He was a small-town boy from Pennsylvania, yet actor Jimmy Stewart was destined to leave an indelible mark on the American film industry. Stewart — the man who warms our hearts every holiday season with his iconic portrayal of George Bailey in the 1946 classic It’s A Wonderful Life — rose from humble beginnings while acting during his college years at Princeton University. Shortly after earning his degree in architecture, Stewart landed a Broadway role following graduation, making his debut on the Great White Way in Carrie Nation. He eventually went on to sign a contract with MGM studios and headed to Hollywood without looking back. Stewart’s career breakout moment came with his role in the 1938 movie You Can’t Take It With You, a film that won an Academy Award for Best Picture. Stewart’s first Oscar® nomination came just a year later for his role in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, where he played a passionate, idealistic politician ready to right the wrongs of corruption. Displaying his versatility, he also rode the Western-movie craze, starting with Destry Rides Again, the first of many Westerns for which he eventually became known. In all, Stewart’s performances included roles in more than 80 films, leading to an honorary Academy Award® for his illustrious career. Stewart passed away in 1997, yet his memorable portrayals continue to inspire and entertain both performers and fans alike.