Jimmy Stewart Quotations


Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing a Jimmy Stewart imitation myself.

I'd like people to remember me as someone who was good at his job and seemed to mean what he said.
-- in 1983.

There ought to be a law against any man who doesn't want to marry Myrna Loy.

I can't imagine there's anyone in the country who doesn't know who he is. Kids will be talking about him long after the rest of us are gone. John will make the history books, as Will Rogers did, because he has lived his life to reflect the ideals of his country.
-- on John Wayne.

It's much easier, for example, to play a heroin addict and you're withdrawing - you tear the ceiling off - that's much easier than it is to come in and say, "Hello" or "I love you". When you judge it in that way, the heavy isn't as difficult.

Indiana means home to me. It is a town for me to cling to, because my mother and father are here. I was born and reared here. I have a great love and pride for Indiana. I love every bit of it.
-- 10/1/48, upon being named a Pennsylvania Ambassador (he was born and raised in the town of Indiana) by Gov. James Duff.

I don't act. I react.

I'm the inarticulate man who tries. I don't really have all the answers, but for some reason, somehow, I make it.

The big studios were an ideal way to make films - because they were a home base for people. When you were under contract, you had no chance to relax.

If I had my career over again? Maybe I'd say to myself, "Speed it up a little".

Through the years Indiana [his home town of Indiana, PA] has been something of tremendous importance in my life.  It's true there is something special about the place where you were raised--your hometown. I have found through the years during the times when I've been here in Indiana that almost every direction I look, and so many faces I see, immediately cause a picture to be formed of an event, a happening in my life that I remember well. I think the main thing that has kept Indiana so close to my heart is the fact that Indiana has been, and still is, the headquarters of Mr. Alex Stewart and his family ... My father has been almost fanatical in his determination to keep our family together--and he has done it. Time and distance haven't seemed to have affected this headquarters in Indiana. I've settled down three thousand miles from Indiana. I've traveled to points in the world three times that distance. At times I've stayed away several years at a stretch, but I somehow have never felt that I was very far from here ... somehow I don't feel that I have ever been away.
-- 5/20/58, from a speech at a Boy Scout Testimonial Dinner celebrating his 50th birthday.

John Wayne was probably the biggest star in the world, yet he retained the qualities of a small boy. He had the enthusiasm for life that would make a high school football star envious. And through it all, Duke never changed. As a man he was exactly the boy he started out. And as a friend . . . well, you just wouldn't want a better one. In his lifetime, Duke stamped AMERICA across the face of the motion picture industry. Few other men, living or dead, have ever portrayed the fine, decent, and generous American qualities as Duke did. He portrayed on screen the values he lived off screen. Gentle - so much so, it would have surprised his critics. Loyal - once your friend, always your friend. Courageous - if you doubt it, remember his fight against cancer, or the way he faced heart surgery. And decent. Above all, Duke was a decent man. He was also far from perfect. He made his mistakes as I have made mine and you have made yours. All in all, I would say they were unintentional. Mistakes of the heart, I would say. Let me say this about the John Wayne I knew. He was an original. He was the statue of his times. All in all, I think it was the man's integrity that speaks most of him. His principles never varied. Nor did his ideals. Nor did his faith in mankind.

I don't think there's any question that the Communists are behind a great deal of unrest in the United States. In addition, I feel they are still a potential danger in show business.
-- in 1970.

I hate them! I absolutely hate them! Whether right or wrong, their country was at war and their country asked them to serve, and they refused and ran away. Cowards, that's what they were.
-- on draft-age men who evaded military service during the Vietnam war.

I'm going to be with Gloria [deceased wife Gloria Stewart] now.
-- his last words.

If a western is a good western, it gives you a sense of that world and some of the qualities those men had - their comradeship, loyalty, and physical courage. The vogue for the new kind of western seems pretty unimportant to me. They try to destroy something that has been vital to people for so long.

I am James Stewart playing James Stewart. I couldn't mess around with the characterizations. I play variations on myself.

Mr. Hitchcock [Alfred Hitchcock] did not say actors are cattle. He said they should be treated like cattle.

I have my own rules and adhere to them. The rule is simple but inflexible. A James Stewart picture must have two vital ingredients: it will be clean and it will involve the triumph of the underdog over the bully.

You hear so much about the old movie moguls and the impersonal factories where there is no freedom. MGM was a wonderful place where decisions were made on my behalf by my superiors. What's wrong with that?

As someone who believed in hard work and love of country, love of family and love of community.
-- asked how he wanted to be remembered.

John Wayne was the greatest cowboy. Henry Fonda was the better actor but John Wayne, well, he was a champ.

My first impression of Joan Crawford was of glamor.

Jean (Arthur) was the finest actress I ever worked with. No one had her humor, her timing.

She could do maybe a look, or a line or two, but they would hit like flashes or earthquakes.
-- on Margaret Sullavan.

I suppose people can relate to being me, while they dream about being John Wayne.

Our views never interfered with our feelings for each other, we just didn't talk about certain things.
-- on longtime friend Henry Fonda, a liberal Democrat.

I cannot tell you, Mr President, just how happy I am to finally be able to call you my Commander-in-Chief.
-- to longtime friend Ronald Reagan, on his inauguration as US President on 1/20/81.

I've always thought [John Wayne] is underrated as an actor. I think The Searchers (1956) is one of the most marvelous performances of all time.

I am sixty-eight years old and I feel every damn day of it.

I've always regretted that I didn't spend more time on the stage because there's nothing like that for experience - real experience - and to bring you up to snuff as far as the acting is concerned.

From 1932 through 1934 I'd only worked three months. Every play I got into folded.


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