Indiana, PA threw a birthday bash for Jimmy Stewart in May, and now it was Hollywood's turn.
On Thursday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosted “A Centennial Tribute to James Stewart” at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Actor Robert Wagner, who received the Jimmy Stewart Museum's Harvey Award in 2004, hosted the evening of film clips and reflections on Stewart. Special guests included Stewart's daughter Kelly; Shirley Jones, 1998 Harvey Award winner and Stewart's co-star in “Two Rode Together” and “The Cheyenne Social Club”; Ann Rutherford, who appeared in “Land of Liberty” and “Of Human Hearts” with Stewart; Shirlee Fonda, the widow of Stewart's friend Henry Fonda; Patricia Kelly, the widow of Gene Kelly; writer, director and actor Peter Bogdanovich; and actress Charlotte Rae.
“Jimmy Stewart is one of the most iconic actors ever to come out of Hollywood and a very beloved member of the Hollywood community,” Ellen Harrington, director of exhibitions and special events for the academy, said earlier this week. “It's very important for the academy to recognize his centennial.”
Nominated for five Academy Awards, Stewart won the best actor Oscar in 1940 for his role in “The Philadelphia Story.” The academy also gave Stewart an honorary Oscar in 1985.
The academy presented the event in association with the University of California, Los Angeles Film & Television Archive. The archive organized “The Picture Starts in Heaven: James Stewart's Centennial,” weekend screenings of several of Stewart's best-known films, including “Vertigo,” “The Glenn Miller Story” and “Harvey,” that ran from May 23 to Sunday at the Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood.
According to the archive's Web site, “It's a Wonderful Life” director Frank Capra pitched the movie to Stewart with the opening “The picture starts in heaven.” The archive contains the largest collection of media materials at any American university with more than 220,000 motion picture and television titles and 27 million feet of newsreel footage.
Stewart, who died July 2, 1997, would have turned 100 on May 20.