Widgets May 20 ~  Accept Change Gracefully Jimmy Stewart: A Wonderful Life

"The secret of a happy life is to accept change gracefully." ~ Jimmy Stewart

Jimmy Stewart

A man full of grace and talent, born on this day in Indiana, Pennsylvania, motion-picture star James Maitland Stewart (1908-1997), graduated from Princeton University with a degree in architecture. He made his first film, The Murder Man (w/Spencer Tracy) in 1935.

"You have to develop a style that suits you and pursue it, not just develop a bag of tricks," he advised. "Always be yourself."

During World War II, Stewart rose from private to colonel in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He flew 20 bomber missions over Germany and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was a celebration of patriotism and a hero.

When he returned to Hollywood, he refused to make war films. "I felt... I had lost all sense of judgment," he said.

Called the "last and most modest of the great studio gods" by Entertainment Weekly, Stewart won international acclaim with such roles as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), and Harvey (1950). His role as Spy reporter Mike Connor in The Philadelphia Story (1940) earned him an Academy Award.

"Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners," he advised. The often-imitated, slow speaking actor projected eternal optimism, integrity, and honesty. He made you feel good.

President Harry Truman once said, "If Bess and I had a son, we'd want him to be just like Jimmy Stewart."

"It's a life that's been blessed by a tremendous amount -- a tremendous amount -- of good fortune," Stewart said. "I'd like people to remember me as someone who was good at his job and seemed to mean what he said."

Biographical Dictionary of FilmBe happy: roll with it.