|James Maitland Stewart
Birthplace: Indiana, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
1936 Hollywood Hotel
1937 Lux Radio Theatre
1937 Silver Theater
1938 Good News
1939 Gulf Screen Guild Theatre
1941 We Hold These Truths
1942 Plays For Americans
1942 This Is War
1945 Cavalcade Of America
1945 Theater Of Romance
1946 March Of Dimes
1946 Academy Award
1947 Guest Star
1947 It Pays To Be Ignorant
1947 The Fred Waring Show
1947 Family Theatre
1947 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre
1947 The Barbara Welles Show
1948 Philco Radio Time
1948 Radio Reader's Digest
1948 Bill Stern Colgate Sports Newsreel
1948 Camel Screen Guild Theatre
1949 The Lucky Strike Program
1949 Screen Director's Playhouse
1949 Sealtest Variety Theater
1949 The Bing Crosby Show
1950 The Tex and Jinx Show
1951 Stars In the Air
1952 Theater Guild On the Air
1952 Hollywood Star Playhouse
1953 The Bob Hope Show
1953 The Traitor Within
1953 The Six Shooter
1954 Bud's Bandwagon
1954 Fibber McGee and Molly
1954 The Edgar Bergen Show
1954 Hallmark Hall Of Fame
1956 The New Edgar Bergen Hour
1958 Biography In Sound
1959 The Jack Benny Program
1960 Hedda Hopper's Hollywood
Voice Of the Army
Next Time We Love
Wife Vs. Secretary
Small Town Girl
The Gorgeous Hussy
Born To Dance
After The Thin Man
The Last Gangster
Navy Blue and Gold
Of Human Hearts
The Shopworn Angel
You Can't Take It With You
Made For Each Other
Ice Follies of 1939
It's a Wonderful World
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Destry Rides Again
The Shop Around The Corner
The Mortal Storm
No Time For Comedy
The Philadelphia Story
Come Live With Me
Pot O' Gold
It's A Wonderful Life
Call Northside 777
(20th Century Fox)
On Our Mary Way
You Gotta Stay Happy
The Stratton Story
No Highway in the Sky
The Greatest Show on Earth
Bend of the River
The Naked Spur
The Glenn Miller Story
The Far Country
Strategic Air Command
The Man From Laramie
The Man Who Knew Too Much
The Spirit of St. Louis
Bell, Book and Candle
Anatomy of a Murder
The FBI Story
The Mountain Road
Two Rode Together
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation
How The West Was Won
Take Her, She's Mine
The Flight of the Phoenix
The Rare Breed
The Cheyenne Social Club
The Magic of Lassie
(International Picture Show Co.--1978)
The Big Sleep
A Tale of Africa
An American Tale: Fievel Goes West
Military Awards and Decorations:
During James Stewart's military career he was awared the following medals:
- Distinguished Service Medal
- Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster
- Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
- Army Commendation Medal
- American Defense Service Medal
- European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 Service Stars
- World War II Victory Medal
- Armed Forces Reserve Medal
- French Croix de Guerre with Palm
- Presidential Medal of Freedom
|Recounting James Stewart's biography and history would be a monumental task for any biographer. We can't presume to do better than his own home town's affectionate memories. We felt the following four obituaries, in particular, from Stewart's hometown and peers would most appropriately summarize this great man's life.
From the July 3, 1997 edition of the Indiana Gazette (Pennsylvania):
James M. Stewart
From Indiana to Hollywood,
one wonderful life
Legendary Hollywood actor
Jimmy Stewart dies at 89
By FRANK HOOD
For the Gazette
James Maitland Stewart, 89, Indiana County's most illustrious native, died at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., Wednesday from a lingering illness that triggered a blood clot in his lung.
Stewart, the only son and eldest child of Alex and Elizabeth "Bess" Jackson Stewart, was born May 20, 1908, in Indiana. Jimmy, as he was affectionately known, last visited his hometown with his wife, Gloria Hatrick McLean, in May 1983 during a three-day celebration that focused on the dedication of the nine-foot statue honoring him and his smalltown virtues. That statue stands in front of the Indiana County Court House.
He was the last surviving member of his family, having been preceded in death by his parents (his father also died at 89); his two sisters, Virginia Tiranoff and Mary Perry; his wife; and Ronald McLean, a son from Gloria's previous marriage, a Marine officer killed in Vietnam.
