← Back Published on

National Today

Disclaimer: This is the paid article for the "National Today".

Fast Facts

  • Full Name: James Maitland Stewart
  • Profession: Actor
  • Nickname: Jimmy 
  • Age: 89 (As of 1997)
  • D.O.B: May 20, 1908
  • Death Date: July 2, 1997
  • Zodiac Sign: Taurus
  • Height: 75.2 Inches
  • Birthplace: U.S.
  • Net worth: $85 million (As of 1997)
  • Relationship status: Widow (As of 1997)

James Stewart — May 20

<<Google Teaser>>

Are you a big movie fan? Then you would probably want to dive into the facts about James Stewart, one of the greatest actors of all time, who, besides successful on-stage career, has gained notable accolades on the battlefields too.


James Stewart, born May 2020, 1908, started his acting career as a stage actor in 1932, which soon was followed by his first ever film role in Tim Whelan’s picture “The Murder Man”. This was the beginning of a great career of James Stewart, that includes 102 acting credits and a great number of awards including one Academy Awards win and five nominations. Rather magnificent is his contribution in defeating the evil during WW2, where he served as an Army Major from 1941 till the end of the war and later

transferred into the United States Air Force, further participating in Korean and Vietnam wars.


For this talented award-winning actor, director, producer not even the sky was the limit, because he served as the military pilot.


James Stewart is one of the biggest names Hollywood has ever seen, widely considered as the greatest American male actors of all time. Stewart was the example of a successful role model, who has always managed to sort his priorities right. Stewart was born on May 20, 1908, in Indiana, Pennsylvania. His zodiac sign was Taurus. He was of Scottish and Scotch-Irish ancestry. Stewart was the eldest child and the only son of Alexander Maitland Stewart and Elizabeth Ruth (nee: Jackson). Stewart started his acting career while studying at Princeton University and after graduating advanced as a stage actor. In 1935 he landed his first ever Hollywood role in crime-drama film “The Murder Man”, which opened the door for further success, resulting in the casting in seven other movies in the span of one year.

By 1938 Steward had played in 14 movies but still was considered to be a minor star among Hollywood's brightening stardom. However, the breakthrough in his career came when he played in Frank Capra’s comedy “You Can’t Take It with You” in 1938 and in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” in 1939. His portrayal of an idealized American man who advances as the senator in the former, has earned him his first of five Academy Awards nominations in 1940, followed by the second nomination and first win of this prestigious award in 1941.

In 1941 when the U.S. was engaged in WW2, Stewart swapped his acting requisites into an Army Combat Uniform, becoming the first major American Movie Star to be drafted in the army. His family had deep military roots: both of his grandparents served in the American Civil War and his father served in the Spanish-American War and WW1. At first Stewart was afraid that his fame would relegate him behind the front lines, however, this didn’t become the case. He was first stationed in New Mexico, then transferred to

England and finally to Germany in 1944. For his participation in the “European Theater of Operations” he received rank of Army Major and several other accolades, including “Distinguished Flying Cross” from the U.S. Army and “Croix de Guerre” from the French Army.
After the end of the war Stewart got back to acting, getting his third Academy Awards nomination for the leading role in Christmas Classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” in 1946. However, he still remained active in military career, transferring from the Army to Air Forces. From 1946 to 1970 he acted in almost 50 different pictures, including notable collaborations with Alfred Hitchkok for the movies like Rope (1948), Rear Window (1954), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) and Vertigo (1958), accumulated two more Academy Award Nominations, three Golden Globe Nominations and one win, two BAFTA nominations and participated in Korean and Vietnam Wars. James Stewart was quite adventurous in his personal life too. Margaret Sullavan, with whom Stewart has collaborated several times on screen, was his first celebrity crush. Stewart has dated other high-profile Hollywood Stars like Ginger Rogers, Norma Shearer, Loretta Young, Marlene Dietrich, Olivia de Havilland, Myrna Dell and others before getting married in his forties to his one and only wife Gloria Hatrick McLean in 1949. They remained married until the death of Gloria in 1994, three years before James’s death.
Career and life of James Stewart was full of wonderful and adventurous moments. He was a great actor and the great patriot of his country, who deserved all the success, respect and love that he has now. For all his achievements in Filmography and his ‘Fifty years of Memorable Performances’ he was awarded with a Honorary Academy Awards in 1985.



[[Stewart Starts His Career As a Stage Actor, Landing His First Ever Acting Role In The Play “Carry Nation”]]
He began his acting career with his role as Constable Gano in the play “Carry Nation” at Biltmore Theater. He remained active in stage acting until 1935, playing in seven more plays at different theaters of Broadway.


