A hundred Star Wars movies may be released, and Marvel Studios may continue to produce the best superhero movies, but the fame of a Hollywood classic like It’s a Wonderful Life will always live on. The Christmas classic is one of the many extraordinary works from the full life of American actor and military officer James Maitland Stewart, better known as Jimmy Stewart. With a career that spanned 60 years in two main directions, he died an American icon. Here is a detailed look at the life of Jimmy Stewart from his childhood to his acting and military career.
Jimmy Stewart Biography
Jimmy Stewart was born in the early years of the 20th century (May 20, 1908) and landed in Indiana, Pennsylvania. He was born the son of parents who owned a hardware store. His education formally began at the Academy in Mercersburg, but he was already a skilled accordion player in his early days. His acting life began at school when he took part in school performances. Jimmy was one of those people who excelled in everything they did; he studied architecture at Princeton University and distinguished himself academically. His academic excellence earned him a scholarship to study, but Jimmy was a man who had his sights set on the performing arts.
There is nothing to suggest that Jimmy would not have excelled in a career as an architect, but he certainly would not have been the beloved icon he is today. His path to a life as a national icon began at Princeton University as a member of the Triangle Club. There he began to perform as a stage actor. After graduating, the man who found what he loved decided to pursue an acting career. In the same year after graduation, he made his Broadway debut and appeared in several other shows, but due to the depression that rocked the country at the time, many of the shows were canceled. The few that did manage to open up long enough for the critics to review them received much praise for Jimmy Stewart’s performances.
His growing reputation earned him a contract with the Hollywood film production company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1935. He struggled to find the love of the audience, although he appeared in a number of films. However, he achieved fame through his performance in You Can’t Take It With You. The film was a box office and critical hit and won the Oscar for best film. It was this film that made Stewart what he was to become, a star.
Over the course of his career, Stewart starred in over 80 films and had several radio appearances. During his life, he was nominated for four Oscar awards and won one.
In a career defined primarily by his exploits in front of the camera, Jimmy Stewart had a magic spell as a U.S. military officer during World War II. He applied to join the US Army Air Corps and became a pilot. This was something he always wanted to do, but his father never let him. Although in his early days as a military officer he never got to see much at the front lines, his national image facilitated the recruitment of many men for the army, so he had enough hands to win the war. After playing as a mascot for the army, Stewart was finally appointed a military officer. He rose to the rank of Air Force Colonel, and his military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The war ended, and he returned to his acting career after he had been somewhat hesitant because of the things he had experienced during the war. In 1946, he created It’s a Wonderful Life, and it is widely regarded as the most formative work of his career.
Jimmy Stewart died in 1997 after a short illness.
His Net Worth
His extensive career and a ton of commercially successful projects made Jimmy a rich man. Before his death, the star from Pennsylvania was worth $30 million. In addition to his movie revenues, he earned income from commercials and sponsorship contracts.
Jimmy’s Wife, Children, and Family
Jimmy, who is known for playing the average American middle-class man, tried to live as such; a simple life despite his fame and wealth. Although he was known as a playboy, Jimmy was always married to only one woman, Gloria Hatrick McLean. The couple married in 1949 and were together until Gloria’s death in 1994.
They had four children who biologically share twin daughters (Judy and Kelly) with Stewart, who adopted Gloria’s children (Michael and Ronald) from a previous relationship.
Height – How Tall Was He?
Jimmy Stewart was a tall, gangly and shy man when he was alive, he was 6 feet and 6 inches tall. The good-looking actor had body features that made the ladies faint, and before he married he was quite famous among the ladies.