Jimmy Stewart ~ 100

20 May

From the beginning of James Stewart’s career in 1935 through his final theatrical project in 1991, he appeared in over 100 films, television programs and shorts. Through the course of this illustrious career, he appeared in many landmark and critically acclaimed films, including such classics as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Spirit of St. Louis and Vertigo. His roles in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Philadelphia Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Harvey, and Anatomy of a Murder earned him Academy Award nominations (he won for Philadelphia Story). Stewart’s career defied the boundaries of genre and trend, and he made his mark in screwball comedies, suspense thrillers, westerns, biographies and family films.

Born May 20, 1908, in Indiana, Pennsylvania, James Maitland Stewart was the son of Elizabeth Ruth (née Jackson) and Alexander Maitland Stewart, who owned a hardware store. James, who was to take over the family business attended Princeton University and was a college friend of Henry Fonda.  The two would be life long friends. 

President Harry S. Truman once stated that “If Bess and I ever had a son, we would have wanted him to be just like Jimmy Stewart.” One of the best loved actors of his generation within the Hollywood community and with his fans, Jimmy Stewart had the guy next door ability to pull you in.  His “Aww shucks” way of life was just that. he wasn’t acting, that WAS Jimmy Stewart.

Some of his romantic liasons early in his career were Ginger Rogers and Norma Shearer.  He remained single until the age of 41, marrying former model Gloria Hatrick McLean (1918-1994) on 9 August 1949. As Stewart loved to recount in self-mockery, “I, I, I pitched the big question to her last night and to my surprise she, she, she said yes!”. Stewart adopted her two sons, Michael and Ronald, and together they had twin daughters, Judy and Kelly, on 7 May 1951. They remained devotedly married until her death on 16 February 1994, due to lung cancer.

Stewart died at the age of 89 on 2 July 1997, at his home in Beverly Hills, of cardiac arrest and a pulmonary embolism following a long illness from respiratory problems. He had also suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. His death came just one day after fellow screen legend and The Big Sleepco-star Robert Mitchum had died of lung cancer and emphysema. Stewart is interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

“America lost a national treasure today,” President Bill Clinton said on the day Stewart died. “Jimmy Stewart was a great actor, a gentleman and a patriot.”


Posted by on May 20, 2008 in Births, Classic Men in Cinema


10 responses to “Jimmy Stewart ~ 100

  1. Craig Clarke

    May 20, 2008 at 6:50 am

    This is a very nice tribute. Turner Classics is devoting their entire day of programming to Stewart movies.

  2. nwlimited

    August 17, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Enjoyed reading this…

  3. yerlin

    November 6, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    i love yo,i like you the glenn miller story

  4. sauge

    December 14, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    i really like this actor, i think he’s very human in his acting.
    i loved him in all his hitch movies.

  5. Ashley Minton

    December 24, 2008 at 11:39 am

    James Stewart is the best actor of all time
    he makes me laugh and cry
    he touches my heart in its a wonderful life and really makes me take a good look at my life here on earth
    i hope that people everywhere get to enjoy atleast one of his movies in their life time because he has changed my life and many others as well
    rest in peace James
    we love you forever:)

  6. Mike Bulvin

    March 15, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    I am a huge Jimmy Stewart fan!!! Love the tribute that you have shared. I can truely say that there will never be another like him…

    Thanks again for the tribute,

  7. Rivergirl

    December 18, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    I love watching Jimmy Stewart act. He is like every womens dream in his younger days and should be named actor of the century. His acting and looks was a work of perfection depicting the gentelman we all desire.

  8. adolfo parra rodriguez

    December 19, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    ver tu cara lo decia todo de ti. Fuistes una gran persona y gran actor,gracias por tus peliculas que aún hoy sigo disfrutando

  9. Johnno

    December 30, 2009 at 2:57 am

    I asked Mum once who her favourite actor was and why , and she just said Jimmy Stewart, and she said you have to watch his films

  10. underthefiretree24

    January 3, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    I first saw him in Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ with Grace Kelly and then on he was outstanding. He reminded me much of my father and basing it on his acting, he truly was a natural. I couldn’t get my eyes off him since then and seen a couple more of his movies. Thanks for giving him such a nice tribute. Its really wonderful.


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