He is survived by his twin daughters, Judy Merrill and Kelly Harcourt, who represented their father in Indiana in May 1995 for the dedication of the Jimmy Stewart Museum. Also surviving is stepson Michael McLean.
As a youth in Indiana, Stewart worked in his father's hardware store and was active as a Boy Scout. He worked for Sam Gallo in the projection room of the Strand Theater in the Thomas Flat Building in the 700 block of Philadelphia Street, where he rewound the film, set the carbons in the carbon arc lamps, operated the hand-cranked projector, and placed a green slide in front of the projector for the-undervvater scenes in "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."
As a teen-ager, Stewart assisted his friend, Bill Neff, in the latter's magic shows. On Oct. 16, 1938, Stewart and Neff appeared on the stage of the Manos Theater for a 12-minute skit at the 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. shows. The duo often paired up with pianist Delos "Dutch" Campbell for other entertainment in the area.
Stewart learned to play the accordion with the help of a local Italian barber, arid there is a report of his having played the musical saw.
After attending the Model School at Indiana Normal School, now the University School at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Stewart continued 'his education in 1923 at Mercersburg Academy, where he was active in track and field events and lightweight football. He was art director of the yearbook, performed with his accordion, and was a member of the cast for the senior class play, "The Wolves."
In 1927, scarlet fever and a lingering kidney infection kept him home from Mercersburg.
That was the year Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic and Stewart, who had a love of flying, was captivated by the adventure.
The Indiana Evening Gazette office at that time was just across Philadelphia Street from the Stewart
Hardware store operated by Stewart's father. The younger Stewart kept up on Lindbergh's progress in the Gazette office, and then went back to the hardware store and moved a model plane closer to the Eiffel Tower in a New York-to-Paris display in the store window.
After graduating from Mercersburg in 1928, he entered Princeton University as an electrical engineering major, but switched to architecture. While at Princeton Stewart was active in the Triangle Club's musical productions. When he graduated in the summer of 1932 he was invited by fellow Princetonian Josh Logan to join the University Players in Falmouth, Conn., as a "resident accordionist."
That was followed by parts in Broadway shows, including a seven-week run of "Carrie Nation" and 216 performances of "Goodbye Again." In the spring of 1933 he played in "Spring in Autumn" and as an accordion player on Broadway in "All Good Americans."
His next big role on Broadway was that of Sergeant O'Hara in "Yellow Jack." Three more roles on Broadway ended his appearances on The Great White Way until 1947, when he returned to star in "Harvey."
In 1935 he headed for Hollywood to begin his career in films. Enrolled as an actor in the studio system, he had continuous employment and appeared in a variety of roles en route to stellar performances in films such as "You Can't Take It With You" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Many thought the latter, made in 1939, was of Academy Award stature, but the following year he won an Oscar for his role in "The Philadelphia Story."
His first feature film in Hollywood was "Murder Man," starring Spencer Tracy. That was followed by a bit role in "Rose Marie."
After Stewart appeared with Margaret Sullavan in "Next Time We Love," he was no longer a $350-a-week actor. He was of star stature and appeared in a variety of films including a musical, "Born to Dance."
It was his association with director Frank Capra in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and "You Can't Take it with You" that elevated Stewart to superstar status.
In March 1941, after learning he held a low number in the Selective Service draft and true to a family tradition of military service, Stewart enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force and put his acting career on hold for the duration of World War II.
His military career was no less outstanding than his acting career. He rose from private and retired as
a brigadier general, certified in every aircraft the Air Force had in the air. He retired from the Air Force Reserves in 1968.
During World War II he was commander for 20 missions over Europe, including 14 wing commands and one division lead. Among his military citations, Stewart received the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Flying Medal and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm.
He returned to the United States aboard the Queen Elizabeth in August 1945 and quietly returned to
Indiana to spend time with his family.
Stewart's homecoming was.documented by Life magazine with pictures showing him with his family and on the streets of Indiana. It was on this occasion that he appeared in his colonel's uniform on the cover of the Sept. 24, 1945, Life in a photograph that showed the "Welcome Jim" sign hung by his father from the clock tower of the 1870 Indiana County Courthouse.
On his return to Hollywood, Stewart joined with his friend Frank Capra for the making of "It's a Wonderful Life," the story of the difference one man can make in a small American community. The film was Stewart's favorite and one that has become a national tradition for viewing at Christmas.
