James Maitland Stewart was born on May 20 th 1908 in Indiana. At boarding school, young James enjoyed getting involved with all sorts of activities, and was a member of the football team and the drama club amongst other things. From 1928-1932, James went on to attend Princeton University, as his father had before him. Whilst studying architecture, he decided to join an amateur dramatics group.
His interest and amateur experience in acting led to Broadway roles after he graduated from Princeton, and in 1935 he moved to Hollywood after winning a contract with MGM. Here, he shared a place with Henry Fonda. Jimmy was soon enjoying roles in some of the classic movies of the day, including ‘The Murder Man’, ‘Rose Marie’, and ‘Small Town Girl’.
Jimmy continued to make hit movies over the next few years, with hits such as ‘Mr Smith goes to Washington’ which saw him receive an Oscar nomination, and ‘Philadelphia Story’ which earned him an academy award. James then decided to join the army, which made Hollywood history as he was the first actor to have done this. After being rejected for being underweight, he finally secured a place in the US Army Air Corps and served as a flight instructor. He was promoted in 1943 to the position of commander, and went on to receive a variety of highly honorable and coveted medals.
After the way, Jimmy went back to his glamorous Hollywood career, and went on to make one of his biggest movies – one that is still a much-loved classic today. ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ saw James receive another best actor Oscar nomination, and the movie went on to become a family favorite for decades, still retaining its magical feel today.James Stewart passed away on 2 nd July 1997 from a lung embolism in Los Angeles, but his reputation as an excellent actor and a brave individual is certain to keep his memory alive with fans all over the world.
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