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Jimmy Stewart

Biography | Filmography | Articles | Awards | Bibliography | Downloads | Poem | Image Credits | IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE | THE PHILADELPHIA STORY | MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON

He's my dad's favorite.
In his early years, Jimmy Stewart came to personify the Everyman.  His stuttered speech, long legs and clumsy hands seemed to give his characters a familiar quality with which most Americans could easily identify.  But he was never bumbling or blundering, and as he matured he began to take on more intense roles.  His later characters tended to be consumed rather than bewildered by their passions.  Nonetheless, he continued to radiate the wholesomeness of the boy-next-door and it is for this that he is best remembered.

"Hollywood dishes out too much praise for small things,'' Jimmy once said. "I won't let it get me, but too much praise can turn a fellow's head if he doesn't watch his step.''

Did you know that Jimmy Stewart made a musical? Yep. Back in the days when MGM was still trying to figure out what to do with him. Here's a poster from BORN TO DANCE (1936) with Eleanor Powell.

Memorable Quotations:

  • "I never met a dame yet that wasn't a nit-wit and a lump head." --as Guy Johnson in IT'S A WONDERFUL WORLD (1939).
  • "They're tame apples.  You don't have to shoot them." --as Guy Johnson in IT'S A WONDERFUL WORLD (1939).
  • "Now listen, stupid.  I've committed a few crimes here and there, but I'm no criminal." --as Guy Johnson in IT'S A WONDERFUL WORLD (1939).
  • "Lady, you're full of prunes." --as Guy Johnson in IT'S A WONDERFUL WORLD (1939).
  • "You see, if I had carried a gun, one of us might have got hurt - and it might have been me." --as Destry in DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (1939).
  • "I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you that I don't walk like a duck and I'm not bow-legged." --as Alfred Kralik in THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940).
  • Click here"You know, people seldom go to the trouble of scratching the surface of things to find the inner truth." --as Alfred Kralik in THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940) (a 58KB .WAV file).
  • "You certainly pick up American customs quickly.  I don't know . . . We meet one night and you say, 'How do you do? My names is Jones.  Will you marry me?' So we get married.  And then you say, 'How do you do? My name is Smith.  Will you give me a divorce?'" --as William Smith in COME LIVE WITH ME (1941).
  • "Now you listen to me.  Now it's perfectly all right for a couple of strangers to get married, but they've got to know each other before they get a divorce." --as William Smith in COME LIVE WITH ME (1941).
  • "I always thought that was sort of smart . . . for a firefly." --as William Smith in COME LIVE WITH ME (1941).
  • "You look nice. Will you marry me?" --as P.J McNeal in CALL NORTHSIDE 777 (1948).

With Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940). Jimmy played Macaulay Connor, a writer and (to earn a living) newspaper reporter who is sent to cover a high society marriage. He won his first and only Best Actor Oscar for this role. Overall, Jimmy was nominated five times for the honor.

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Last updated: October 19, 2010.
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