His career skyrocketed as he played a wider variety of roles in numerous movies and on the small screen when he moved to television.
After his return to live theater on Broadway in 1947 in "Harvey, " he brought the story of the invisible rabbit to the screen.
He was in Indiana in 1948 to receive a Pennsylvania Ambassador award from Gov. James Duff in ceremonies in front of the courthouse. Ten years later, on the occasion of his 50th birthday, Stewart made a special pitch for the Boy Scouts in Indiana.
He returned in 1959 to participate in ceremonies dedicating the new Indiana County airport as The Jimmy Stewart Airfield.
On Sept. 13,1974, he was given an honorary doctor of letters degree at IUP's Centennial Convocation.
His most significant reception by the broader Indiana community was the three-day celebration for his 75th birthday arid his statue dedication.
Stewart made occasional visits to Indiana, many unannounced and unnoticed. It was traditional for him to come to town every year or so to purchase a new Packard automobile for his mother.
Throughout his career, he stayed close to the Indiana community, of which he said, "This is where my roots are."
He publicly acknowledged in a press conference here in 1983 that in addition to the influence of his grandfather and father, Dr. Frederick Hinitt, pastor of First Presbyterian Church (now Calvary Presbyterian), helped him develop the small-town virtues that had made him a personality known around the world as a man of integrity.
Funeral arrangements were not immediately known..
Reporter remembers Stewart
By BOB THOMAS
as a man of integrity
Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES He was everything you would want in a movie star: gentleman, war hero, devoted husband and father, actor with remarkable range.
In the cardboard world of Hollywood, Jimmy Stewart was a man of real integrity. He seemed to make no wrong moves. He could kid himself, as he regularly did in television visits with Johnny Carson and Carol Burnett. But he was dead serious about his responsibilities to his country and to his work.
To many film viewers, he seemed shy. He was not. About 25 years ago, I invited him to a dinner on the Queen Mary in Long Beach where the Associated Press Managing-Editors were convening. Thinking he might feel .uneasy at such an event, I assured him he needn't do anything but lend his presence. Stewart, of course, was the center of .attention. He greeted people cordially, and told me, "I think I'd like to be on the program." To my surprise, he not only made a very funny speech but also sang his signature number, "Ragtime Cowboy Joe." He had an audience, and he wasn't going to disappoint them.
In interviews over the years, he answered questions thoughtfully. He spoke amusingly of his, youth in Indiana, Pa., his life at Princeton, his stage years with Josh Logan, Henry Fonda and Margaret Sullavan, his big-studio adventures at MGM.
Always he spoke fondly of Gloria, his bright, un-Hollywood wife. She had no qualms about deflating the Stewart image. At a party one night, he started telling a story in his trademark faltering style "Now, dear," she chided, "don't talk like Jimmy Stewart."
Stewart admitted he had never thought about marriage until he was 40 "I was so busy and having so much fun." Then he met divorcee Gloria Hattrick McLean at a dinner party at Gary Cooper's house.
Jimmy and Gloria started playing golf together, and one day she remarked, "I enjoy the game, but are we just going to play golf or maybe you'll buy me a meal?"
He acquired a ready-made family when they married; Gloria had two sons. Stewart admitted that the transition from bachelorhood required adjustment: "I do remember Gloria saying when I came home from work, 'Did it occur to you during the day that you didn't say goodbye this morning?'"
Later came twin girls, and it seemed the Stewarts had an ideal existence. But, as with many American families, the Vietnam War brought tragedy. Their Marine son Ron died on the battlefield in 1969.
Stewart, a decorated World War II bomber commander who reached the rank of brigadier general in the Army Reserve, told me how he and Gloria viewed Ron's death: "It was a loss; we'll never forget the terrible loss. But it was not a tragedy. The strength, the patriotic feeling, the guts that went with the boy that takes the tragedy away."
When I spoke to him on his 80th birthday, he said quite candidly that he didn't expect to act any more. "I don't like the way I've grown old; I don't like my looks."
Gloria kept him busy. She took him on trips to Africa to observe the wildlife. At 85, he seemed to have slowed down, remarking that he had trouble with an infection caused by a pacemaker.
He admitted he missed making movies: "After 55 years and 80 pictures, I look back on it and say over and over again, 'What a wonderful time it was! What good fortune I had to work in that period!"
Bob Thomas has covered Hollywood for The Associated Press for more than 50 years.
