James Stewart
American actor and military veteran
James Stewart
James Maitland Stewart was an American film and stage actor, known for his distinctive voice and persona. Over the course of his career, he starred in many films widely considered classics and was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one in competition and receiving one Lifetime Achievement award. He was a major MGM contract star.
Biography
James Stewart's personal information overview.
{{personal_detail.supertitle}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
Photo Albums
Popular photos of James Stewart
News
News abour James Stewart from around the web
Some charges dropped against downstate serial killer suspect - Chicago Tribune
Google News - over 5 years
Knox County Judge James Stewart says Sheley's trial could take anywhere from three to eight weeks. About 100 potential jurors were given questionnaires today to begin the process of finding a jury. Prosecutors say they're dropping several of the
Article Link:
Google News article
Video Review Against Carolina: Defense Holds After 26-Yard Cam Newton Run - Cincy Jungle
Google News - over 5 years
Robert Geathers forces James Stewart into a choice when none existed... With 7:38 left in the second quarter, the malicious and intimidating Bengals defense jogs onto the field at Carolina's 16-yard line. Cam Newton takes the snap and hands off to
Article Link:
Google News article
Custody Issues Resolve In Sheley Case - WGIL Radio News
Google News - over 5 years
Defense attorney Jeremy Karlin told Judge James Stewart says a number of issues regarding Sheley's custody during trial, and how he would be restrained, have been resolved. Karlin says Sheley will be in street clothes he's purchased for his client,
Article Link:
Google News article
No shackles for Sheley during trial - Galesburg Register-Mail
Google News - over 5 years
Knox County Judge James Stewart ruled Thursday that Sheley, who is charged with the murder of Ronald Randall, will not be shackled to avoid prejudicing the jury. He said jurors eventually would begin to wonder why sidebars, which are discussions
Article Link:
Google News article
Colorado is reborn as a slimmer retailer - The Australian
Google News - over 5 years
James Stewart, partner at Ferrier Hodgson, says attempts to sell the clothing and footwear chain proved unsuccessful. Picture: David Geraghty Source: The Australian COLLAPSED retail group Colorado is to be reborn as a slimmed-down collection of retail
Article Link:
Google News article
James Stewart on TCM: THE STRATTON STORY, NO HIGHWAY IN THE SKY - Alt Film Guide (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
James Stewart remains one of the most beloved film actors in Hollywood history. Well, at least in the United States, where Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington are considered the apex of studio-era filmmaking
Article Link:
Google News article
Raw Food Co-op Is Raided in California
NYTimes - over 5 years
LOS ANGELES -- Raw food enthusiasts fit right in here, in the earthy, health-conscious beach communities of Venice and Santa Monica, along with the farmers' markets, health food stores and vegan restaurants. But this week, the police cleared the shelves of Rawesome, an establishment in Venice Beach, loading $70,000 of raw, organic produce and dairy
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Raw milk prosecution draws LA protest - San Jose Mercury News
Google News - over 5 years
James Stewart, 64, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit a crime and a dozen other counts. A Superior Court judge said he could be released on $30000 bail on the condition that he does not distribute unlicensed dairy products while freed. ... - -
Article Link:
Google News article
Aviation Club Secures a Home on Park Avenue, in a Space With Significance
NYTimes - over 5 years
In the 1950s, when commercial aviation was growing and space travel captured the American imagination, the Wings Club of New York settled into a first-class home. Over the next several decades, it was a congenial gathering spot for aviators, celebrities and even presidents. Candles glowed on birthday cakes sometimes delivered by beautiful flight
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Anything but the Truth
NYTimes - over 5 years
TANGLED WEBS How False Statements Are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff By James B. Stewart 473 pp. The Penguin Press. $29.95. James B. Stewart dedicates his new book ''to all who seek the truth.'' But in his view, the ranks of committed truth-seekers are shrinking before our eyes. ''Mounting evidence suggests that the broad
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Retail slump sends Melbourne shopping centre bust - The Australian
Google News - over 5 years
James Stewart, a partner with insolvency firm Ferrier Hodgson, expects more retailers to fall into administration. "These are the toughest retail conditions in the last 20 years, and a lot of the ability to survive in this market will come down to the
Article Link:
Google News article
Enduro X: the players - ESPN
Google News - over 5 years
Only one of the 30 invited riders -- Eric Sorby, who is best known as sidekick to James Stewart on 'Bubba's World' -- has ever competed at X Games. "The reality is that it's a young sport and we have a lot of talented riders who are pumped to be there
Article Link:
Google News article
Regional meth dealer pleads guilty - The Spokesman Review (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
James Stewart, 49, faces up to life in prison when he's sentenced in October. Stewart, who has a previous methamphetamine conviction in San Diego County, Calif., never failed a drug test while on pretrial supervision, according to court documents
Article Link:
Google News article
Visited Bedford Falls Lately?
NYTimes - over 5 years
IF the Jimmy Stewart Museum didn't already exist, it might be the perfect place to invent for a sequel to ''It's a Wonderful Life.'' The museum is housed in a modest brown-brick, four-story public library building just down the street from the county courthouse in Indiana, Pa., a town of 15,000 about 60 miles northeast of Pittsburgh that could
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Oh, yeah, Kevin James. He's a keeper. - The Virginian-Pilot
Google News - over 5 years
The Everyman comic looks like a mixture of Jackie Gleason, James Stewart and the guy at the end of the bar, with a hint of Fred Flintstone thrown in. Yet here James is, doing publicity from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel's lounge, with its sprawling view
Article Link:
Google News article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of James Stewart
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1997
    Age 88
    In February 1997, he was hospitalized for an irregular heartbeat.
