Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Birthday Boy

As his alleged living spit, I feel I cannot let this day pass without marking the birthday of that great film actor and good man, James Stewart, born May 20th, 1908. With actors of his generation, it is always interesting – and, I think, an index of character – to see whether they 'had a good war'. Jimmy Stewart certainly did: the first major Hollywood star to enlist, he served in the Air Corps, rising from Private to Colonel in only four years. After a year spent training pilots, he insisted on being sent to the front line to do his bit, and flew B-24 Liberators from England on bombing missions over Germany. Stewart was awarded the DFC, the French Croix de Guerre with palm and the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters. When, after the war, he was promoted to Brigadier-General, he became the highest-ranking actor in American military history.
  When Stewart returned from the war, he was uncertain whether to continue with his movie career, but he signed a contract with MCA, and Frank Capra cast him in his first postwar movie. That movie was It's a Wonderful Life...

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