James Stewart has a long and fruitful career as an actor, which he was quite successful at. At the height of his career, the actor appeared in a number of critically acclaimed films, including “The Glenn Miller Story” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance.”
His on-screen reputation of a likeable guy carried over into his real life, where he was labeled a womanizer despite the fact that he was in relationships with other women before he married his wife, Gloria Hatrick McLean. His on-screen persona of a charming man extended to his actual life.
Stewart was formerly considered to be Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor, and he had previously said that he would never marry because he “could never marry just one and be disloyal to all of the others.” However, he eventually changed his mind and decided to tie the knot.
The actor’s father had urged him to find a girlfriend and have a family when he first went to Hollywood. However, Stewart chose to forge his own path and had a reputation for falling in love with every of the starring females he worked with.
Ginger Rogers, Norma Shearer, and Olivia de Havilland are just a few of the renowned ladies that Stewart dated throughout his life. The fact that the only thing they had in common was their political views led to the failure of his relationship with Rogers.
In addition, the actor and Shearer were not a good match for one another since Stewart had the impression that he was being treated like Shearer’s property. After that, Stewart started a relationship with Olivia de Havilland and intended to marry her. However, his intentions did not pan out as planned since Havilland said that they ended their relationship because Stewart “wasn’t ready for a wife.”
In a similar manner, Stewart’s romance with Loretta Young came to an end when the actress expressed an interest in getting married, but he was not yet prepared for this step in his life.
The actor from “The Shootist” was responsible for breaking the hearts of many people, but he also had his heart crushed by Marlene Dietrich and Margaret Sullavan. Dietrich and Stewart had an affair while they were working together, but after it was done, the actor had a difficult time moving on, in contrast to how he had handled his other relationships.
Later on, the movie star ended up falling in love with Sullavan, an actress who is known for being gorgeous, small, and seductive. It was the longest, slowest, shyest, and most honest invitation that Stewart could get up to ask her out, but she turned him down because she had her sights set on terrible lads like Henry Fonda, who was Stewart’s closest friend.
Sullavan and Fonda tied the knot, but only stayed together for a total of four months before divorcing. The actress kept up her close friendship with Stewart, but it never developed into a romantic engagement between the two of them. The lessons that Stewart learned from Sullavan about who he was and who he was not influenced the trajectory of his romantic relationships.
Even though Stewart fell in love with Donna Reed, who played his onscreen wife in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” none of them appeared in the film since Reed was already in a committed relationship. In 1947, after Stewart had been in a run of romances, he eventually met the lady he married; her name was McLean.
McLean was born in the town of Larchmont in the state of New York. She received her education mostly from private institutions. During World War II, the daughter of a newsreel producer worked as a driver for an ambulance. After the war, she briefly pursued careers as an actress and model.
At a Christmas party that Stewart had no intention of going to but did so due of pressure from his pals Gary Cooper and Veronica “Rocky” Balfe, Stewart had the opportunity to meet the former model. Stewart claimed that when he sat across from a very attractive McLean at the party, it was “love at first sight.” McLean was Stewart’s future wife.
After some time had passed, McLean disclosed that Balfe had persistently attempted to introduce her to Stewart. She went on to say that Stewart had always been her favorite actor, even before they had met, since his performance in a similar situation had both made her laugh and weep. She also said that it was simple for her to win Stewart’s favor and affection:
“He didn’t provide too much of a challenge to catch. When we initially got together, he entertained me with his humorous anecdotes, and I couldn’t help but chuckle. That was the beginning of everything.”
Stewart, on the other hand, was over over heels in love with the former model. He was honest enough to say, “She was the kind of girl I had always dreamed of.”
The once-famous model, who suffered from crippling social anxiety, began a relationship with Stewart, but the pair had a difficult start to their time together. When Stewart first saw the dog, she told her that it “took one look at the strange man and went for his jugular.” McLean had a gorgeous German police dog named Bellow, and Stewart stated that when she first met the dog, she told her that.
The performer understood that he needed to win the dog’s affection, so he began by delivering the dog steaks. Bellow, the “guard” dog, was subjected to his constant prattle, patting, and praising, which the man confessed was “pretty humiliating.” But Stewart was relieved when his efforts bore fruit and the dog and him became friends, which meant that Gloria could at last date anybody she pleased without interference from Stewart.
