Jimmy Stewart (James Maitland Stewart), 1908–97, American actor, b. Indiana, Pa. He began his film career in 1935 and soon gained popularity for his lanky good looks, slow drawl and shy, homespun charm, evident in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). In later years, he brought these qualities to bear on more determined, heroic characters. He won an Academy Award for The Philadelphia Story (1940). His signature role is that of George Bailey, a small towner brought to an understanding of his own importance on Christmas Eve in It's a Wonderful Life (1946). His other films include Destry Rides Again (1939), Broken Arrow (1950), Harvey (1950), Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), Anatomy of a Murder (1959), The Flight of the Phoenix (1966), and The Shootist (1976). During World War II, he served as a bomber pilot and rose to the rank of colonel, eventually becoming a brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He also starred in two television series and published a book of humorous poetry (1989).