James Stewart is a legendary actor and movie star who has appeared in over sixty films. He has also collaborated with legendary filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock and Anthony Mann. In this article, you will learn about his early life, his military service, and his roles in movies.
Jimmy Stewart was a successful stage and film actor, who began his career as a child. He grew up in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and later attended Princeton University. His parents were of Scottish and Irish descent. Throughout his childhood, he developed two passions – drama and music.
Stewart graduated from Princeton in 1932. After college, he joined a summer stock company. While at the company, he met Henry Fonda. He shared an apartment with Fonda, and they eventually moved to New York City.
A few years after moving to the Big Apple, Stewart starred in several wacky screwball comedies. Later, he teamed up with director Anthony Mann, playing morally ambiguous characters in films. These collaborations broadened the appeal of Stewart’s work.
Stewart’s first dramatic stage role was in Yellow Jack, a play written by Sidney Howard. It led to a screen test with MGM. In the same year, Stewart played a part in the slapstick comedy Goodbye Again, which featured Fonda as the sexy chauffeur.
In addition to acting, Stewart studied architecture. At one point, he was offered a scholarship to graduate school. But he chose to return to his career.
Stewart worked as a brick loader for a construction company, and he also did road painting. He also worked as an art editor for a high school yearbook. Eventually, he was cast in bit roles in various plays.
Stewart became a favorite of Alfred Hitchcock. In the 1950s, he appeared in a number of Hitchcock’s films. He played the role of a downtrodden American Everyman.
Then, the Hollywood star found himself involved in World War II. His performances earned him a Distinguished Flying Cross, Croix de Guerre, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
James Stewart’s movie roles span a variety of genres. His early roles centered around comedies, but later in his career, he moved into the western genre. These films tended to involve rougher, more gritty roles.
He was cast in a variety of films, including classics like The Philadelphia Story and Vertigo. As a result, he earned three Oscar nominations for his acting talents.
He also received an honorary Academy Award for his work. Later in his career, he continued to make appearances on television.
He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was the first American actor to join the World War II military. After his retirement, he suffered from numerous health problems.
He was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and received an honorary Academy Award for his work. During his lifetime, he starred in 92 films. Of these, eleven are preserved in the United States National Film Registry.
While his film career spanned a variety of genres, he was most famous for his work in the western genre. In addition, he received an Oscar for his work in the 1940 movie The Philadelphia Story.
He also appeared in a number of other westerns, as well as some of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous films. Some of his most notable films include Rope (1948) and The Man Who Knew Too Much.
One of his most well-known films, It’s a Wonderful Life, became a holiday classic. Since its release in 1946, it has been shown on television numerous times.
He was also a fan of westerns. His performances in such films as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Shootist, and You Can’t Take It With You, all garnered him Oscar nominations.
Jimmy Stewart was one of the first major Hollywood stars to wear a uniform during World War II. He joined the military in 1940, nine months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
When he was enlisted into the Army Air Corps, he was given the rank of private. During his time in the military, he served with distinction.
After the war, he returned to Hollywood. But he wanted to continue to serve the United States. To do so, he obtained a commercial pilot’s license.
Then, he bought a Stinson 105 airplane to increase his flying hours. This airplane was a common training model for the Army Air Corps.
He also acquired a private pilot’s license. In 1941, he enlisted into the United States Army Air Corps. At the time, Germany invaded Czechoslovakia. It was a major escalation in the war.
Stewart flew B-36 bombers. He was also a flight instructor for the AT-6 aircraft.
James Stewart also received a Distinguished Flying Cross, and a Croix de Guerre, and was promoted to major. Stewart was also the chief of staff of the 2nd Combat Bombardment wing of the Eighth Air Force.
Although he was in a position of great responsibility to the United States government, Stewart avoided a lot of promotional work. He only gave one overseas press conference.
Stewart was awarded the Air Medal three times. He also was honored with a Distinguished Service Medal.
When he retired from the Air Force in 1968, he had logged 4,700 hours of flight time. Some of these missions were so far away from enemy fighters that they didn’t require constant fighter protection.
Despite all his accomplishments, Stewart suffered from PTSD. And he was underweight.
Collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock and Anthony Mann
The collaboration of James Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock was a winning combination. In fact, their best collaboration was The Glenn Miller Story (1954). A sentimental biopic based on the life of the jazz legend, the movie was a resounding success.
Stewart’s association with Hitchcock extended to three films. His first collaboration with the legendary director occurred in the mid-forties, in the guise of a shady newspaper reporter. But it was Stewart’s next starring role, in an experimental film called Rope, which rekindled the relationship. It was also in this film that Stewart was introduced to Grace Kelly, who would go on to become the leading lady in a handful of Hitchcock films.
Throughout his career, Stewart would collaborate with many directors. In addition to Hitchcock, he worked with John Ford, Clint Eastwood, and David Lean. During the latter’s tenure, the actor had some of his most memorable roles, including the eponymous role in a series of brash westerns. He also acted in a number of suspenseful movies in the late 50s and early 60s.
Besides his long and illustrious career, Stewart has a few other things to brag about, such as his role in the obscenely cheesy, but surprisingly entertaining, Rope. This was also the first time Stewart and actress June Allyson had teamed up for a major motion picture. Stewart’s performance as a cynical reporter landed him the chance to work with Hitchcock again. Despite the chemistry between the pair, however, the collaboration was short-lived. Fortunately, Stewart and Mann had a number of other collaborative ventures, including a series of six Westerns.
However, it was the collaboration of Stewart and Mann that shaped Stewart’s career. From the 1950s onward, Stewart and Mann paired up in an impressive eight films.
James Stewart was a famous actor and military hero. He died of a heart attack at age 89 on July 2, 1997. His body was cremated. Inquests will be held to determine the cause of his death and whether anything can be done to prevent similar deaths in the future.
Jimmy Stewart was born on May 20, 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania. His parents were of Scottish, Irish and English descent. The family moved to Marengo, Iowa, before settling in Jackson Township, Man.
During his early years, he showed promise as a performer. James enrolled in local prep school and then attended Princeton University. After graduating, he became a musician, playing accordion in the family basement.
In 1938, James Stewart was cast in “The Philadelphia Story” and soon hit the big screen. This role brought him his first Academy Award nomination.
Throughout his career, Stewart starred in a number of classic films, including “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, “The Shootist” and “Destry Rides Again”. However, his film output waned in the 1970s and 1980s.
Stewart left behind a legacy of decency and generosity. He was a good citizen, a leader and a war hero. For his contributions, Stewart received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the Croix de Guerre.
The last words that he spoke were to his wife Mary McLean. At the time of his death, Stewart was a member of the Communist Party of Ireland.
Stewart’s brother, Timothy, lives in Seattle, Washington. Other survivors include his daughter, Amal Wing of Lancaster, CO, and son, Lee, of Lunenburg.
James Stewart passed away on December 30, 2015 at UMASS Medical Center in Worcester, MA. An inquest will be held to determine the cause of his sudden death.