Celebrities recall co-star, friend
Everyone had something to say about Jimmy Stewart, following his death Wednesday at age 89, Here are some reactions:
"He is the last of the-great leading men," said actor Robert Wagner, a longtime friend who was co-host of Stewart's charity road race. "He was a very kind, very generous person. Everybody who knew Jimmy is better off."
"Jimmy Stewart had a wonderful life, and there was no one more dear or more fun than he was," Doris Day, his co-star in "The Man Who Knew Too Much," said in a statement.
"America lost a national treasure today," President Clinton said, describing Stewart as "a great actor, a gentleman and a patriot."
Former President Ronald Reagan and wife, Nancy, Stewart's close friends who presented him with the
Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985, said in a statement that Stewart's modesty meant he "never really understood the greatness that others saw in him."
Kim Novak, his "Vertigo" costar, said Stewart was "one-of-a-kind." "Others would merely be copies.
He was my friend, my role model. He taught me that it was possible to remain who you are and not be
tainted by your environment:"
Frank Sinatra, who appeared with Stewart as a narrator in the 1974 documentary "That's Entertainment," called him "uniquely talented and a good friend." "I treasure wonderful memories of the time we spent togetherboth on and off the screen. I think of Jim with admiration and a special closeness that comes with 50 years of friendship."
To Charlton Heston, who starred with Stewart in "The Greatest Show on Earth" in 1952, Stewart was the "quintessential American." "He was deeply patriotic, deeply professional, a fine actor and, more important than any of those things, perhaps, he was a gentleman. That's kind of a rare creature these days."
Actor's hometown fans mourn loss
By MARY ANN SLATER
and RANDY WELLS
Gazette Staff Writers
It was silent in the lobby of The Jimmy Stewart Museum in downtown Indiana about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
No one was behind the museum's ticket booth and no one was in its front two galleries. The museum store was also quiet.
But in the back offices there was the low hum of voices and the constant ring of the telephone.
Jay Rubin, president of The James M. Stewart Museum Foundation, was trying to make an outgoing call.
"How can I get an outside line?" Rubin asked, the phone receiver in his hand. "I want to get out before the phone rings again."
But his efforts seemed pointless. Lines were jammed by callers from around the countryincluding an agent from the London-based Reuters news service all trying to learn more about the death of Indiana's favorite son, Jimmy Stewart.
Stewart died Wednesday at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Rubin and other museum officials made their way to the offices around 4 p.m., as soon as they learned about his death. By banding together, they hoped to learn more about Stewart's passing and give each other support and comfort.
"We are sad for his family, friends, colleagues and the citizens of Indiana," said Anthony Lenzi, executive director of the museum.
"An era" has passed. Jimmy Stewart was one of a kind in his era and in our era," Lenzi said. His passing will leave "a big hole in the rank of the heroes."
"He's a great American and great Americans will always be remembered," Rubin said when asked about Stewart's place in history.
As an actor and as a citizen, he embodied the virtues of trust, patriotism", hope, perseverance and sincerity, Rubin said. He was also a religious man who loved his family. .
"He was the personification of everything that was good in this country," Rubin said.
During a press conference in the early evening, Rubin said the museum won't mourn the passing of Stewart. Instead it plans to celebrate his life with screenings of his movies during this holiday weekend. There is no schedule for the screenings, a museum representative said this morning.
"We hope people will come here and express their feelings," Rubin said. "Jimmy Stewart will be missed. But he will live on as long as there are motion pictures and the ability to look back into history."
The museum will remain open, with hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Friday and Sunday. Information about Stewart also is available on the museum's Internet web site at www.jimmy.org
Rubin said a date will be selected for a memorial service when the entire community can show its affection and respect for Stewart:
"Our hearts go out to his three children, and to all of those who count him as friend, to all of his fans," he said.
"We hope that in the years to come, when they need to have that extra touch of Jimmy Stewart, that we will be here to provide that touch, and that we will fulfill our mission, which is even.more important now. That is to teach and educate new generations about a man with humble beginnings who became a great man." :
Linda Moore-Mack, a member of the museum board, was overcome with emotion Wednesday afternoon, shortly after learning about Stewart's death. She first met the actor in California in 1982 while she helped organize Indiana's celebration of his 75th birthday. Stewart and his wife, Gloria, now deceased, came back to Indiana to visit for the celebration in 1983.
