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Jimmy Stewart, American film actor, was born 115 years ago today
Jimmy Stewart was born 115 years ago.
Stewart was a film and stage actor, known for his distinctive drawl voice and down-to-earth persona. Over the course of his career, he starred in many films widely considered classics. He was known for portraying the average American middle class man — with everyday life struggles.
Stewart starred in some of today’s best remembered films. They included collaborations with Frank Capra in You Can't Take It with You (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and, after World War II, It's a Wonderful Life (1946).
Other films includes The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), biopics (The Stratton Story (1949), The Glenn Miller Story (1954) and The Spirit of St. Louis (1957). Stewart also did several thrillers — most notably his frequent collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock — and even some screwball comedies.
Stewart was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one in competition and receiving one Lifetime Achievement award. Stewart was named the third greatest male screen legend in cinema history by the American Film Institute.
He was a major Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract star. He also had a noted military career and was a World War II and Vietnam War veteran, who rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the United States Air Force Reserve.
The actor 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."
In December, 1996, Stewart was due to have the battery in his pacemaker changed, but opted not to, preferring to let things happen naturally. In February, 1997, he was hospitalized for an irregular heartbeat. On June 25, a thrombosis formed in his right leg, leading to a pulmonary embolism seven days later.
Surrounded by his children on July 2, 1997, Stewart died at the age of 89 at his home in Beverly Hills, California.
Here, Stewart performs in Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” 1946