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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JAMES MAITLAND STEWART!

MAY 20, 1908 - JULY 2, 1997

"To overcome disbelief is the most difficult thing to do in films. And Jimmy, with his extraordinary earnestness that he has, just walks in and extinguishes disbelief." George Stevens

"Jim Stewart and I played together in a thing called "Firecreek". You know, someone had the bright idea of making me the villain. I played a bad guy who tried to kill Jim Stewart. Now, any man who tries to kill Jim Stewart has to be marked as a man who’s plain rotten. You can’t get much worse than that." Henry Fonda

"He was what I wanted my America to represent – pride, dignity and honor in a place where people were incapable of deception. You couldn’t take your eyes off the screen when Jimmy Stewart started stammering, you didn’t believe he was acting for a moment. He might to be the guy down the block, or at least the fellow you saw occasionally at the market, but he was the sexiest man who played opposite me in thirty years. It was that boyish charm, that enchanting innocence." Kim Novak

"Stewart is a great actor not just because he’s given great performances over a lot of years, but because he’s dared to do a lot of things that others wouldn’t have. He cries, yelps, screams, explodes – he lets it all go, but always knows, where it is going. At my age, you look at something like that and you say ‘Holy Christ!’" Ben Gazzara

“Mr. Stewart, you made my parents happy. You’ve made me happy. I’m making sure you make my children happy. And if this world has any kind of luck, you are going to make my grandchildren happy.” Dustin Hoffman

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Summer Movie List — 4 / ? → Rope [1948]

"By what right do you dare to say that there’s a superior few to which you belong? By what right did you decide that that boy in there was inferior and could be killed? Did you think you were God, Brandon? Is that what you thought when you choked the life out of him? Is that what you thought when you served food from his grave?! I don’t know who you are but I know what you done. You murdered! You choked the life out of a fellow human being who could live and love as you never could, and never will again!"

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Happy Birthday, Jimmy Stewart! (May 20, 1908 - July 2, 1997)

That’s the great thing about the movies. After you learn—and if you’re good enough, and God helps you, and you’re lucky to have a personality that comes across—then what you’re doing is giving people little, little, tiny pieces of time that they’ll never forget.

"I would prefer to place Jimmy Stewart in a triptych of equal acting greatness with Cary Grant and James Cagney. Stewart is the most complete actor-personality in the American cinema, particularly gifted in expressing the emotional ambivalence of the action hero." — Andrew Sarris

"All the women want to mother Jimmy Stewart. That’s his great quality." — Frank Capra

"When something happens to a star, to a James Stewart, the public feels it more." — Alfred Hitchcock

"He was the most naturally gifted actor I ever worked with. It was all instinct, all emotion. I don’t think it came from training or technique. It came from forces deep within him." — Thomas Mitchell 

"The story goes that, when news first hit Hollywood of Ronald Reagan’s ambitions to be President, Jack Warner, the legendarily blunt mogul, responded, ‘No, no, no. Jimmy Stewart for President. Ronald Reagan for best friend.’" — David Ansen

"A show business optimist? That’s an accordion player with a beeper." — Johnny Carson

2

A group photograph of MGM’s stars and starlets under contract, taken for the studio’s 20th anniversary in 1943.

James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, Lucille Ball, Hedy Lamarr, Katharine Hepburn, Harry James, Brian Donlevy, Red Skelton, Mickey Rooney, William Powell, Wallace Beery, Tommy Dorsey, George Murphy, Jean Rogers, James Craig, Donna Reed, Dame May Whitty, Reginald Owen, Keenan Wynn, Diana Lewis, Marilyn Maxwell, Esther Williams, Blanche Ring, Sara Haden, Fay Holden, Bert Lahr, Frances Gifford, Ben Blue, Chill Wills, Keye Luke, Barry Nelson, Desi Arnaz; Louis B Mayer, Greer Garson, Irene Dunne, Susan Peters, Ginny Simms, Lionel Barrymore, Spencer Tracy, Walter Pidgeon, Robert Taylor, Pierre Aumont, Lewis Stone, Gene Kelly, Jackie Jenkins, Van Johnson, Fay Bainter, Marsha Hunt, Ruth Hussey, Marjorie Main, Robert Benchley, Ann Richards, Marta Linden, Lee Bowman, Richard Carlson, Mary Astor, June Allyson, Richard Whorf, Frances Rafferty, Spring Byington, Connie Gilchrist, Gladys Cooper, Henry O’Neill, Bob Crosby, Rags Ragland.

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