James Maitland Stewart, born on May 20, 1908 in Pennsylvania was polished at Mercersburg Academy where he participated in football and track, singing, the accordion play and actor. In 1929 entered Princeton where he studied architecture acted with the University Players.
Stewart moved around the northeastern U.S. during 1932, but as the Great Depression deepened he could not find work. In 1935 Steward and his friend Henry Fonda moved to Hollywood. His first film was Art Trouble in 1934 and he worked for MGM as a contract player. He began to rank high in big-profile roles including You Can't Take it With You in 1938, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington in 1939 and It's a Wonderful Life in 1946.
Stewart learned to fly in 1935 and was drafted in the Army in 1940. He rose to the rank of colonel in WWII both as an instructor in the U.S. and later on combat missions in Europe. In 1959 Stewart retired as a brigadier general. He has won the Distinguished Service Medal, The Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak leaf cluster, Armed Forces Reserve Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Stewart is one of Hollywood's long remember actors with this portrayals in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance in 1962, The Stratton Story in 1949, The Spirit of St. Louis in 1957 and for his thrillers with Alfred Hitchcock. Stewart continued working in into the 1990s and died at the age of 89 in 1997. He married Gloria Stewart on August 9, 1949 and they remained married until her death in 1994. They had four children.
Stewart was known for his soft spoken and polite demeanor. He had a recognizable drawl in his voice and often played honest individuals who are drawn into drama. Stewart was tall and very thin. Stewart is ranked as #10 on the Empire Magazine's Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time. Stewart won the Oscar for best actor in 1941 for The Philadelphia Story. Stewart was a proponent of the Boy Scouts of America and received the Silver Beaver award which is the highest honor to go to an adult scouter. He was a regular on the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and a recipient of Kennedy Center Honors in 1983.
Stewart retired in 1978 after making The Magic of Lassie. He experienced heart disease, deafness, senility and skin cancer. When his wife died in 1994 Stewart vowed to make no further public appearances. He spend most of his time in his bedroom only coming out for meals. Before his death he was hospitalized for a blood clot in his right knee and on July 2, 1997 Jimmy Stewart passed away due to cardiac arrest. He was 89.