Considered by many to be the embodiment of the very best aspects of America, actor James Stewart endeared himself to generations of film lovers with his portrayals of noble, idealistic, yet often conflicted characters who prevailed against the most daunting of odds. It was his refreshingly unaffected performances in hits like "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939) and his Oscar-winning turn in "The Philadelphia Story" (1940) that won over critics and audiences alike. A highly-decorated bomber pilot during World War II, Stewart returned to motion pictures in Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946). A film widely regarded as overly sentimental upon its initial release, it went on to become a beloved holiday classic decades later. Another nostalgic favorite, although more appreciated in its day, was Stewart's charming fantasy about a gentle man and his best friend - an invisible talking rabbit named "Harvey" (1950). In the decade that followed, however, Stewart set about redefining his naïve screen persona with portrayals of troubled heroes in frequent collaborations with director Anthony Mann in rugged Westerns like "Winchester 73" (1950) and "The Naked Spur" (1953), as well as four remarkable films with Alfred Hitchcock that included "Rear Window" (1954) and "Vertigo" (1958). An actor of remarkable talent and a man of unquestionable integrity, Stewart was that rarest example of a personal reality living up to Hollywood mythology.
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