    More Details Hide Details On June 25, a thrombosis formed in his right leg, leading to a pulmonary embolism one week later.
  • 1996
    Age 87
    In December 1996, he was due to have the battery in his pacemaker changed, but opted not to, preferring to let things happen naturally.
    More Details Hide Details
    In the last years of his life, he donated to the campaign of Bob Dole in the 1996 presidential election and to Democratic Florida governor Bob Graham in his successful run for the Senate.
    More Details Hide Details Stewart was hospitalized after falling over in December 1995.
    I can't remember ever having an argument with him—ever!" However, Jane Fonda told Donald Dewey for his 1996 biography of Stewart that her father did have a falling out with Stewart at that time, although she did not know whether it was because of their political differences.
    More Details Hide Details There is a brief reference to their political differences in character in their movie The Cheyenne Social Club.
  • 1995
    Age 86
    On May 20, 1995, his 87th birthday, The James M. Stewart Foundation was created to honor James Stewart.
    More Details Hide Details In concert with his family members, the foundation also established The Jimmy Stewart Museum in his hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania. The foundation was created to "preserve, promote and enshrine the accomplishments of James M. Stewart, actor, soldier, civic leader, and world citizen " The registered office is at 835 Philadelphia Street, Indiana, Pa, 15701 and is located within easy walking distance of his place of birth, the home in which he grew up, and the former location of his father's hardware store. A large statue of Stewart stands on the lawn of the Indiana County Courthouse, just feet from the museum. The Jimmy Stewart Museum houses movie posters and photos, awards, personal artifacts, a gift shop and an intimate 1930's era theatre in which his films are regularly shown.
  • 1994
    Age 85
    The couple remained married until her death from lung cancer on February 16, 1994, at the age of 75.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1991
    Age 82
    In 1991, James Stewart voiced the character of Sheriff Wylie Burp in the movie An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, which was his last film role.
    More Details Hide Details Shortly before his 80th birthday, he was 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.'" Stewart was almost universally described by his collaborators as a kind, soft-spoken man and a true professional. Joan Crawford praised the actor as an "endearing perfectionist" with "a droll sense of humor and a shy way of watching you to see if you react to that humor". When Henry Fonda moved to Hollywood in 1934, he was again a roommate with Stewart in an apartment in Brentwood, and the two gained reputations as playboys. Both men's children later noted that their favorite activity when not working seemed to be quietly sharing time together while building and painting model airplanes, a hobby they had taken up in New York, years earlier.
  • 1989
    Age 80
    In 1989, Stewart founded the American Spirit Foundation to apply entertainment industry resources to developing innovative approaches to public education and to assist the emerging democracy movements in the former Iron Curtain countries.
    More Details Hide Details Peter F. Paul arranged for Stewart, through the offices of President Boris Yeltsin, to send a special print of It's a Wonderful Life, translated by Lomonosov Moscow State University, to Russia as the first American program ever to be broadcast on Russian television. On January 5, 1992, coinciding with the first day of the existence of the democratic Commonwealth of Independent States and Russia, and the first free Russian Orthodox Christmas Day, Russian TV Channel 2 broadcast It's a Wonderful Life to 200 million Russians who celebrated an American holiday tradition with the American people for the first time in Russian history.
  • 1988
    Age 79
    In 1988, Stewart made an impassioned plea in Congressional hearings, along with, among many others, Burt Lancaster, Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, and film director Martin Scorsese, against Ted Turner's decision to 'colorize' classic black and white films, including It's a Wonderful Life.
    More Details Hide Details Stewart stated, "the coloring of black-and-white films is wrong. It's morally and artistically wrong and these profiteers should leave our film industry alone".
  • 1987
    Age 78
    In association with politicians and celebrities such as President Ronald Reagan, Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, California Governor George Deukmejian, Bob Hope and Charlton Heston, Stewart worked from 1987 to 1993 on projects that enhanced the public appreciation and understanding of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1985
    Age 76
    He was presented an Academy Honorary Award by Cary Grant in 1985, "for his 50 years of memorable performances, for his high ideals both on and off the screen, with respect and affection of his colleagues".
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1982
    Age 73
    Stewart's longtime friend Henry Fonda died in 1982, and former co-star and friend Grace Kelly died after a car crash shortly afterwards.
    More Details Hide Details A few months later, Stewart starred with Bette Davis in Right of Way. He filmed several television movies in the 1980s, including Mr. Krueger's Christmas, which allowed him to fulfill a lifelong dream to conduct the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He made frequent visits to the Reagan White House and traveled on the lecture circuit. The re-release of his Hitchcock films gained Stewart renewed recognition. Rear Window and Vertigo were particularly praised by film critics, which helped bring these pictures to the attention of younger movie-goers.
  • 1978
    Age 69
    Stewart also appeared in supporting roles in Airport '77, the 1978 remake of The Big Sleep starring Robert Mitchum as Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe, and The Magic of Lassie (1978).
