Jimmy Stewart, known as “Hollywood’s Everyman” was born in Indiana, Pennsylvania in 1908.
His father ran the town hardware store, and he maintained links to his hometown throughout his life and career. His museum is located there. He earned a degree in architecture but followed his dreams to Hollywood during the Great Depression. He was nominated for two Oscars, and won one before WW II interrupted his career.
He served in the Army Air Corps as an instructor and squadron commander and returned after leading 20 missions as a decorated war hero. He finally achieved the rank of Brigadier General, the highest rank ever awarded an entertainer. He continued to work steadily and was nominated for the Oscar three more times, as well as received a special Oscar.
He was married for 45 years and lost a son in Vietnam. His signature role was as George Bailey in Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. He is widely recognized as one of America’s most beloved actors and received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1980 from the American Film Institute.
He died in 1997 at the age of 89.