Legends of Hollywood
Issue Date: August 17, 2007
City: Universal City, CA
Quantity Issued: 55,000,000
The 13th honoree of the Legends of Hollywood Series, James Maitland Stewart (1908-97) was born in Indiana, Pennsylvania. After graduation from Princeton in 1932, a friend asked him to join a young theater group performing on Cape Cod. The budding actor continued on to Broadway and then to Hollywood.
Stewart’s first film was “Murder Man” (1935). He was nominated for an Academy Award for “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939). In 1940, he received an Oscar for his performance in “The Philadelphia Story.”
A licensed pilot, Stewart enlisted in the Army Air Corps in March 1941, months before the U.S. entered World War II. Despite his stardom, he requested the same combat duty as other pilots and flew 20 combat missions. He remained in the Air Force Reserves after active duty and retired in 1968 as a brigadier general.
After the war, Stewart starred in “It’s A Wonderful Life”, directed by Frank Capra. Since its release in 1946, the film has become a Christmas tradition.
Stewart projected an all-American-boy image – rural, righteous, idealistic, always ready to defend the underdog. The actor’s unique, hesitating style made his characters natural and believable. Stewart left America a legacy of more than fifty years of memorable performances.