    More Details Hide Details All three movies received poor reviews, and The Magic of Lassie flopped at the box office. Following the failure of The Magic of Lassie, Stewart went into semi-retirement from acting. He donated his papers, films, and other records to Brigham Young University's Harold B. Lee Library in 1983. Stewart had diversified investments including real estate, oil wells, a charter-plane company and membership on major corporate boards, and he became a multimillionaire. In the 1980s and '90s, he did voiceover work for commercials for Campbell's Soups.
  • 1976
    Age 67
    Stewart actively supported Reagan's bid to win the Republican presidential nomination in 1976.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1969
    Age 60
    His stepson Ronald McLean was killed in action in Vietnam on June 8, 1969, at the age of 24, while serving as a lieutenant in the Marine Corps.
    More Details Hide Details Daughter Kelly Stewart is a physical anthropologist. Stewart was active in philanthropy over the years. His signature charity event, "The Jimmy Stewart Relay Marathon Race", held each year since 1982, has raised millions of dollars for the Child and Family Development Center at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. He was a lifelong supporter of Scouting, having been a Second Class Scout when he was a youth, an adult Scout leader, and a recipient of the prestigious Silver Buffalo Award from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). In later years, he made advertisements for the BSA, which led to his being sometimes incorrectly identified as an Eagle Scout. An award for Boy Scouts, "The James M. Stewart Good Citizenship Award" has been presented since May 17, 2003. Stewart was a Life Member of the Sons of the Revolution in the State of California.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1968
    Age 59
    Following the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, Stewart, Charlton Heston, Kirk Douglas and Gregory Peck issued a statement calling for support of President Johnson's Gun Control Act of 1968.
    More Details Hide Details One of his best friends was fellow actor Henry Fonda, despite the fact that the two had very different political ideologies. A political argument in 1947 resulted in a fistfight, but they maintained their friendship by never discussing politics again. This tale may be apocryphal as Jhan Robbins quotes Stewart as saying: "Our views never interfered with our feelings for each other, we just didn't talk about certain things.
  • 1964
    Age 55
    In 1964, he and several other military aviators, including Curtis LeMay, Paul Tibbets, and Bruce Sundlun were founding directors of the board of Tibbets' Executive Jet Aviation Corporation.
    More Details Hide Details After a progression of lesser western films in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Stewart transitioned from cinema to television. In the 1950s he had made guest appearances on the Jack Benny Program. Stewart first starred in the NBC comedy The Jimmy Stewart Show, on which he played a college professor. He followed it with the CBS mystery Hawkins, in which he played a small town lawyer investigating cases, similar to his character in Anatomy of a Murder. The series garnered Stewart a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Dramatic TV Series, but failed to gain a wide audience, possibly because it rotated with Shaft, another high-quality series but with a starkly conflicting demographic, and was cancelled after one season. During this time, Stewart periodically appeared on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show, sharing poems he had written at different times in his life. His poems were later compiled into a short collection, Jimmy Stewart and His Poems (1989).
  • 1962
    Age 53
    How the West Was Won (which Ford co-directed, though without directing Stewart's scenes) and Cheyenne Autumn were western epics released in 1962 and 1964 respectively.
    More Details Hide Details One of only a handful of movies filmed in true Cinerama, shot with three cameras and exhibited with three simultaneous projectors in theatres, How the West Was Won went on to win three Oscars and reap massive box-office figures. Cheyenne Autumn, in which a white-suited Stewart played Wyatt Earp in a long semi-comedic sequence in the middle of the movie, failed domestically and was quickly forgotten. The historical drama was Ford's final Western and Stewart's last feature film with Ford. Stewart's entertainingly memorable middle sequence is not directly connected with the rest of the film and was often excised from the lengthy film in later theatrical exhibition prints and some television broadcasts. Having played his last romantic lead in Bell, Book and Candle (1958), and silver-haired (although not all was his—he wore a partial hairpiece starting with It's a Wonderful Life and in every film thereafter), Stewart transitioned into more family-related films in the 1960s when he signed a multi-movie deal with 20th Century Fox. These included the successful Henry Koster outing Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962), and the less memorable films Take Her, She's Mine (1963) and Dear Brigitte (1965), which featured French model Brigitte Bardot as the object of Stewart's son's mash notes. The Civil War period film Shenandoah (1965) and the western family film The Rare Breed fared better at the box office; the Civil War movie, with strong antiwar and humanitarian themes, was a smash hit in the South.
    The next, 1962's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Stewart's first picture with John Wayne, is a classic "psychological" western, shot in black and white film noir style featuring powerful use of shadows in the climactic sequence, with Stewart as an Eastern attorney who goes against his non-violent principles when he is forced to confront a psychopathic outlaw (played by Lee Marvin) in a small frontier town.
    More Details Hide Details At story's end, Stewart's character — now a rising political figure — faces a difficult ethical choice as he attempts to reconcile his actions with his personal integrity. The film's billing is unusual in that Stewart was given top billing over Wayne in the trailers and on the posters but Wayne was listed above Stewart in the film itself. The complex picture garnered mixed reviews but was an instant hit at the box office and became a critical favorite over the ensuing decades.
  • 1961
    Age 52
    On April 17, 1961, longtime friend Gary Cooper was too ill to attend the 33rd Academy Awards ceremony, so Stewart accepted the honorary Oscar on his behalf.
