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Lifestyle

'It's a Wonderful Life' Child Star Karolyn Grimes Recalls Sweet Moment with Jimmy Stewart

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Frank Capra’s heartwarming Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” has been endearing audiences for over 70 years with the story of George Bailey and his life in Bedford Falls.

In 2019, just in time for the holiday season, the famed black-and-white film has been remastered by Paramount using the latest technology and is now available in 4K high definition, Fox News reported.

In celebration of the film looking more rich and vibrant on-screen than ever before, Fox News staff sat down with Karolyn Grimes and Jimmy Hawkins, the child actors who played the youngest two children of the Bailey family, Zuzu and Tommy Bailey.

Grimes and Hawkins were just children when they worked alongside James Stewart (1908 – 1997), who played their on-screen father George Bailey, and Donna Reed (1921 – 1986), who played their mother, Mary Hatch Bailey.

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Grimes, 79, said it was an “honor” to have played a part in the iconic 1946 film.

“It’s an honor to be in that movie because it means so much to people, not only in the United States but around the world,” Grimes told Fox News.

“And it makes such a difference in people’s lives. I feel like it’s become a part of American history, certainly film history… I feel very privileged to be a part of that.”

She went on to share a particularly heartwarming moment she shared with Stewart, which came after she made a mistake during filming.

“Well, when I was upstairs in the petal scene with him and I was sick, I messed up a line,” Grimes said.

“Jimmy Stewart said, ‘That’s OK, Karolyn. You’ll get it right next time.’

“We did the scene again and I got the line perfectly. I’ll tell you, it was really good for my ego and my self-confidence. He really gave me a pat on the back there, and I’ll never forget that.”

“He was a wonderful, wonderful man,” she continued. “He touched a lot of lives, just being him. He was George Bailey in real life.”

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Hawkins echoed Grimes’ sentiments, adding that even when he ran into Stewart or Reed later in life, they were still the kind and generous people he remembered from childhood.

“The thing you remember most is years after the movie, how when you run into Jimmy Stewart, or — I had the pleasure of working with Donna Reed years later, too, — and how nice they were. They were just very nice people. And very giving,” Hawkins said.

“That’s the best memory you can take away from doing a picture at four-and-a-half years of age. These people were very nice. Very, very nice.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
Birthplace
Page, Arizona
Education
Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Lifestyle & Human Interest




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