Whether you know him as Jimmy, James Stewart, or Brigadier General James Maitland Stewart, Jimmy Stewart was a legendary American actor whose career spanned more than 40 years. His biography is a classic American story: small town boy, movie star, decorated war hero and family man.
Jimmy Stewart's Biography and Work
U.S. Air Force
The man who portrayed so many iconic American characters had a thoroughly American life, from small town roots to stardom. Not a heartthrob like Cary Grant or Clark Gable, his all-American good looks and air of integrity brought him fame, fortune, friends and choice roles.
Read about Jimmy Stewart's life:Jimmy Stewart biography
Sample a list of Stewart's movies:9 Quintessential Jimmy Stewart Movies
Jimmy Stewart's Defining Roles
While his long career had many shining moments, there are two parts for which he'll always be remembered: the idealistic Senator fighting corruption in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
, and the small-town banker in the beloved holiday classic, It's a Wonderful Life
. Both are Frank Capra films, each a poem to the American dream and the virtues of small-town America. Stewart's ability to radiate decency and integrity made him perfect for the roles. (A close runner-up: his whimsical turn as the harmless town drunk with a six-foot invisible rabbit pal in Harvey
Read the review: 'It's a Wonderful Life'
Alfred Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart
After Capra, another of Stewart's great collaborations was with legendary British director Alfred Hitchcock, for whom he played decidedly darker roles. A murderer of ambiguous sexual orientation in Rope
; the obsessed, half-mad police detective of Vertigo
; an American doctor who stumbles on a Morrocan plot in The Man Who Knew Too Much
; and the voyeuristic photographer who suspects a neighbor of murder in Rear Window
Read the reviews: 'Vertigo' 'Rear Window'
Jimmy Stewart's Comedies and Romances
Stewart's gawky-yet-graceful body and his mobile, honest features made him a natural for light comedy and romance. Early on, he played the leads in You Can't Take It With You
and The Shop Around the Corner
, both successful stage plays before they were filmed. He enchanted a witch in Bell, Book and Candle,
and later played a bemused father in Take Her, She's Mine.
Read the review: 'The Shop Around the Corner'
Westerns and War Movies
Always at ease in cowboy gear, Stewart starred in many westerns - the first as the reluctant sheriff in the classic Destry Rides Again, opposite Marlene Dietrich's dance-hall girl. He did several westerns with director Anthony Mann (another of his frequent collaborators), including the dark Winchester '73 and The Man From Laramie. He played light-hearted western roles as well, notably in The Rare Breed and The Cheyenne Social Club. And it's not exactly a western, but his moving turn as a father whose family is torn apart by the Civil War in Shenandoah is not to be missed.
Biopics Starring Jimmy Stewart
Stewart played three real-life famous men on the screen, all with very different lives: Baseball player and amputee Monty Stratton in The Stratton Story; famed swing band leader Glenn Miller in The Glenn Miller Story; and the first man to fly the Atlantic solo, Charles Augustus Lindbergh, in The Spirit of St. Louis. All are inspiring hagiographies with little hint of controversy in the men's lives, but entertaining nonetheless.