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Henry Fonda and James Stewart were two of the biggest stars in Hollywood for forty years. They became friends and then roommates as stage actors in New York, and when they began making films in Hollywood, they roomed together again. They got along famously, with a shared interest in elaborate practical jokes and model airplanes, among other things. Fonda was a liberal Democrat, Stewart a conservative Republican, but after one memorable blow-up over politics, they agreed never to discuss that subject again. Fonda was a ladies’ man who was married five times; Stewart remained married to the same woman for forty-five years. Both men volunteered during World War II and were decorated for their service. When Stewart returned home, still unmarried, he once again moved in with Fonda, his wife, and his two children, Jane and Peter, who knew him as Uncle Jimmy.
For Hank and Jim, biographer and film historian Scott Eyman spoke with Fonda’s widow and children as well as three of Stewart’s children, plus actors and directors who had worked with the men — in addition to doing extensive archival research to get the full details of their time together. This is not another Hollywood story, but a fascinating portrait of an extraordinary friendship that lasted through war, marriages, children, careers, and everything else.