James Maitland Stewart was an American actor. Known for his distinctive drawl and everyman screen persona, Stewart's film career spanned 80 films from 1935 to 1991. With the strong morality he portrayed both on and off the screen, he epitomized the "American ideal" in the twentieth century. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him third on its list of the greatest American male actors.
Born and raised in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Stewart started acting while studying at Princeton University. After graduating in 1932, he began a career as a stage actor, appearing on Broadway and in summer stock productions. In 1935, he landed his first of several supporting roles in movies and in 1938 he had his big breakthrough in Frank Capra's ensemble comedy You Can't Take It with You. The following year, Stewart garnered his first of five Academy Award nominations for his portrayal of an idealized and virtuous man who becomes a senator in Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. He won his only Academy Award for Best Actor for his work in the comedy The Philadelphia Story, which also starred Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant.