When I reviewed It's A Wonderful Life (click HERE for review), I mentioned that I might write a post with details about the great Jimmy Stewart. In keeping with my new policy of attempting to kind of follow through with my mentionings, here's the Jimmy Stewart post. Some of this info is stuff I happen to know, and some of it comes from Wikipedia.
James Maitland Stewart was born in Indiana, Pennsylvania, on May 20th, 1908. His father owned a hardware store. Jimmy was expected to take over the store one day. It didn't happen. Instead, Mr. Stewart eventually displayed his son's Academy Award in the window of the store.
- Jimmy's first experience with acting came during his prep school days at The Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. You might recognize the name of this school. It is The Hurricane's alma mater; she also acted for the first time at the academy.
- When Jimmy Stewart was a student at the academy, it was a boys' school. No girls allowed.
- Jimmy went to Princeton following his prep school graduation. He majored in architecture, but soon found himself drawn to the theater department.
- He graduated from Princeton in 1932.
- Jimmy had parts in some plays on Broadway. Most of these productions were not successful.
- MGM signed him to a contract in 1935.
- Jimmy Stewart made ninety-two movies. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1941 for The Philadelphia Story.
|Jimmy Stewart with Katharine Hepburn in
The Philadelphia Story.
- Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda were close friends.
- Jimmy married Gloria Hatrick McLean in 1949. They were married until her death in 1994.
- He joined the Army Air Corps in 1940. My dad was a flight instructor in the Army Air Corps. Jimmy did not need my father to teach him how to fly. He was already an excellent pilot.*
- He flew many missions and enlisted in the Air Force Reserves, as did my father.
- Jimmy became a Brigadier General in 1959, the year I was born.
- He died in 1997 at age eighty-nine.
Jimmy Stewart is my all-time favorite actor. He made so many movies I love that I can't possibly recount them all. It's A Wonderful Life is my favorite movie. My favorite Hitchcock movie is Rear Window, which starred Stewart and Grace Kelly.
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
You Can't Take It With You
Destry Rides Again
Oh, how I love Harvey, the rabbit only Elwood P. Dowd can see. I think my children's favorite Jimmy Stewart movie is The Spirit of St. Louis. They discovered it on AMC and insisted that I watch it when it came on again. I had never seen it. There's no such thing as a Jimmy Stewart movie that I don't love--except I've never liked Vertigo, so let's not talk about it.
In his later years, I remember Jimmy Stewart sometimes reading his poetry on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
The poem Beau still makes me tear up.
God bless you, Jimmy Stewart. I'm grateful I can still watch your movies, you tall drink of water at six feet, three inches, just like Favorite Young Man. I think I miss Faulkner as much as you missed Beau.
Infinities of love,
*I did not mean to give the impression that my father knew Jimmy Stewart. They both happened to be in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and then both were in the Air Force Reserves. If my dad had been Jimmy Stewart's buddy, I would never stop telling you about it. I would write a post about their friendship every single day.