    More Details Hide Details Stewart's emotional speech hinted that something was seriously wrong, and the next day newspapers ran the headline, "Gary Cooper has cancer". One month later, on May 13, 1961, six days after his 60th birthday, Cooper died. In the early 1960s, Stewart took leading roles in three John Ford films, his first work with the acclaimed director. The first, Two Rode Together, paired him with Richard Widmark in a Western with thematic echoes of Ford's The Searchers.
  • 1960
    Age 51
    On January 1, 1960, Stewart received news of the death of Margaret Sullavan.
    More Details Hide Details As a friend, mentor, and focus of his early romantic feelings, she had a unique influence on Stewart's life.
    In 1960, Stewart was awarded the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor and received his fifth and final Academy Award for Best Actor nomination, for his role in the 1959 Otto Preminger film Anatomy of a Murder.
    More Details Hide Details The early courtroom drama stars Stewart as Paul Biegler, the lawyer of a hot-tempered soldier (played by Ben Gazzara) who claims temporary insanity after murdering a tavern owner who raped his wife. The film featured a career-making performance by George C. Scott as the prosecutor. The film was considered quite explicit for its time, and it was a box-office success. Stewart's nomination was one of seven for the film (Charlton Heston was the winner with Ben-Hur), and saw his transition into the final decades of his career. It is ranked as one of the best trial films of all time.
  • FORTIES
  • 1954
    Age 45
    It was a landmark year for Stewart, becoming the highest grossing actor of 1954 and the most popular Hollywood star in the world, displacing John Wayne.
    More Details Hide Details Hitchcock and Stewart formed a corporation, Patron Inc., to produce the film, which later became the subject of a Supreme Court case Stewart v. Abend (1990). After starring in Hitchcock's remake of the director's earlier production, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), with Doris Day, Stewart starred, with Kim Novak, in what many consider Hitchcock's most personal film, Vertigo (1958). The movie starred Stewart as John "Scottie" Ferguson, a former police investigator suffering from acrophobia, who develops an obsession with a woman he is shadowing. Scottie's obsession inevitably leads to the destruction of everything he once had and believed in. Though the film is widely considered a classic today, Vertigo met with very mixed reviews and poor box-office receipts upon its release, and marked the last collaboration between Stewart and Hitchcock. The director reportedly blamed the film's failure on Stewart looking too old to be Kim Novak's love interest, and cast Cary Grant as Roger Thornhill in North by Northwest (1959), a role Stewart had very much wanted. (Grant was actually four years older than Stewart but photographed much younger.) Today, Vertigo is ranked highest in the 2012 Sight & Sound critics poll for the greatest films ever made, taking the title from veteran favorite Citizen Kane.
    Stewart and Mann also collaborated on other films outside the western genre. 1954's The Glenn Miller Story was critically acclaimed, garnering Stewart a BAFTA Award nomination, and (together with The Spirit of St. Louis) cemented the popularity of Stewart's portrayals of 'American heroes'.
    More Details Hide Details Thunder Bay, released the same year, transplanted the plot arc of their western collaborations to a more contemporary setting, with Stewart as a Louisiana oil driller facing corruption. Strategic Air Command, released in 1955, allowed Stewart to use his experiences in the United States Air Force on film. Stewart's starring role in Winchester '73 was also a turning point in Hollywood. Universal Studios, who wanted Stewart to appear in both that film and Harvey, balked at his $200,000 asking price. His agent, Lew Wasserman, brokered an alternate deal, in which Stewart would appear in both films for no pay, in exchange for a percentage of the profits as well as cast and director approval. Stewart ended up earning about $600,000 for Winchester '73 alone. Hollywood's other stars quickly capitalized on this new way of doing business, which further undermined the decaying "studio system".
  • 1950
    Age 41
    Stewart's collaborations with director Anthony Mann increased Stewart's popularity and sent his career into the realm of the western. Stewart's first appearance in a film directed by Mann came with the 1950 western, Winchester '73.
    More Details Hide Details In choosing Mann (after first choice Fritz Lang declined), Stewart cemented a powerful partnership. The film, which became a massive box-office hit upon its release, set the pattern for their future collaborations. In it, Stewart is a tough, revengeful sharpshooter, the winner of a prized rifle which is stolen and then passes through many hands, until the showdown between Stewart and his brother (Stephen McNally). Other Stewart–Mann westerns, such as Bend of the River (1952), The Naked Spur (1953), The Far Country (1954) and The Man from Laramie (1955), were perennial favorites among young audiences entranced by the American West. Frequently, the films featured Stewart as a troubled cowboy seeking redemption, while facing corrupt cattlemen, ranchers and outlaws—a man who knows violence first hand and struggles to control it. The Stewart–Mann collaborations laid the foundation for many of the westerns of the 1950s and remain popular today for their grittier, more realistic depiction of the classic movie genre. Audiences saw Stewart's screen persona evolve into a more mature, more ambiguous, and edgier presence.
    Other notable performances by Stewart during this time include the critically acclaimed 1950 Delmer Daves Western Broken Arrow, which featured Stewart as an ex-soldier and Indian agent making peace with the Apache; a troubled clown in the 1952 Best Picture The Greatest Show on Earth; and Stewart's role as Charles Lindbergh in Billy Wilder's 1957 The Spirit of St. Louis.
    More Details Hide Details He also starred in the Western radio show The Six Shooter for its one-season run from 1953 to 1954. During this time, Stewart wore the same cowboy hat and rode the same horse, "Pie", in most of his Westerns. Cary Grant said of Stewart's acting technique: He had the ability to talk naturally. He knew that in conversations people do often interrupt one another and it's not always so easy to get a thought out. It took a little time for the sound men to get used to him, but he had an enormous impact. And then, some years later, Marlon came out and did the same thing all over again—but what people forget is that Jimmy did it first.
