James Maitland "Jimmy" Stewart (1908–1997) was a highly acclaimed Academy Award-winning American film and stage actor, known for his distinctive drawl voice and down-to-earth persona. Over the course of his career, he starred in many films widely considered classics and was nominated for five Oscars, winning one in competition and one life achievement.
Collaborations with Hitchcock
After his work with director Anthony Mann, the second collaboration to define Stewart's career in the 1950s was with acclaimed mystery and suspense director Alfred Hitchcock. Stewart had previously appeared in Hitchcock's technologically innovative 1948 film Rope, and the two collaborated for the second of four times on the 1954 hit Rear Window. Photographer L.B. "Jeff" Jeffries, the central character of the film, portrayed by Stewart, projects his fantasies and fears onto the people he observes out his apartment window while on hiatus due to a broken leg. Jeffries gets into more than he can handle, however, when he believes he has witnessed a salesman murder his wife.
After starring in Hitchcock's remake of the director's own production, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Stewart starred in what many consider Hitchcock's most personal film, Vertigo. The film starred Stewart as Scottie, a former police investigator suffering from acrophobia, who develops an obsession with a woman he is shadowing. Scottie's obsession inevitably leads to the destruction of everything he once had and believed in. Though the film is widely considered a classic today, it was met with negative reviews and poor box office receipts upon its release, and marked the last collaboration between Stewart and Hitchcock. The director blamed the film's failure on Stewart looking too old to still attract audiences, and replaced him with Cary Grant for North by Northwest (1959). In reality, Grant was four years older than Stewart.
- Rope (1948) — cast: Rupert Cadell
- Rear Window (1954) — cast: L.B. 'Jeff' Jefferies
- The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) — cast: Dr. Benjamin McKenna
- Vertigo (1958) — cast: John 'Scottie' Ferguson
Selection of film frames: James Stewart (click image to view larger version or refresh thumbnails)...
He has appeared in the following Hitchcockian documentaries...
- Omnibus: Hitchcock (BBC, 1986)
- Grace Kelly: The American Princess (1987)
- The Making of The Man Who Knew Too Much (2000) - archive footage
- born James Maitland Stewart 20/May/1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania
- son of Alexander Maitland Stewart (b. 1871) and Elizabeth Ruth Stewart (b. 1875) née Johnson
- brother of Virginia Stewart (b. ?) and Mary Stewart (b. ?)
- married Gloria Hatrick McLean (b. 1918) in 1949
- father of twins Judy Stewart (b. 1951) and Kelly Stewart (b. 1951)
- died 02/Jul/1997 in Los Angeles, California
Notes & References
- Died 1994.
- Both were born on 7th May 1951.
- Cause of death given as cardiac arrest and pulmonary embolism following respiratory problems.