May 20, 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania
July 2, 1997 in Beverly Hills, California
Also Known As:
James Stewart, James Maitland Stewart
Best Known For:
One of Hollywood's best loved stars
James Maitland Stewart was born in the home of his parents in Indiana, Pennsylvania, the only son of Alexander (Alex) Maitland Stewart and Elizabeth (Bessie) Ruth Jackson Stewart. His family also included two younger sisters, Virginia and Mary. Following in his father's footsteps, Jimmy graduated from Princeton in 1932.
Although he majored in architecture at Princeton, Jimmy Stewart began acting shortly after graduation. After a few stints with a summer theater in Massachusetts and on Broadway, he headed to Hollywood in 1935 and made 24 motion pictures in five years, including memorable roles in such classics as "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), The Philadelphia Story (1940), and the perennial favorite Its a Wonderful Life (1946).
Following in the military service of his grandfathers -- both Civil War veterans -- Jimmy Stewart enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1941, putting his acting career on hold to fly 25 bomber missions over enemy territory during World War II. He rose to the rank of colonel, carrying such decorations as the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Croix de Guerre. After the war Jimmy rose to the rank of brigadier general in the Air Force Reserves, before retiring from the military in 1968.
Honors & Accomplishments:
Nominated for five Academy Awards during his lifetime, Jimmy Stewart won the Oscar for Best Actor for The Philadelphia Story (1940). Other honors include the American Institute's Achievement Award in 1980, a special Academy Award in 1984, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985.