    The play, which ran for nearly three years with Stewart as its star, was successfully adapted into a 1950 film, directed by Henry Koster, with Stewart reprising his role and Josephine Hull portraying his sister.
    More Details Hide Details Bing Crosby was the first choice, but he declined. Stewart received his fourth Best Actor nomination for his performance. Stewart also played the role on the London stage in 1975. After Harvey, the World War II film Malaya (1949) with Spencer Tracy, and the conventional but highly successful biographical film The Stratton Story in 1949, Stewart's first pairing with "on-screen wife" June Allyson, his career took another turn. During the 1950s, he expanded into the Western and suspense genres, thanks to collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock and Anthony Mann.
    In the documentary film James Stewart: A Wonderful Life (1987), hosted by Johnny Carson, Stewart said that he went back to Westerns in 1950 in part because of the string of flops.
    More Details Hide Details He returned to the stage to star in Mary Coyle Chase's Harvey, which had opened to nearly universal praise in November 1944, as Elwood P. Dowd, a wealthy eccentric living with his sister and niece, and whose best friend is an invisible rabbit as large as a man. Dowd's eccentricity, especially the friendship with the rabbit, is ruining the niece's hopes of finding a husband. While trying to have Dowd committed to a sanatorium, his sister is committed herself while the play follows Dowd on an ordinary day in his not-so-ordinary life. Stewart took over the role from Frank Fay and gained an increased Broadway following in the unconventional play.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1945
    Age 36
    Upon Stewart's return to Hollywood in fall 1945, he decided not to renew his MGM contract.
    More Details Hide Details He signed with the MCA talent agency. His former agent Leland Hayward got out of the talent business in 1944 after selling his A-list of stars, including Stewart, to MCA. For his first film in five years, Stewart appeared in his third and final Frank Capra production, It's a Wonderful Life. Capra paid RKO for the rights to the story and formed his own production company, Liberty Films. The female lead went to Donna Reed when Capra's perennial first choice, Jean Arthur, was unavailable, and after Ginger Rogers, Olivia de Havilland, Ann Dvorak, and Martha Scott had all turned down the role. Stewart appeared as George Bailey, an upstanding small-town man who becomes increasingly frustrated by his ordinary existence and financial troubles. Driven to suicide on Christmas Eve, he is led to reassess his life by Clarence Odbody, an "angel, second class" played by Henry Travers.
    He was also one of the 12 founders and a charter member of the Air Force Association in October 1945.
    More Details Hide Details Stewart rarely spoke about his wartime service, but did appear in January 1974 in an episode of the TV series The World At War, "Whirlwind: Bombing Germany (September 1939 – April 1944)", commenting on the disastrous mission of October 14, 1943, against Schweinfurt, Germany. At his request, he was identified only as "James Stewart, Squadron Commander" in the documentary. On July 23, 1959, Stewart was promoted to brigadier general. During his active duty periods, he remained current as a pilot of Convair B-36 Peacemaker, Boeing B-47 Stratojet and Boeing B-52 Stratofortress intercontinental bombers of the Strategic Air Command. On February 20, 1966, Brigadier General Stewart flew as a non-duty observer in a B-52 on an Arc Light bombing mission during the Vietnam War. He refused the release of any publicity regarding his participation, as he did not want it treated as a stunt, but as part of his job as an officer in the Air Force Reserve. After 27 years of service, Stewart retired from the Air Force on May 31, 1968.
    At the beginning of June 1945, Stewart was the presiding officer of the court-martial of a pilot and navigator who were charged with dereliction of duty for having accidentally bombed the Swiss city of Zurich the previous March—the first instance of U.S. personnel being tried for an attack on a neutral country.
    More Details Hide Details The court acquitted the defendants. Stewart continued to play a role in the Army Air Forces Reserve following World War II and the new United States Air Force Reserve after the establishment of the Air Force as an independent service in 1947. Stewart received permanent promotion to colonel in 1953 and served as Air Force Reserve commander of Dobbins Air Force Base, Georgia, the present day Dobbins Air Reserve Base.
    On May 10, 1945, he succeeded to command of the 2nd Bomb Wing, a position he held until June 15.
    More Details Hide Details Stewart was one of the few Americans to rise from private to colonel in four years.
  • 1944
    Age 35
    Stewart served in a number of staff positions in the 2nd and 20th Bomb Wings between July 1944 and the end of the war in Europe, and was promoted to full colonel on March 29, 1945.
    More Details Hide Details
    He nevertheless assigned himself as a combat crewman on the group's missions until his promotion to lieutenant colonel on June 3 and reassignment on July 1, 1944, to the 2nd Bomb Wing, assigned as executive officer to Brigadier General Edward J. Timberlake.
    More Details Hide Details His official tally of mission credits while assigned to the 445th and 453rd Bomb Groups was 20 sorties. Stewart continued to go on missions uncredited, flying with the pathfinder squadron of the 389th Bombardment Group, with his two former groups and with groups of the 20th Combat Bomb Wing. He received a second award of the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions in combat and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. He also received the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters.
    On March 30, 1944, he was sent to RAF Old Buckenham to become group operations officer of the 453rd Bombardment Group, a new B-24 unit that had just lost both its commander and operations officer on missions.
