Jimmy Stewart (May 20, 1908 - July 2, 1997) was a highly acclaimed American film and stage actor, best known for his homebred, idealistic screen persona. Over the course of his career, he starred in many films widely considered classics and was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one in competition and one life achievement Oscar.
Along with fellow screen icon James Cagney, Stewart became so familiar to American audiences that he was most often referred to by them as "Jimmy" Stewart--a billing never found on the credits of any of his films. While technically incorrect, the public's use of the 'nickname' was a testimony to Stewart's impact.
Born in Indiana, Pennsylvania, he first pursued a career as an architect before being drawn to the theater in college. His first success came as an actor on Broadway, before making his Hollywood debut in 1935. Stewart's career gained momentum after his well-received Frank Capra films, including his Academy Award nominated role in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Throughout his seven decades in Hollywood, Stewart cultivated a versatile career and recognized screen image in such classics as The Philadelphia Story, Harvey, and Vertigo.
Stewart left his mark on a wide range of film genres, including screwball comedy, westerns, and suspense thrillers. He worked for a number of renowned directors later in his career, including Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, and Anthony Mann. He was awarded many of the industry's highest honors, including Lifetime Achievement awards from every substantial film organization. He died in 1997, leaving behind a legacy of classic performance and is considered one of the finest actors of the "Golden Age of Hollywood."