Stewart, who won an Oscar for his performance opposite Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story died of a heart attack. He was 89.
Stewart was probably the last of Hollywood's great leading men and played some of cinema's most memorable roles in a career spanning some 75 films.
But he was best known for his role as a suicidal businessman who finds redemption in It's a Wonderful Life, among the best-loved films in Hollywood history.
In an age of elegant, handsome matinee idols, including Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and John Wayne, Stewart was more the average-looking guy next door, but no less popular for that.
He lived quietly with his wife, Gloria, avoiding the Hollywood social whirl, and on her death in 1994 he became a virtual recluse.Reuse content