    More Details Hide Details To inspire the unit, Stewart flew as command pilot in the lead B-24 on several missions deep into Nazi-occupied Europe. As a staff officer, Stewart was assigned to the 453rd "for the duration" and thus not subject to a quota of missions of a combat tour.
    On March 22, 1944, Stewart flew his 12th combat mission, leading the 2nd Bomb Wing in an attack on Berlin.
    More Details Hide Details
    Following a mission to Ludwigshafen, Germany, on January 7, 1944, Stewart was promoted to major.
    More Details Hide Details Stewart was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions as deputy commander of the 2nd Combat Bombardment Wing on the first day of "Big Week" operations in February and flew two other missions that week.
  • 1943
    Age 34
    After several weeks of training missions, in which Stewart flew with most of his combat crews, the group flew its first combat mission on December 13, 1943, to bomb the U-boat facilities at Kiel, Germany, followed three days later by a mission to Bremen.
    More Details Hide Details Stewart led the high squadron of the group formation on the first mission, and the entire group on the second.
    In August 1943, Stewart was assigned to the 445th Bomb Group as operations officer of the 703d Bombardment Squadron, but after three weeks became its commander.
    More Details Hide Details On October 12, 1943, judged ready to go overseas, the 445th Bomb Group staged to Lincoln Army Airfield, Nebraska. Flying individually, the aircraft first flew to Morrison Army Airfield, Florida, and then on the circuitous Southern Route along the coasts of South America and Africa to RAF Tibenham, Norfolk, England.
    He was promoted to captain on July 9, 1943, and appointed a squadron commander.
    More Details Hide Details To Stewart, now 35, combat duty seemed far away and unreachable, and he had no clear plans for the future. However, a rumor that Stewart would be taken off flying status and assigned to making training films or selling bonds called for immediate action, because what he dreaded most was "the hope-shattering spectre of a dead end". Stewart appealed to his commander, 30-year-old Lt. Col. Walter E. Arnold Jr., who understood his situation and recommended Stewart to the commander of the 445th Bombardment Group, a B-24 Liberator unit that had just completed initial training at Gowen Field and gone on to final training at Sioux City Army Air Base, Iowa.
    Instead, he was assigned in early 1943 to an operational training unit, the 29th Bombardment Group at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, as an instructor.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1942
    Age 33
    Stewart was concerned that his expertise and celebrity status would relegate him to instructor duties "behind the lines". His fears were confirmed when, after his promotion to first lieutenant on July 7, 1942, he was stationed from August to December 1942 at Kirtland Army Airfield in Albuquerque, New Mexico, piloting AT-11 Kansans used in training bombardiers.
    More Details Hide Details He was transferred to Hobbs Army Airfield, New Mexico, for three months of transition training in the four-engine B-17 Flying Fortress, then sent to the Combat Crew Processing Center in Salt Lake City, where he expected to be assigned to a combat unit.
    In early 1942, Stewart was asked to appear in a film to help recruit the 100,000 airmen the USAAF anticipated it would need to win the war.
    More Details Hide Details The USAAF's First Motion Picture Unit shot scenes of Lieutenant Stewart in his pilot's flight jacket and recorded his voice for narration. The short propaganda film Winning Your Wings appeared nationwide beginning in late May and was very successful, resulting in 150,000 new recruits.
    Stewart received his commission as a second lieutenant on January 19, 1942, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, while a corporal at Moffett Field, California.
    More Details Hide Details He also received a pilot rating, although the circumstances are unclear, since he did not participate in the standard pilot training program. Stewart's first assignment was an appearance at a March of Dimes rally in Washington, D.C., but Stewart wanted assignment to an operational unit rather than serving as a recruiting symbol. He applied for and was granted advanced training in multi-engine aircraft. Stewart was posted to nearby Mather Field to instruct in both single- and twin-engine aircraft. Public appearances by Stewart were limited engagements scheduled by the Army Air Forces. "Stewart appeared several times on network radio with Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, he performed with Orson Welles, Edward G. Robinson, Walter Huston and Lionel Barrymore in an all-network radio program called We Hold These Truths, dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights."
  • 1941
    Age 32
    Nearly two years before the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Stewart had accumulated over 400 hours of flying time.
    More Details Hide Details Considered a highly proficient pilot, he entered a cross-country race as a co-pilot in 1939. Stewart, along with musician/composer Hoagy Carmichael, saw the need for trained war pilots, and joined with other Hollywood celebrities to invest in Thunderbird Field, a pilot-training school built and operated by Southwest Airways in Glendale, Arizona. This airfield became part of the United States Army Air Forces training establishment and trained more than 10,000 pilots during World War II.
    Stewart subsequently attempted to enlist in the Air Corps, but still came in underweight, although he persuaded the enlistment officer to run new tests, this time passing the weigh-in, with the result that Stewart enlisted and was inducted in the Army on March 22, 1941.
    More Details Hide Details He became the first major American movie star to wear a military uniform in World War II. Stewart enlisted as a private but applied for an Air Corps commission and pilot rating as both a college graduate and a licensed commercial pilot. Soon to be 33, he was almost six years beyond the maximum age restriction for aviation cadet training, the normal path of commissioning for pilots.
