures without ever appearing to preach".

Became brigadier general in Air Force Reserves from 1959 until he retired in 1968. (Highest-ranking Hollywood entertainer in the US military.)

Voted one of Top Ten Money-Making Stars (Motion Picture Herald-Fame Poll) in 1950, 1952, 1954, and 1957 and Top Money-Making star in 1955

"In the Fifties, Stewart was the first of the big-league stars to make a modern percentage deal on his filmmaking but it was with Universal and not MGM." --From "The MGM Stock Company"

He received the Croix de guerre with the Palm Award in 1985.

Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom Award in 1985.

He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Monterey Film Festival (1988).

Given Palm Springs International Film Festival's Desert Palm Achievement Award in 1992.

He was decorated with Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster.

Stewart was posthumously honored by a resolution that was passed by the US House of Representatives.