Why Famous: James Stewart was known for his distinctive drawl and down-to-earth persona, and for portraying the average American middle class man, facing life's everyday struggles.
Stewart's first big role was in Frank Capra's You Can't Take It With You" in 1938. He went on to be nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one for "The Philadelphia Story" (1940). Other notable films include Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" opposite Grace Kelly "Vertigo" and Frank Capra's Mr. "Smith Goes to Washington".
Stewart joined the US army in March 1941 as a private and was promoted to second lieutenant in 1942. He was the first Hollywood star in uniform in WWII. Stewart appeared in a number of promotional films and appearances for the army to encourage the war effort in the US.
Anxious to see active service, Stewart was eventually assigned to the 445th Bomb Group in 1943. Stewart, a pilot, flew in missions over Germany in 1943 and 1944 and was promoted to major then colonel by the end of the war in Europe.
Stewart's comeback Hollywood film was Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" in 1946, now regarded as a Christmas classic and Stewart's own personal favourite film.
- 1949-08-09 Film and stage actor Jimmy Stewart (41) weds former model Gloria Hatrick McLean (31) at the Brentwood Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles
- 1938-08-23 "You Can’t Take It With You" from the play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, directed by Frank Capra and starring James Stewart and Jean Arthur premieres. Best Picture (1939)
- 1939-10-17 "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", directed by Frank Capra and starring James Stewart and Jean Arthur, is released
- 1941-02-27 13th Academy Awards: "Rebecca", James Stewart & Ginger Rogers win
- 1941-03-22 James Stewart is inducted into the Army, becoming the first major American movie star to wear a military uniform in World War II
- 1944-03-22 American movie star Jimmy Stewart flies his 12th combat mission, leading the 2nd Bomb Wing in an attack on Berlin
- 1945-03-29 Movie star Jimmy Stewart is promoted to full colonel, one of the few Americans to rise from private to colonel in four years
- 1946-12-20 Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life" film premieres in New York, directed by Frank Capra, starring James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore
- 1950-12-20 "Harvey" starring James Stewart premieres in New York
- 1952-01-10 "The Greatest Show on Earth", directed and produced by Cecil B. DeMille, starring James Stewart and Carlton Heston, premieres in New York (Best Picture 1953)
- 1954-09-01 "Rear Window", directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly, is released
- 1958-05-09 "Vertigo", American film noir psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchock, starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, is released
- 1961-04-17 Jimmy Stewart accepts an honorary Oscar on behalf of his friend Gary Cooper, who is too ill to attend
- 1968-05-31 Movie star James Stewart retires from the US Air Force after 27 years of service
- 1985-05-23 President Ronald Reagan awards Jimmy Stewart the Presidential Medal of Freedom and promotes him to Major General on the Retired List