When he turned 25 in May 1933, Stewart was making appearances in Broadway plays such as The Spring in Autumn and All Good Americans. Though he’s remembered for leading roles in films such as It’s a Wonderful Life, he had a passion for flying (and played Charles Lindbergh in The Spirit of St. Louis). In 1935, he earned his private license, and in 1938 his commercial license. During World War II he proved he was the real deal: Stewart trained pilots Stateside to fly B-17 Flying Fortresses, then commanded B-24 Liberators on bombing missions over Europe. He finished the war as a colonel, having earned a Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters, an Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and the French Croix de Guerre.
Photos from: "What Were They Doing at 25?" »