Jimmy Stewart Death, Obituary – Jimmy Stewart’s death this morning saddens the club. All who knew him will miss this longtime club member.Jimmy Stewart, 89, a movie Olympian with an all-American image and worldwide appeal who helped define a national culture, died of cardiac arrest at his Los Angeles home yesterday. Stewart played real-life heroes and regular people, pioneers, lawmen, cowboys, military officers, politicians, businesspeople, reporters, fools, and wise men across five decades.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939), “The Spirit of St. Louis” (1957), and “The Glenn Miller Story” (1954) featured him as an idealistic young senator fighting the political establishment, Charles Lindbergh flying across the Atlantic, and Glenn Miller dying in a World War II plane crash. In “Anatomy of a Murder” (1959) and “The Greatest Show on Earth” (1952), he was a clever country lawyer who outwitted city slickers.(AP photo) In the 1950 film “Harvey,” James Stewart admires his 6-foot white rabbit pet.
He earned his first Oscar for playing magazine reporter Macauley Connors opposite Katharine Hepburn in “The Philadelphia Story” (1940). In 1985, he earned an honorary Oscar from the Academy. In “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” he said, “I wouldn’t give you two cents for all your fancy rules if behind them they didn’t have a little bit of plain, ordinary kindness and a little lookin’ out for the other fella.”
Stewart played the civic-minded but tortured George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1947), a Christmastime classic. He made over 75 films in the 1930s, the Golden Age of Hollywood, including mysteries, romances, comedies, and high drama. He starred opposite most of the top women. Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers, Jean Arthur, Carole Lombard, Joan Crawford, Claudette Colbert, Rosalind Russell, Grace Kelly, June Allyson, and Kim Novak.
He outlived most of the early stars, including Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, James Cagney, Fred Astaire, John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, and Henry Fonda. Stewart is remembered worldwide as the hero of Alfred Hitchcock suspense thrillers like “Rear Window” (1954), where he dangled from an apartment window ledge in New York’s Greenwich Village; a frontiersman riding the plains in a John Ford Western; or a basic Mr. Nice Guy, winning against the odds by virtue and hard work in a Frank Capra film.