[[He Lands His First Hollywood Role]]

In 1935 he got the minor role in crime-drama film “The Murder Man”, which became the cornerstone for his further success, opening the door for seven other movies from 1935 to 1936.


[[Stewart Gets His First Academy Awards Win ]]

In 1940 Stewart received the first of five Academy Awards Nominations for his role in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”. He came as a runner-up for the award, but after a year he won his first Academy Award for the leading role in “The Philadelphia Story”.


[[Stewart Gets Drafted in the U.S. Army in the midst of WW2]]

In 1941 Stewart Joined the army, becoming the first American actor to join the army. Alongside his successful acting career, he, furthermore, succeeded in Military Career becoming the Major of the U.S. Army and then transferring into the Air Force.


[[After the End of the War He Gets Back to Acting Career]]

After the war Stewart got back to acting, earning three more Academy Awards nominations, two BAFTA nominations and one Golden Globe Awards

win. Besides, he worked on the legendary pictures like “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) and “Vertigo” (1958).


[[Stewart Gets Married]]

In 1949 Stewart put an end to his rather adventurous personal affairs with fellow Hollywood Stars after marrying the actress and the model - Gloria Hatrick McLean, with whom Stewart has spent the entire of his life.


[[Honorary Academy Awards]]

Stewart received his Honorary Academy Awards in 1985 ‘For his fifty years of memorable performances, for his high ideals both on and off the screen, with respect and affection of his colleagues.’

<<5 Surprising Facts>>

{{James graduated from Princeton with a degree in Architecture}}

When Stewart graduated from Princeton in 1932, it was not the best period for U.S. history as the Great Depression was in its peak, resulting in the recession of workplaces and job opportunities. This was the core reason Stewart decided to pursue a career in acting. And it played out for him too!

{{Stewart kept his Oscar in ... Hardware Store}}

Yes, you didn’t misread it. For many actors it might be the pinnacle of their careers but Stewart had a very different opinion about his well-deserved award. After winning the Oscars for his role in “The Philadelphia Story” he decided to store the award in his father’s hardware store for 25 years.

{{He had Private and Commercial Pilot Licenses}}

It is not common that a person can be talented in so many fields of expertise, but Stewart never ceased to amaze us. In 1935 he got his Private Pilot License, often flying from Los Angeles to Pennsylvania to visit his parents. In 1938 he took his expertise onto the next level by obtaining

Commercial Pilot License, enabling him to fly a commercial airline.

{{At first he was rejected by the U.S. Army for being too light}}

You might have heard of Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America getting rejected several times by U.S. Army for being too light for a soldier but James Stewart has gone through the same fate too. He was rejected by the Army twice, but after the series of Personal Training he made the minimum weight, without being turned into a Super-Soldier.

{{He didn’t think he deserved his Academy Award}}

At this point we start thinking that Jimmy Stewart had some personal beef with the Academy Awards. First, storing the award in the hardware shop and now this! However, his thinking was of good deeds, believing that his good friend and former roommate Henry Fonda deserved it more for his role in “Grapes of Wrath”. Wonderful screen adaptation of Steinbeck’s evenly wonderful book, but we would love to think that they were equally great.

<<Why We Love>>

{{He became inspiration for new generation of actors}}

Academy Awards winning actors like Gary Oldman and Daniel Day-Lewis considered James Stewart to be inspirational for their respective careers.

{{He is the true definition of a real friend}}

We already said how he didn’t consider himself as a worthy candidate for the Oscars in 1941, giving the actual credit to his good friend Henry Fonda. However, in 1961 Stewart accepted his friend Gary Cooper’s Honorary Academy Awards for Lifetime Achievement, who at that time was battling the Cancer.

{{He loved his life simple}}

Even though Stewart was one of the highest paid actors of Hollywood, he was acting just a “regular guy” avoiding the spotlight of media, expensive clothes and fancy cars.


{{Has James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan dated?}}

No. Even though Stewart had feelings towards Sullavan, he never revealed them to her, which preserved their chance of being together. Sullavan is considered to have had a huge influence on his acting career and has served as his mentor in Hollywood during his early career days.

{{Has Stewart raised to stardom from the beginning?}}

No. At first he was considered to be a B-Rated Actor, landing only minor roles in Hollywood movies. However, he had a breakthrough in 1938 when he worked on Capra's comedy “You Can’t Take It with You”.

{{Has Stewart tried himself in poetry?}}

Actually, Yes. In 1989 he published a small book “Jimmy Stewart and His Poems” that contained not only the poems, but also the anecdotes and short stories how each of these poems were created.