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Summary Article: Stewart, James (Maitland) from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US film actor. He was noted for his awkward, almost bemused screen presence, his hesitant, drawling delivery, and, in many of his film roles, his embodiment of traditional American values and ideals. His films included Mr Smith Goes to Washington (1939), The Philadelphia Story (1940), for which he won an Academy Award, and It's a Wonderful Life (1946).

Stewart made his Broadway debut 1932 and soon after worked in Hollywood. After World War II, moving away from the sentimental roles of the late 1930s, Stewart found himself presented with the opportunity to explore the darker side of human nature in his collaborations with directors Alfred Hitchcock and Anthony Mann, producing some of his most memorable work in such films as Winchester 73 (1950), The Naked Spur (1953), The Far Country (1954), Rear Window (1954), and Vertigo (1958).

Stewart studied architecture at Princeton University, where he befriended future film director Joshua Logan, who persuaded him to try his hand at acting. On graduating he joined Logan's theatre company, University Players, teaming up with actors Henry Fonda and Margaret Sullavan. As a film actor, he first rose to popularity during the Depression, the height of Hollywood's ‘Golden Era’ of studio film-making, and sustained his appeal for film audiences well beyond the decline of the studio system that had made him a star.

Among his other films are Harvey (1950), The Glenn Miller Story (1953), Anatomy of a Murder (1959), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1961), and The Shootist (1976). He was the recipient of the American Film Institute's life achievement award in 1980.

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Stewart, James (Maitland)

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Jimmy Stewart Museum

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