Gary Cooper considered Stewart to be his closest friend.
Daniel Day-Lewis and Gary Oldman, two English actors each with very different styles and personas from Stewart, have both cited him as a major influence.
A true "regular guy," he genuinely disliked the glamor often basked in by the Hollywood stars, avoiding expensive clothes and fancy cars.
Accepted his friend Gary Cooper's honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1961, because Cooper was dying of cancer.
According to the curator of the James Stewart Museum, he was exactly 6' 3" tall. His military physical would have indicated that he was 6' 3", since he was 138 lb., five pounds under the 143 required for his enlistment eligibility. The weight / height requirement for the U.S. Army Air Forces before October 1999 was a 143 pound minimum for a man of 6' 3" in height. By the late 1950s, he reported that his weight was up to 160 pounds.
According to the Monday, March 31, 1941 issue of 'Time' Magazine, Stewart was drafted into the Army. Prior to induction, he flew in a private plane to California and the next day braved a large crowd of female admirers to board a Los Angeles trolley car that took him and other draftees off to be inducted for a year hitch in the Army. 'Time' said that Stewart's salary would drop to $21 a month from $6,000.
African-American actor 'Woody Strode (I)' (Stewart's co-star in Two Rode Together (1961) and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)) praised Stewart as "one of the nicest men you'll ever meet anywhere in the world".
After Boris Yeltsin seized power in Russia in December 1991, Stewart was involved in arranging for It's a Wonderful Life (1946) to be screened on Russian television.
After making The Magic of Lassie (1978), Stewart went into semi-retirement from acting. During the next few years he suffered from many health problems including heart disease, skin cancer, deafness, and senility.
Allegedly hated the nickname "Jimmy".
An early interest in flying led Stewart to gain his Private Pilot certificate in 1935 and Commercial Pilot certificate in 1938. He often flew cross-country to visit his parents in Pennsylvania, navigating by the railroad tracks. Nearly two years before the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Stewart had accumulated over 400 hours of flying time.
As of the 5th edition of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die (edited by Steven Jay Schneider), Stewart is runner-up as the most represented leading actor, by 13 films, behind Robert De Niro. Included are the Stewart films Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Destry Rides Again (1939), The Mortal Storm (1940), The Philadelphia Story (1940), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), Rope (1948), Winchester '73 (1950), The Naked Spur (1953), Rear Window (1954), The Man from Laramie (1955), Vertigo (1958), Anatomy of a Murder (1959) and
Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian award, by his friend President Ronald Reagan at the White House in 1985.
Both of Jimmy Stewart's grandfathers fought in the Civil War, and his father served during both the Spanish-American War and World War I.
Burt Reynolds was neighbors of him, and a life-long devoted fan. In an interview for the TC Palm in 2010, Reynolds said how much he admired Stewart and that he was always gracious and kind towards him and others. "So modest, so wonderful", Reynolds said. "He was more than an actor. He was every man you wish you could be", Reynolds said.
Campaigned for Richard Nixon in the 1968 and 1972 Presidential elections.
Deliberately exaggerated his accent in films after he returned from World War II, because several directors told him he needed to create a persona in order to sell his films to the public, particularly with the rising popularity of television.
Despite having been a decorated war hero in World War II, he declined to talk about this, in part because of the traumatic experiences he had in killing others and watching friends die. The roles he chose after returning from the war were generally darker, some say because he was hardened by combat.
During the 1980s he was one of the most prominent critics of the colorization of old movies, even testifying before a Congressional committee about what he called the "denaturing" of It's a Wonderful Life (1946). "If these color-happy folks are so concerned about the audience," he said, "let them put their millions of dollars into new films, or let them remake old stories if they see fit, but let our great film artists and films live in peace. I urge everyone in the creative community to join in our efforts to discourage this terrible process.".