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Fans bid farewell to Stewart with flowers, heartfelt messages

July 3, 1997

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ They were actors who were inspired by him and movie fans who were touched by him.

At the corner of Hollywood and Vine, Jimmy Stewart admirers from around the world flocked to his star on the Walk of Fame on Thursday to honor the lanky, slow-talking symbol of American integrity.

``You’ll always be an unforgotten angel.″

``To a wonderful life.″

``Goodbye to one of the classics.″

The statements, in blue, orange and black felt pen, were written in German, French, Swedish and English, on a 40-foot paper scroll stretched along the sidewalk over 12 other stars.

Stewart died Wednesday at the age of 89 from a blood clot in his lung. A memorial for family and friends was set for Monday at Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church.

Flowers that piled up on the sidewalk and the scroll, which will be given to his family, reflected the deep emotional bond between the actor and his fans.

``Jimmy represented every sensitive emotion that a human being can have,″ said Morris Everett III, who manages a Hollywood memorabilia shop down the street.

``You are the best _ still are,″ said one message. ``You were so real, a breath of fresh air in life.″

Another person wrote: ``Whatever our childhoods are not, we will always, always have, `It’s a Wonderful Life.′ Thank you, Jimmy. Thank you.″

An actor wrote: ``Thank you for giving me the inspiration to come out here.″

Jack Huffman, 63, of Jensen Beach, Fla., on vacation in Southern California, carried a newspaper with Stewart’s obituary in his pocket. The story was accompanied by a list of Stewart’s more than 75 films, including ``It’s a Wonderful Life,″ ``Mr. Smith Goes to Washington″ and ``Harvey.″

``I think I’ve seen them all,″ Huffman said. ``He was able to get into a role and it was believable. He was a human being, not an actor. He was always Jimmy Stewart.″

Huffman said the death of Stewart was a double blow for Hollywood, coming just a day after the death of Robert Mitchum, a leading man of a much different style but from the same golden era.

Mitchum’s death also was felt among those signing the scroll. Said one message to Stewart: ``Say hi to Mitchum.″

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