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Quote of the Day: “I’m going to be with Gloria now.”
Those were the last words of James Maitland Stewart, who was born in Indiana PA on May 20, 1908. A shy young man, he was fascinated by early airplanes and considered signing up for the military, but was discouraged by his father, who urged him to attend college instead. At Princeton (BA–Architecture–1929), the young James Stewart discovered acting, and one of his careers was set. And this time, his father couldn’t dissuade him from his chosen path:
Dad was upset. My father didn’t like it at all–till the day he died, he didn’t like it…he kept shaking his head, saying ‘No Stewart has ever gone into show business!'”
After a slow start, Stewart achieved considerable success in Hollywood in the 30s and early 40s, doing well enough to buy himself a Stinson 105, a three-seat monoplane, and logging 400 hours of time as a pilot before the US entered the War. He was drafted into the Army after Pearl Harbor but was rejected as underweight. After some lifestyle and dietary modifications (mostly consisting of spaghetti, steaks, and milkshakes), and a rigorous exercise program, he enlisted and was accepted into, the Army Air Force where his interest in aviation and the fact that he was already an experienced pilot accelerated his progress towards earning his pilot’s wings. (“Every time you hear a bell ring, a pilot gets his wings.” I think that how it goes.)