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Jimmy Stewart is the greatest actor of all time. The title says it all. No actor has been able to play a role like this man could. His acting makes me forget I am watching a movie. Jimmy Stewart's acting embodies something in all of us. He wasn't as handsome or charming as Cary Grant. He wasn't as talented as Marlon Brando. He wasn't as cool as Humphrey Bogart or Paul Newman. He was something else. He was the everyday man. That's what most movie goers are, they're everyday people that go to the movies to escape their own reality. The everyday man acting wasn't a facade, Stewart was an everyday man himself. He never saw himself as a movie star that was impacting people during his time and even people now, but that's what he did. Stewart even served during World War II and helped the United States win the war. It helps that he has a distinct voice that has been imitated throughout pop culture history. He's worked with legendary directors: Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra, and Ernst Lubitich just to name a few. If this first paragraph didn't convince you he's the greatest actor of all time, here's 5 reasons:
1. He can play any role
Stewart is one of only a few actors that can play any role he's given and make it work. He can play the everyday man like he did in classic movies Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It's A Wonderful Life. He can play the romantic lead like he did in The Shop Around The Corner and The Philadelphia Story. He can be a thrilling actor like he did in Alfred Hitchcock classics Rear Window and Vertigo. I can give more examples of the types of characters he has played perfectly but I think you get the point. His versatile acting is one reason he's the greatest.
2. His fellow actors praise of him
Jimmy Stewart is one of the rare actors that everyone seems to love. I am not only talking about the movie audience, I am talking about his acting colleagues. While presenting Jimmy Stewart with his Honorary Oscar in 1985, legendary actor Cary Grant said "Jimmy Stewart's decency, strength, and kindness is evident in every film he made." Grace Kelly who starred with Stewart in Hitchcock's thriller Rear Window once said "One man's life touches so many others. And Jimmy, that is true for you. Your life and your work have touched so many. Yours is really a wonderful life." Both of these quotes show how respected Stewart was in Hollywood and the impact he has made on his fellow actors.
3. His impact on Pop Culture
Stewart's impact on pop culture can not be understated. The proof is every Christmas, I watch a movie called It's A Wonderful Life. It stars Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, and Henry Travers. I watched this movie for the first time only a couple of years ago and by the end of the movie I thought to myself why haven't I watched this earlier. I felt the last 20 years, I deprived myself of this great movie and great performance by Jimmy Stewart. There's a scene near the end of the movie, where Stewart's character George Bailey realizes he really does have a wonderful life. Bailey is being shown by his guardian angel Clarence, what life would be like if he wasn't born. There's a close up shot done by Frank Capra that really impacted me. Stewart's acting in that shot is not done through his words, it's done through his facial expression and eyes. In that moment I knew exactly how George Bailey was feeling and all I can say after that scene was wow that was amazing. It's A Wonderful Life is shown every Christmas and I think someone who is watching the movie for the first time will be impacted the same way that scene and the movie has impacted me.
4. Stewart's accomplishments
Stewart is a 5 time Oscar nominee, winning once for his performance in The Philadelphia Story. He is also an honorary Oscar recipient. Stewart also won two Golden Globes. His accomplishments speak for themselves and just show how great he was.
5. Stewart's character
Jimmy Stewart was not your typical Hollywood actor. He wasn't full of himself. He didn't put on a facade in front of the cameras. He was himself and people loved that. They loved how authentic he was in real life and in every role he played. There will never be another actor like Jimmy Stewart.
Do you think Jimmy Stewart is the greatest actor of all time? If not, who do you think is the greatest actor of all time? Leave your answer in the comments below.
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