  • 1940
    Age 31
    In October 1940, Stewart was drafted into the United States Army but was rejected for failing to meet the weight requirements for his height for new recruits—Stewart was five pounds (2.3 kg) under the standard.
    More Details Hide Details To get up to 143 pounds, he sought out the help of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's muscle man and trainer Don Loomis, who was noted for his ability to help people add or subtract pounds in his studio gymnasium.
    Stewart was drafted in late 1940, a situation that coincided with the lapse in his MGM contract, marking a turning point in Stewart's career, with 28 movies to his credit at that point.
    More Details Hide Details Stewart's family on both sides had deep military roots, as both grandfathers had fought in the Civil War, and his father had served during both the Spanish–American War and World War I. Stewart considered his father to be the biggest influence on his life, so it was not surprising that, when another war came, he too was eager to serve. Members of his family had previously been in the infantry, but Stewart chose to become a flier. An early interest in flying led Stewart to gain his Private Pilot certificate in 1935 and Commercial Pilot certificate in 1938. He often flew cross-country to visit his parents in Pennsylvania, navigating by the railroad tracks.
    In 1940 Stewart and Sullavan reunited for two films.
    More Details Hide Details The first, the Ernst Lubitsch romantic comedy, The Shop Around the Corner, starred them as co-workers unknowingly involved in a pen-pal romance but who cannot stand each other in real life. It was Stewart's fifth film of the year and one of the rare ones shot in sequence; it was completed in only 27 days. The Mortal Storm, directed by Frank Borzage, was one of the first blatantly anti-Nazi films to be produced in Hollywood and featured Sullavan and Stewart as friends and then lovers caught in turmoil upon Hitler's rise to power, literally hunted down by their own friends. Stewart also starred with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in George Cukor's classic The Philadelphia Story (1940). His performance as an intrusive, fast-talking reporter earned him his only Academy Award in a competitive category (Best Actor, 1941); he beat out his good friend Henry Fonda (The Grapes of Wrath). Stewart thought his performance "entertaining and slick and smooth" but lacking the "guts" of "Mr. Smith". Stewart gave the Oscar statuette to his father, who displayed it for many years in a case inside the front door of his hardware store, alongside other family awards and military medals.
  • 1939
    Age 30
    Destry Rides Again, also released in 1939, became Stewart's first western film, a genre with which he would become identified later in his career.
    More Details Hide Details In this western parody, he is a pacifist lawman and Marlene Dietrich is the dancing saloon girl who comes to love him, but does not get him. Off-screen, Dietrich did get her man, but the romance was short-lived. Made for Each Other (1939) had Stewart sharing the screen with Carole Lombard in a melodrama that garnered good reviews for both stars, but did less well with the public. Newsweek wrote that they were "perfectly cast in the leading roles". Between movies, Stewart began a radio career and became a distinctive voice on the Lux Radio Theater's The Screen Guild Theater and other shows. So well-known had his slow drawl become that comedians began impersonating him.
    Stewart took a secret trip to Europe to take a break and returned home in 1939 just as Germany invaded Poland.
    More Details Hide Details
    Upon its October 1939 release, the film garnered critical praise and became a box-office success.
    More Details Hide Details Stewart received the first of five Academy Award nominations for Best Actor. Stewart's father was still trying to talk him into leaving Hollywood and its sinful ways and to return to his home town to lead a decent life.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1938
    Age 29
    Stewart began a successful partnership with director Frank Capra in 1938, when he was loaned out to Columbia Pictures to star in You Can't Take It With You.
    More Details Hide Details Capra had been impressed by Stewart's minor role in Navy Blue and Gold (1937). The director had recently completed several popular movies, including It Happened One Night (1934), and was looking for the right actor to suit his needs—other recent actors in Capra's films such as Clark Gable, Ronald Colman, and Gary Cooper did not quite fit. Not only was Stewart just what he was looking for, but Capra also found Stewart understood that prototype intuitively and required very little directing. Later Capra commented, "I think he's probably the best actor who's ever hit the screen." You Can't Take It With You, starring Capra's "favorite actress", comedian Jean Arthur, won the 1938 Best Picture Academy Award. The following year saw Stewart work with Capra and Arthur again in the political comedy-drama Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Stewart replaced intended star Gary Cooper in the film, playing an idealist thrown into the political arena.
    In 1938 Stewart had a brief, tumultuous romance with Hollywood queen Norma Shearer, whose husband, Irving Thalberg, head of production at MGM, had died two years earlier.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1936
    Age 27
    In 1936, he acquired big-time agent Leland Hayward, who would eventually marry Sullavan.
    More Details Hide Details Hayward started to chart Stewart's career, deciding that the best path for him was through loan-outs to other studios.
    On the romantic front, he dated newly divorced Ginger Rogers. The romance soon cooled, however, and by chance Stewart encountered Margaret Sullavan again. Stewart found his footing in Hollywood thanks largely to Sullavan, who campaigned for Stewart to be her leading man in the 1936 romantic comedy Next Time We Love.
    More Details Hide Details She rehearsed extensively with him, having a noticeable effect on his confidence. She encouraged Stewart to feel comfortable with his unique mannerisms and boyish charm and use them naturally as his own style. Stewart was enjoying Hollywood life and had no regrets about giving up the stage, as he worked six days a week in the MGM factory.