"We were immediately made to feel at home," Moore-Mack remembered about her visit to Stewart's home. "Like he was one of us. Of course, he was one of us." Her voice cracked several times as she fought back tears.
Moore-Mack said Stewart was wonderful during his visit to Indiana. "He was a gentleman. He spent time with everyone who wanted to speak to him. A lot of people appreciate that we could share his roots."
Elinor Blair, a longtime friend of Stewart's, certainly appreciated knowing him. Blair grew up in a house on North Eighth Street, "just down the alley from the Stewart house," she said.
She was close friends with Jimmy's sisters. "I ran into him sometimes when I was with the girls."
Blair and Stewart got to know each other better later in life because her husband, Hall, and Jimmy were very close friends. As young boys the two had shared an interest in aviation, and they camped and built radios together.
The Blairs played host to Stewart when he visited Indiana in 1983.
"He was a very considerate houseguest," she said, recalling that Stewart and her husband talked about Hollywood and their boyhood days in Indiana as well as the Boy Scouts, education and religion.
"He was a very natural person, no airs of any kind," she said. "He could make anybody relax. He would never say anything unkind about anybody."
"I think he was a very tenderhearted person," Blair said, and remembered that Stewart once told her he always kept two dogs so neither would be lonely.
A few years after his last visit to Indiana, Stewart played host to the Blairs and some of his other Indiana friends at a cocktail party in Pittsburgh.
"I think we're going to value him for a long time," she said.
Nell Fish is another longtime fan who once met Stewart. Now 94, Fish lives in the house on South Seventh Street, Indiana, that was once occupied by Jimmy's grandparents.
"I've been a fan ever since we young people went to the movies," she said. "The Philadelphia Story" is her favorite Stewart film.
When Stewart returned to Indiana in 1983 for his 75th birthday celebration, Fish shook hands with the star and chatted briefly with him.
"He was so delighted," she said, to meet someone living in his grandparents' house.
State Sen. Patrick J. Stapleton, D-41st, and his father, Patrick Sr., had a restaurant for many years on Philadelphia Street, right across from the hardware store run by Stewart's father, Alex.
Stapleton said Jimmy used to visit the restaurant with Alex every time he came home from Hollywood. Jimmy was always plain and humble, the senator said, and always took the time to visit with the customers.
Stewart would rarely mention his life in Hollywood.
"He didn't come in for publicity," Stapleton said. "He just stopped to see his parents. He didn't want any fanfare."
Stapleton also remembered Stewart's visit to Indiana in 1983 and how during the celebration ceremonies, then-President Ronald Reagan called to extend his best wishes. During the phone call, several Air Force jets flew overhead.
Stapleton said that Stewart, in all humility, quipped, "there goes our tax dollars."
Mayor J.D. Varner has ordered the Indiana Borough flag to be flown at half-staff as Stewart's friends and fans mourn his death.
During a performing career of 60 years in Film, on Stage, over Radio and in Television, Jimmy Stewart set the same high standards he set during his twenty-six year career in the Air Force Reserve, retiring as a Brigadier General.
James Stewart's Radio career began with appearances in promotional Radio air trailer programs sponsored by the studios he was working for in Film. His first known acting appearance over Radio was in Hollywood Hotel (1936). Stewart was soon appearing in the finest drama and movie anthology programs of the era, including thirteen appearances in Lux Radio Theatre, eight appearances in Silver Theater, eight appearances in Screen Guild Theatre, an appearance in Radio's historic We Hold These Truths broadcast of December 15, 1941, an appearance in Arch Oboler's Plays for Americans, and countless appearances as himself in the popular variety programs during The Golden Age of Radio.
His first leading role in a recurring program of his own came with 1953's The Six Shooter, which aired for thirty-nine compelling episodes. The one common denominator of all of his appearances over Radio were the extraordinary anticipation built with each appearance. Jimmy Stewart's appearances over Radio were always met with prominent announcements in newspapers and magazines of the era.
He was unquestionably one of Radio's most beloved guest artists and his lone recurring lead in The Six Shooter series is a prized component of every serious vintage Radio collector throughout the world.
Jimmy Stewart was an American Treasure and his memory lives on through literally thousands of Radio recordings, movies, shorts, and Television recordings. The archetypal quiet American, Jimmy Stewart embodied the qualities that every American aspires to--and we're all the better for it.
"For He shall give His angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways"
--James Stewart's Epitaph