James Stewart (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 09, 2022

James Stewart hails from Indiana, Pa., where he was born on May 20. Son of a hardware merchant, he attended prep school at Mercersburg Academy, Mercersburg, Pa. Then he went to Princeton and studied to be an architect.

In college he took part in the high jump and hurdles. He also learned to play the accordion expertly. During the summer he assisted a magician, Bill Neff. He was also a popular actor in the Princeton Triangle shows.

Started in Stock

He was graduated and needed a job. Finding none, he accepted the offer of Princeton friends to join them at the Falmouth Stock Company, on Cape Cod. The stage hit, “Goodbye Again,” was tried out at Falmouth, and Jimmy was such a hit that he opened with it in New York.

The next summer he went to Boston as stage manager for Camille, with Jane Cowl. Then came Spring in Autumn and All Good Americans. The part required that he play his accordion and, in a scene, throw it out the window. Rather than maltreat his beloved instrument, he learned to play a banjo.

Wins M-G-M Contract

Then followed Yellow Jack, another summer in stock, then Divided by Three, Page Miss Glory, and Journey at Night. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer tested him and put him under long-term contract in Hollywood.

His pictures have been “Murder Man,” Rose Marie“Wife vs. Secretary,” “Small Town Girl,” “Speed,” “Next Time We Love,” The Gorgeous Hussy, “Born to Dance,” “After the Thin Man,” “Seventh Heaven,” The Last Gangster and “Navy Blue and Gold.”

Stewart has brown hair and grey eyes. His greatest fear is that he won’t gain weight. His pet aversion is singing barber shop harmony. His greatest pleasure is playing his accordion.

Has Many Hobbies

“Jimmy,” as he was called by friends, has one of the widest assortments of hobbies of any actor in Hollywood. These are radio, bowling, flying and model airplane building. Recently, he completed a model plane with a wing spread of six feet, that could remain in the air five minutes.

Quiet and unassuming, Stewart is one of the most popular of the film city’s bachelors. He is frequently seen about with Virginia Bruce, Eleanor Powell and Ginger Rogers. While he is thrilled to be in Hollywood, and earnest in his desire to do something worthwhile in the acting profession, “Jimmy” has his eye to the future. And it beckons with the promise that some day he will attain the calling he most desires — to be a director.

Stewart lives in a bachelor bungalow in Brentwood, California, with the same roommates he had in New York — John Swope of the General Electric Swopes, and Joshua Logan, now a director. Henry Fonda made it a bachelor quartet until he married.

One of the biggest drawbacks to bachelorhood, Jimmy says, is the continual recurrence of rumors that he will marry every girl with whom he is seen.

“Although I won’t say I’ll never marry, I prefer to establish my career before marriage.

“Anyhow, I’m not romantic; I’m not a romantic actor.”

Hollywood belles think differently, however, and so do the producers who continue to give him more and better romantic roles.

Source: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1937