Jimmy Stewart was a real Hollywood star – back in the days when that really meant something. In a career that spanned decades he won fans around the world and the respect of his fellow actors too.
He was definitely Mr Nice Guy, even when his character needed an edge. Stewart never failed to portray a character with integrity.
Flight of the Phoenix, a tense drama, allowed Stewart to show a new depth. The film had a gritty subject – and not just the desert.
Even without his height – he was over six foot tall – Stewart towered over those around him. His portrayal of real characters was so convincing that, in one case, people recognise his image rather than the person he’s played. This was never truer than his depiction of Glenn Miller. The musician was killed during the 2nd World War when his plane was lost over the English Channel. Conspiracy theorists continue to cite reasons why the plane disappeared, but it’s likely to have been bad weather causing navigation problems.
The story of Miller’s untimely death was known to audiences, but as Stewart strode towards that plane, every fan hoped he’d make it. And that’s the best way to judge a film based on fact – you know the outcome, but you still hope it’s not so.
Jimmy Stewart was a rare man – a star, wartime hero, devoted family man – and definitely Mr Nice Guy.