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James Stewart

Academy Award-winning American film and stage actor, best known for his self-effacing screen persona

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One of the most successful and enduring careers in the history of motion pictures.

  • Oct 24, 2009
Rating:
+5
Just take a look at the body of work.  Before turning to the big screen in 1935 James Stewart (from hereonin I will call him "Jimmy") was already an accomplished Broadway perfomer.  Over the next four decades he would appear in more than six dozen feature films and turn in some of the most memorable acting performances in the history of the movies.  For me, what was most impressive about Jimmy Stewart was that he appeared equally at ease in westerns, comedy or in a dramatic role.  He was always in demand by some of the most noted directors in Hollywood including Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Billy Wilder and Anthony Mann.   And from what I have read to a man they all loved working with him.  

Film historians tell us was that what made Jimmy Stewart so darn popular was that he was really "everyman", someone that audiences could immediately identify with and relate to.  And it certainly didn't hurt that Stewart was also a decorated war hero serving as a combat pilot in Europe during World War II.  Just take a look at the impressive number of award-winning movies that Jimmy Stewart appeared in.  The list includes such classics as "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", "The Shop Around The Corner" (precursor to "You've Got Mail"), "The Glenn Miller Story", "The Philadelphia Story", "Harvey""Vertigo""It's A Wonderful Life" and "Rear Window".  Now I have no credentials as a film critic but to me Stewart's engrossing performance in "Rear Window" is the best acting performance I have ever seen in a movie.  A simply incredible job!  Although nominated for "Best Actor" five times in his career Jimmy Stewart was only able to snag one Academy Award for his role in the 1940 film "The Philadelphia Story".  How did that happen?  It seems that Hollywood attempted to correct this oversight when in 1984 they awarded Jimmy Stewart an Honorary Oscar for "his fifty years of memorable performances, for his high ideals both on and off the screen, with respect and affection of his colleagues."

Jimmy Stewart passed away in 1997 at the ripe old age of 89.  He will forever be remembered as one of the most important leading men in motion picture history joining his contemporaries Henry Fonda, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne and Cary Grant.  It seems that I almost always enjoy any film that he appears in.   Sad to say but we probably never see the likes of him again. Very highly recommended!
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October 24, 2009
I like Jimmy Stewart in almost anything. His "everyday man" appeal was so appealing and he could do just about anythng. I especially like him in "Rear Window, "The Glenn Miller Story" and "It's a Wonderful Life. He had a lot of chemistry on screen and made it look so natual....he also made his leading ladies shine. Also, there was never anything derogatory printed about his personal life once he settled down and married Gloria. We need more like him, but I can't think of anyone who could take his place. Good review.
 
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Quick Tip by . July 25, 2010
Jimmy Stewart certainly was someone who represented the 30's and 40's well.
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Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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About this actor

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James Stewart was the movies' quintessential Everyman, a uniquely all-American performer who parlayed his easygoing persona into one of the most successful and enduring careers in film history. On paper, he was anything but the typical Hollywood star: Gawky and tentative, with a pronounced stammer and a folksy "aw-shucks" charm, he lacked the dashing sophistication and swashbuckling heroism endemic among the other major actors of the era. Yet it's precisely the absence of affectation which made Stewart so popular; while so many other great stars seemed remote and larger than life, he never lost touch with his humanity, projecting an uncommon sense of goodness and decency which made him immensely likable and endearing to successive generations of moviegoers.

Born May 20, 1908, in Indiana, PA, Stewart began performing magic as a child. While studying civil engineering at Princeton University, he befriended Joshua Logan, who then headed a summer stock company, and appeared in several of his productions. After graduation, Stewart joined Logan's University Players, a troupe whose membership also included Henry Fonda and Margaret Sullavan. He and Fonda traveled to New York City in 1932, where they began winning small roles in Broadway productions including Carrie Nation, Yellow Jack, and Page Miss Glory. On the recommendation of Hedda Hopper, MGM scheduled a screen test, and soon Stewart was signed to a long-term contract. He first appeared onscreen in a bit role in the ...

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