• This is how James Stewart passed away
  • He starred in 'It's A Wonderful Life
  • He died at age 89

In a tale as tender as any Hollywood script, the final act of James Stewart's storied life unfolded with a poignant adieu to his cherished wife, Gloria Hatrick McLean. The revered actor, known for his indelible mark on the film industry, left the world with words that resonate with the timeless theme of eternal love.

A love story for the ages

James Stewart (89), the venerable star of classics such as 'It's a Wonderful Life,' faced his final curtain not on the glittering stage of Hollywood, but in the quiet company of his family. On July 2, 1997, the actor succumbed to a heart attack, but it was his heart-wrenching last words that captured the essence of his spirit: "I'm going to go be with Gloria now."

James Stewart and Gloria Hatrick McLean

Stewart's romance with McLean was the stuff of fairy tales. Married in 1949, the couple's journey was one of devotion and blended family bliss, with Stewart adopting McLean's two sons and the pair welcoming twin daughters into the world. McLean's passing in 1994 from lung cancer left Stewart a bereft widower, his world dimmed by the loss of his life's co-star.

Awards and accolades: A bittersweet end

Despite the accolades that graced his golden years – an Oscar for 'The Philadelphia Story' and an Honorary Award among them – Stewart's reflections were tinged with a wistful regret. "Awards and honors are wonderful things ... but I sure wish they'd given them to me when I was younger," he mused, hinting at the weariness of age.

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Stewart's career, with its grand finale in 'An American Tail: Fievel Goes West,' left an indelible legacy. Yet, it was his unyielding love for McLean that defined his last moments. As the curtain fell on a life rich in artistry and affection, James Stewart's final words remind us that love, indeed, is the greatest story ever told.