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‘Its a Great Life’: Daughter of Jimmy Stewart shares reminiscences

‘Its a Great Life’: Daughter of Jimmy Stewart shares reminiscences

The daughter of Jimmy Stewart, the Hollywood star who performed “George Bailey” in “It’s a Great Life” says the traditional movie has classes for at the moment’s audiences.

DAVIS, Calif. — The traditional Christmas film “It’s a Great Life” turns 75 this 12 months, and but its classes really feel as related and recent as ever.

The star of the movie – longtime Hollywood actor Jimmy Stewart – died again in 1997, however one in all his daughters lives simply outdoors of Davis. ABC10 requested for an interview to speak concerning the legacy of her father and this beloved vacation traditional.

“It’s about decency and honesty, nevertheless it’s additionally about sacrifice,” stated Kelly Stewart Harcourt, daughter of actor Jimmy Stewart, as she spoke with ABC10 at her Yolo County residence, close to Davis.

She stated her father counted “It’s a Great Life” amongst his most cherished movies.

“I feel he was happy with his efficiency,” Harcourt stated. “And he cherished working with Capra.”

Director Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart teamed up on quite a few movies, however “It’s a Great Life” was Stewart’s return to performing after serving within the navy throughout World Warfare II. 

“Dad’s navy service and his time within the navy is the factor he is most happy with in his life,” Harcourt stated, however added that the service was tough. “They did not name it PTSD then, however…he would typically have nightmares in the course of the evening the place he’d get up. And, , there have been bombers coming at him, Mother stated.”

Upon coming back from warfare, Jimmy Stewart wasn’t positive he might choose his profession again up – each logistically and by way of the disconnect he felt between the darkness of the warfare he simply fought and the light-hearted leisure trade.

Nonetheless, Harcourt stated, “Capra got here to him with this movie, and it was the car for him to get again into filmmaking…He could not have made only a simple enjoyable comedy, for example.”

Stewart’s Hollywood profession spanned some 60 years, however to Harcourt – he was all the time simply “Dad.”

“Dad as a father was nice, as a result of he by no means lectured us on the best way to be good…He taught us by the best way he lived,” Harcourt stated. “And he by no means introduced his work residence. He got here by the door and so Hollywood stayed out.”


She stated “It’s a Great Life” has many classes for audiences at the moment. For example, she identified that George Bailey desires of touring, one thing that has been restricted these final two years as a consequence of COVID-19.

“The key cloud of our lives at the moment is the pandemic,” Harcourt stated, including that her father’s iconic film is about “making the life that you’ve with the folks you might have round you imply one thing. And that is what folks have needed to do in the course of the pandemic.”

She is grateful to anyone who has made watching “It’s a Great Life” part of their household vacation traditions.

“The truth that he’s nonetheless being embraced by folks, that his legacy lives on is—see, that is after I get teary-eyed—a present to our household,” she stated. “I am so proud that…he means one thing to completely different generations.”

Harcourt is an anthropologist by schooling and commerce.

“My mother and father bought into conservation, and my mother began studying books about anthropology. She gave me them after I was in highschool, and that was it,” Harcourt stated. “I feel Dad breathed a sigh of reduction that we didn’t need to get into the movie trade.”

Nonetheless, she stated, she sees “It’s a Great Life” by her skilled lens.

“What I really like concerning the film – being an anthropologist – is that it is all concerning the essence of our humanity, which is sociality. We’re a social animal, and no person succeeds as an island,” Harcourt stated. “George Bailey, ultimately, is bailed out by the city, by all of the folks he helped.”

She and her husband Alexander “Sandy” Harcourt have lived within the Davis space for the reason that 90s, Harcourt stated, instructing and doing analysis at UC Davis.

Individuals can watch “It’s a Great Life” with an Amazon Prime Video or Hulu + Dwell TV subscription. It’s additionally obtainable for buy on a number of platforms, together with YouTube. Try this full listing of streaming providers that carry the movie by clicking HERE.

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