James Stewart – a ‘true regular guy’

 James Maitland Stewart

"I have my own rules and adhere to them. The rule is simple but inflexible. A James Stewart picture must have two vital ingredients: it will be clean and it will involve the triumph of the underdog over the bully." - James Stewart

James Maitland Stewart was born in Indiana on May 20th 1908. Although he first pursued a career as an architect, he was soon to become Jimmy Stewart a lovable, iconic, award-winning actor, starring in nearly a hundred movies from screwball comedies to dramas, from westerns to thrillers and working with such acclaimed directors as Frank Capra, Anthony Mann, Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger and Ernst Lubitsch.

Although Jimmy had already acted in such successful movies as ‘Wife vs. Secretary’ and After the Thin Man by 1936, his big breakthrough came with Frank Capra’s 1938 hit You Can’t Take It With You, in which he starred alongside Jean Arthur. His collaborations with Capra would make for some of his best movies – Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939) and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, a Christmas classic as popular today as in 1946, the year of its release.

In 1941, Jimmy won his first and only Best Leading Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of stuggling reporter Macaulay Connor, in the 1940 comedy The Philadelphia Story, also starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant.

 James Maitland Stewart

In 1948, Jimmy began a fruitful collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock in Rope. They went on to make three more movies together – Rear Window, in 1954, The Man Who Knew Too Much, in 1956 and, finally, Vertigo in 1958.

Jimmy kept busy throughout the 1960s, winning the New York Film Critics Circle Award for his performance as a skilful lawyer in Anatomy on a Murder (1959), in 1960 and working with John Ford in the western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) and with Robert Aldrich in The Flight of the Phoenix (1965).
 James Maitland Stewart

Over the next two decades Jimmy reprised his 1950 role as Elwood P. Dowd, an alcoholic whose best friend is a six feet three and a half inch rabbit in the adorable comedy Harvey and worked with Bette Davis for the first time in the TV movie Right of Way. Finally, in 1985, Jimmy was awarded an Honorary Academy Award ‘for his fifty years of memorable performances and for his high ideals both on and off the screen.’

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