Jimmy signs off in Stonehaven

Jimmy Stewart's autograph, given to 13 year-old Stonehaven girl Hazel Stephen in 1959.
Jimmy Stewart's autograph, given to 13 year-old Stonehaven girl Hazel Stephen in 1959.

When Hollywood actor James Stewart paid a visit to Stonehaven in 1959, 13 year-old local lass Hazel Stephen was lucky enough to meet him.

In our report featured on January 2, we asked for readers who remembered the ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ star visiting the town to get in touch with their memories.

Actor James Stewart.

Actor James Stewart.

Mr Stewart had stayed at the Bay Hotel, now Clashfarquhar House, during a holiday in Stonehaven.

Our request reached the other side of the world and we were contacted by Hazel Stephen, who grew up in Stonehaven and now lives in Perth, on the western coast of Australia.

She remembers a friendly meeting with the actor at Stonehaven railway station when she was just a schoolgirl.

She recalled: “I was 13 at the time and a group of friends and I, after we had been to the Red Cross training, went up to the Bay Hotel only to be told James had gone to the station.

Hazel Stephen now lives in Perth, Western Australia. She is pictured here with granddaughter Kayleigh.

Hazel Stephen now lives in Perth, Western Australia. She is pictured here with granddaughter Kayleigh.

“We went up to the station and onto the platform. I saw James Stewart standing on his own so I went up to him. I asked him if he had enjoyed being in Stonehaven and he said he had.

“I asked him if he would like to come back again and he said yes. I then asked him for his autograph, which he gave me and which I still have.

“He was very nice to me, but I can’t remember anyone else approaching him.

‘‘His wife, Gloria, was sitting in the waiting room, beside the fire as she was cold.

“I can remember that night well and he was one of my favourite actors.”

Hazel still has Mr Stewart’s autograph, as well as that of his wife, despite telling us that she has no recollection of meeting her!

James, or Jimmy Stewart, is perhaps best remembered for his role in the Christmas classic, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, but he was nominated for a total of five Academy Awards during his impressive career.

He was also the first major American movie star to enlist during World War Two and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Do you have any fond memories of a celebrity encounter in the area?

If so, get in touch with our editorial team by email at news@mearnsleader.com, telephone: (01569) 762859 or pop into our office at 12 Ann Street, Stonehaven.