James Stewart (May 20, 1908 Ã?Â¢Ã¢â??Â¬Ã¢â?¬Å? July 2, 1997) was an American film and stage actor, best known for his self-effacing persona. Over the course of his career, he starred in many films widely considered classics and was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one in competition and receiving one Lifetime Achievement award. He was a major MGM contract star. He also had a noted military career, rising to the rank of Brigadier General in the United States Air Force Reserve.