    After having mixed success in films, he received his first intensely dramatic role in 1936's After the Thin Man, and played Jean Harlow's character's frustrated boyfriend in the Clark Gable vehicle Wife vs. Secretary earlier that same year.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1934
    Age 25
    Aside from an unbilled appearance in a Shemp Howard comedy short called Art Trouble in 1934, his first film was the poorly received Spencer Tracy vehicle, The Murder Man (1935).
    More Details Hide Details Rose Marie (1936), an adaptation of a popular operetta, was more successful.
    By 1934, he was given more substantial stage roles, including the modest hit Page Miss Glory and his first dramatic stage role in Sidney Howard's Yellow Jack, which convinced him to continue his acting career.
    More Details Hide Details However, Stewart and Fonda, still roommates, were both struggling. In the fall of 1934, Fonda's success in The Farmer Takes a Wife took him to Hollywood. Finally, Stewart attracted the interest of MGM scout Bill Grady who saw Stewart on the opening night of Divided by Three, a glittering première with many luminaries in attendance, including Irving Berlin, Moss Hart and Fonda, who had returned to New York for the show. With Fonda's encouragement, Stewart agreed to take a screen test, after which he signed a contract with MGM in April 1935, as a contract player for up to seven years at $350 a week. Upon Stewart's arrival by train in Los Angeles, Fonda greeted him at the station and took him to Fonda's studio-supplied lodging, next door to Greta Garbo. Stewart's first job at the studio was as a participant in screen tests with newly arrived starlets. At first, he had trouble being cast in Hollywood films owing to his gangling looks and shy, humble screen presence.
  • 1932
    Age 23
    The play was a moderate success, but times were hard. Many Broadway theaters had been converted to movie houses and the Depression was reaching bottom. "From 1932 through 1934", Stewart later recalled, "I'd only worked three months.
    More Details Hide Details Every play I got into folded."
    The troupe had previously included Henry Fonda and Margaret Sullavan. Stewart and Fonda became great friends over the summer of 1932 when they shared an apartment with Joshua Logan and Myron McCormick.
    More Details Hide Details When Stewart came to New York at the end of the summer stock season, which had included the Broadway tryout of Goodbye Again, he shared an apartment with Fonda, who had by then finalized his divorce from Sullavan. Along with fellow University Players Alfred Dalrymple and Myron McCormick, Stewart debuted on Broadway in the brief run of Carry Nation and a few weeks later – again with McCormick and Dalrymple – as a chauffeur in the comedy Goodbye Again, in which he had two lines. The New Yorker noted, "Mr. James Stewart's chauffeur... comes on for three minutes and walks off to a round of spontaneous applause."
    Stewart performed in bit parts in the Players' productions in Cape Cod during the summer of 1932, after he graduated.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TEENAGE
  • 1928
    Age 19
    However, he abandoned visions of being a pilot when his father insisted that instead of the United States Naval Academy he attend Princeton University. Stewart enrolled at Princeton in 1928 as a member of the class of 1932.
    More Details Hide Details He excelled at studying architecture, so impressing his professors with his thesis on an airport design that he was awarded a scholarship for graduate studies; but he gradually became attracted to the school's drama and music clubs, including the Princeton Triangle Club. His acting and accordion talents at Princeton led him to be invited to the University Players, an intercollegiate summer stock company in West Falmouth, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. The company had been organized in 1928 and would run until 1932, with Joshua Logan, Bretaigne Windust and Charles Leatherbee as directors.
  • 1927
    Age 18
    A shy child, Stewart spent much of his after-school time in the basement working on model airplanes, mechanical drawing and chemistry—all with a dream of going into aviation. It was a dream greatly enhanced by the legendary 1927 flight of Charles Lindbergh, whose progress 19-year-old Stewart, then stricken with scarlet fever, was himself avidly following from home; thus foreshadowing his starring movie role as Lindbergh 30 years later.
    More Details Hide Details
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1908
    Born
    Stewart was born on May 20, 1908, in Indiana, Pennsylvania, the son of Elizabeth Ruth Jackson (1875–1953) and Alexander Maitland Stewart (1871–1961), who owned a hardware store.
    More Details Hide Details Stewart was mainly of Scottish ancestry and was raised as a Presbyterian. He was descended from veterans of the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the American Civil War. The eldest of three children (he had two younger sisters, Virginia and Mary), he was expected to continue his father's business, which had been in the family for three generations. His mother was an excellent pianist but his father discouraged Stewart's request for lessons. When his father accepted a gift of an accordion from a guest, young Stewart quickly learned to play the instrument, which became a fixture offstage during his acting career. As the family grew, music continued to be an important part of family life. Stewart attended Mercersburg Academy prep school, graduating in 1928. He was active in a variety of activities. He played on the football and track teams, was art editor of the KARUX yearbook, and a member of the choir club, glee club, and John Marshall Literary Society. During his first summer break, Stewart returned to his hometown to work as a brick loader for a local construction company and on highway and road construction jobs where he painted lines on the roads. Over the following two summers, he took a job as an assistant with a professional magician. He made his first appearance onstage at Mercersburg, as Buquet in the play The Wolves.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
All data offered is derived from public sources. Spokeo does not verify or evaluate each piece of data, and makes no warranties or guarantees about any of the information offered. Spokeo does not possess or have access to secure or private financial information. Spokeo is not a consumer reporting agency and does not offer consumer reports. None of the information offered by Spokeo is to be considered for purposes of determining any entity or person's eligibility for credit, insurance, employment, housing, or for any other purposes covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)