McLean and Stewart’s “Outstanding Marriage”
In contrast to the actor’s past relationships, the one between Stewart and McLean progressed to later phases of development. The actor from “Rope” popped the question to McLean on the occasion of his 41st birthday, and the couple wed nine months later on August 9, 1949.
Her first marriage had been to Edward Beale McLean Jr., and she later wed Stewart, making their union her second marriage overall. The actress’s first husband was from a rich family; in fact, his mother, Evelyn Walsh McLean, was the owner of the Hope Diamond at the time of their marriage.
On August 16, 1943, McLean and her husband took their first steps down the aisle as husband and wife. The divorce took place on September 10, 1948, after the former couple had been married for about five years. The actress’s first husband informed her he wanted a divorce, which led to the end of their marriage.
McLean’s first marriage resulted in the birth of two of her children. On June 19, 1944, her first son Ronald Walsh McLean was brought into the world. On June 8, 1969, he was a United States Marine Corps First Lieutenant when he was killed in battle while serving his country.
The first son of McLean passed away in Vietnam, where he had only been serving for a short time with Company A, Third Reconnaissance Battalion, Third Marine Division. He had only been in the country for a few weeks. During the reconnaissance mission known as “American Beauty,” the Lieutenant lost his life after being stranded on a hill where he and five other people had sought cover.
Although the men battled for a whole day, McLean’s son, who was just 24 years old at the time, had already passed away when they were rescued; the other five soldiers managed to stay alive. The silver star was presented to the Lieutenant after he had passed away.
Michael McLean is the name of the actoress’s second son from her marriage to her first husband. He had his primary and secondary education at Mercersburg Academy, the same institution where his stepfather, Stewart, received his preparatory education.
McLean and her two boys accompanied her to the wedding of her second husband. Kelly Stewart-Harcourt and Judy Stewart-Merrill are the actress’ and Stewart’s daughters; they were born simultaneously.
The actress had a cesarean operation in order to deliver their identical twin daughters. She had a very close call during delivery and was forced to recuperate in the hospital for the whole month.
Fonda described the home that Mclean and Stewart inhabited as “comfortable as Jimmy with a splash of style thrown in by Gloria.” The residence was designed in the Tudor style. The couple decided to create a garden after purchasing some property in the neighborhood and afterwards tearing down the home that had been erected on it. On this plot of land, the mother of four raised her family’s vegetable garden.
McLean had the same passions as Stewart when it came to fishing, traveling, hunting, and animals. A fan magazine in 1985 referred to the couple’s relationship as “Dream Factory’s Outstanding Marriage” because it was such a beautiful match. The pair also had something else in common: neither one of them was very good at remembering anniversaries.
During an interview, Stewart said that he and his management had devised a secret code for him to use in order to keep McLean’s birthday straight in his mind. He went on to say that his boss once sent a message to him that stated, “Have a nice time on your trip to Amsterdam,” which, as Stewart pointed out, was really a code meaning “Tomorrow is Gloria’s birthday.”
Harcourt, Stewart’s daughter, praised her parents’ parenting skills as she reflected on the fact that her father, a successful actor, was never anything more to her and her siblings than a father to them:
“Dad was a wonderful parent because he never gave us advice on how to behave in a moral manner. He instructed us through the example he set in his daily life. And he never took his job with him when he went home. Because he entered, Hollywood was forced to remain on the outside.
She let it slip that her father would have a good time with them since, in 1958, when celebrating Christmas in Hawaii, he dressed up as Santa Claus, which completely shocked his children.
On that particular day, Harcourt and his sister were unaware that their father was Santa, but once they learned the truth, their father remained in character the whole time. “I slapped him on the back and nudged him, but he just carried on as Santa,” recalled Harcourt. “I tried to get him to stop, but he just kept on being Santa.”
Additionally, Stewart’s daughter discussed her father’s time spent in the military and the effects of his service on the family. She said that Stewart’s time spent in the military was the accomplishment of his life of which he was the most proud. On the other hand, Harcourt said that once his father returned from work, he would wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares:
“Back then, they didn’t refer to it as PTSD. He would sometimes be plagued by dreams, during which he would suddenly awake to find that bombers were advancing on him.
