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Jimmy Stewart: Anatomy of an icon

Breaking down the facts about the late screen legend

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For a lanky small-town boy with an awful stammer, Jimmy Stewart certainly wielded a lot of cultural influence. Below, the vital stats and factoids of Stewart’s life and times.

Number of film appearances Jimmy Stewart made: 81

Number of Oscar nominations: Five, for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Philadelphia Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Harvey, and Anatomy of a Murder

Number of Oscars: Two, for Best Actor in The Philadelphia Story, and in 1984, an honorary award for 50 years of meaningful performances

Average number of daily visitors to the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Pa.: 20

Average number of daily visitors to the Jimmy Stewart Museum website in the week following his death: 200,000

Most popular item in the museum gift shop: Harvey mugs ($7.50 each). When filled with a hot beverage, a rabbit materializes on the outside.

Most curious item: Limited-edition black-and-white portrait of Stewart by singer Kenny Rogers, also $7.50

Juiciest rumor: The star reportedly got Marlene Dietrich pregnant, according to an Erich Maria Remarque diary entry, retold in Donald Dewey’s Stewart bio.

Second juiciest rumor: That Stewart and his salad-days roommate Henry Fonda once tried to dig a tunnel to get into Greta Garbo’s home next door

Most outlandish description of his friendship with Fonda: ”I thought those two guys were either having the hottest affair in Hollywood,” said Orson Welles, ”or were the two straightest human beings I ever met in my life. I came to the conclusion that they were the two straightest human beings I’d ever met in my life.”

Amount It’s a Wonderful Life lost for RKO pictures in 1946: $525,000, about $2.5 million today

Stewart impersonation that he’s said to have liked the most: Sammy Davis Jr.’s

After serving in the Air Force during World War II, Stewart had it written into his contract that if MGM publicized his war heroics, he would be free to walk off the movie set.

Number of Tonight Show appearances since 1970: 35

Number of copies his slim volume, Jimmy Stewart and His Poems (Crown), sold: 250,000

Number of times ”Tom Hanks” and ”Jimmy Stewart” have appeared in the same sentence in a Nexis database search: 101

Number of newspapers that used the words ”Wonderful Life” in the headline of his obituary: 60 plus

FILMOGRAPHY

The Murder Man, 1935
Rose Marie, 1936
Next Time We Love, 1936
Wife Vs. Secretary, 1936
Small Town Girl, 1936
Speed, 1936
The Gorgeous Hussy, 1936
Born to Dance, 1936
After the Thin Man, 1936
Seventh Heaven, 1937
The Last Gangster, 1937
Navy Blue and Gold, 1937
Of Human Hearts, 1938
Vivacious Lady, 1938
The Shopworn Angel, 1938
You Can’t Take It With You, 1938
Made for Each Other, 1939
Ice Follies of 1939, 1939
It’s a Wonderful World, 1939
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, 1939
Destry Rides Again, 1939
The Shop Around the Corner, 1940
The Mortal Storm, 1940
No Time for Comedy, 1940 The Philadelphia Story, 1940
Come Live With Me, 1941
Pot o’ Gold, 1941
Ziegfeld Girl, 1941
It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946
Magic Town, 1947
Call Northside 777, 1948
On Our Merry Way, 1948
Rope, 1948
You Gotta Stay Happy, 1948
The Stratton Story, 1949
Malaya, 1950
Winchester ’73, 1950
Broken Arrow, 1950
The Jackpot, 1950
Harvey, 1950
No Highway in the Sky, 1951
The Greatest Show on Earth, 1952
Bend of the River, 1952
Carbine Williams, 1952
The Naked Spur, 1953
Thunder Bay, 1953
The Glenn Miller Story, 1954
Rear Window, 1954
The Far Country, 1955
Strategic Air Command, 1955
The Man From Laramie, 1955
The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1956
The Spirit of St. Louis, 1957
Night Passage, 1957
Vertigo, 1958
Bell, Book and Candle, 1958
Anatomy of a Murder, 1959
The FBI Story, 1959
The Mountain Road, 1960
Two Rode Together, 1961
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, 1962
Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, 1962
How the West Was Won, 1963
Take Her, She’s Mine, 1963
Cheyenne Autumn, 1964
Dear Brigitte, 1965
Shenandoah, 1965
The Flight of the Phoenix, 1966
The Rare Breed, 1966
Firecreek, 1968
Bandolero! 1968
The Cheyenne Social Club, 1970
Fools’ Parade, 1971
The Jimmy Stewart Show (TV), 1971-72
Hawkins (TV) 1973-74
The Shootist, 1976
Airport ’77, 1977
The Magic of Lassie, 1978
The Big Sleep, 1978
Right of Way (HBO movie), 1983
An American Tale: Fievel Goes West, 1991