Harcourt said that his father sought solace in his religious beliefs, and that in times of need, he would go to church and pray for guidance and support.
Even in his latter years, Stewart maintained his vibrant personality, which he used to enjoy quality time with his wife and their dog, Beau. When his dog passed away, he penned a poem for him, which revealed his compassion and affection for the animal. In a humorous use of phrase, the poet referred to the dog as a “real man-eater.”
In the poem, Stewart expresses his longing for his dog and the experiences they had together throughout the poem. In this poem, he recalled how he and his family, including his wife and their dog, would go on walks together. The following is how the poem concludes:
“There are those evenings when I believe I feel his look, and I reach out with my hand to brush his hair, but he is not there. Oh, how I detest the fact that such is the case. A dog with the name Beau will always have my heart.
Even in the latter years of their marriage, Stewart and McLean’s love for one another remained strong and unwavering. They were seen on camera at one point during their day out and about, walking around with their hands in theirs. This image of the pair that was circulated on various blogs and social media platforms showed them both beaming with happiness.
Both Stewart and McLean seemed to have aged well, giving off a magnificent appearance. Another photograph shows the pair looking absolutely stunning while attending the Scopus Award ceremony hosted by the American Friends of The Hebrew University. This picture was shot a few months before the actress passed away.
During the incident that took place on January 30, 1993, Stewart and McLean were seen standing quite close to one another. The actor looked dapper in a black tuxedo, and his wife matched his style by wearing a black dress and accessorizing it with pearl jewelry (earrings, necklace, and bracelet).
The death of Stewart’s wife has occurred. Surrounded by Members of the Family
Before she passed away on February 16, 1994, Stewart and his wife had been married for a total of 45 years. The malignancy took the life of the actress when she was 75. Michael McLean, McLean’s surviving son, said that his mother passed away at their home in Beverly Hills surrounded by her family.
McLean had spent the week leading up to her passing in the hospital, which coincided with the holiday season. The holiday season was a difficult time for Stewart since he had to divorce his wife. It just so happened that the long-time pair had their very first encounter on Christmas day.
The actress is survived by her identical twin daughters, a single son, and her two grandkids. McLean was recognized for her generosity due to the fact that she actively participated in community events and was a leader in animal advocacy.
Ronald Reagan, a former president of the United States, paid tribute to her by saying that she was a remarkable lady “with a wonderful sense of humor and not an ounce of self-pity.”
The Closing Years of Stewart’s Life
After his wife passed away, Stewart went through a tough patch and made significant changes to the way he lived his life. After McLean’s funeral, the actor pledged that he would not appear in public again under any circumstances. In the end, he chose to spend his time in his bedroom, and the only time he emerged was to eat, at the suggestion of his housekeeper.
Michael Munn, a historian, wrote a book on Jimmy Stewart titled “Jimmy Stewart: The Truth Behind the Legend,” in which he stated that Stewart suffered severe emotional trauma when McLean went away. According to the book, “Gloria had been at the very center of his life, and now she was gone.”
There were rumors circulating in the press that Stewart suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. After missing a rise that led to the eating area, Stewart had a head injury in 1995 over the Christmas vacation when he landed on a wooden duck that Merrill had given him as a present. Merrill had given the duck to Stewart. The paramedics from the Beverly Hills Fire Department transported him to a local hospital.
In December of 1996, Stewart made the decision that he would not replace the battery in his pacemaker. He explained to his children that he wanted things to develop in their most natural way.
In 1997, the actor was involved in a second accident when he fell over a potted plant in his bedroom and cut open his forehead. This time, the tragedy occurred in 1997. He was given a total of 12 stitches at the St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California, after being transported there.
A few weeks after receiving treatment, Stewart was sent to the hospital because he had a blood clot in his right knee, and the swelling swiftly progressed through the rest of his leg.
Stewart had a heart attack and passed away at 11:05 a.m. on July 2, 1997. He was 89 years old. His family was by his side. His final words were about his wife, and they were, “I’m going to be with Gloria now.” He passed away shortly after saying those words.
The actor passed away at the Tudor house on Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills, California, that he a
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