Movie star, veteran Jimmy Stewart was ordinary hero


Dear Ken: What year did Jimmy Stewart die and how old was he? How many military flights did he make during WWII?

The kind, soft-spoken Hollywood legend died from a pulmonary embolism at the age of 89 in 1997. A national treasure and one of the top male movie stars of all time, Stewart was a patriot. Drafted into the Army in 1940, he failed to meet weight limits and was rejected. Then he worked out with an MGM trainer to gain weight and enlisted as a private in March 1941 and soon began pilot training with the United States Army Air Corps. Stewart flew 20 missions into Nazi-occupied Europe. After the war, of which experiences he rarely discussed, he continued to serve in the United States Air Force Reserve. One of Stewarts two sons, Ronald, was killed in action in 1969 at age 24 while serving in the Marine Corps in Vietnam. Stewarts father, who operated a hardware store, served in the Spanish-American War and WWII. Fans of this ordinary hero would enjoy the Jimmy Stewart Museum in his hometown of Indiana, Pa.

Dear Ken: I just saw the Brad Pitt movie Money Ball, with Robin Wright. Where have I seen this actress before?

You may remember Wright, 45, a native of Dallas, Texas, as Kelly Capwell Conrad on Santa Barbara in the 1980s. But shes made a lot of movies since and starred as Tom Hanks girlfriend, Jenny, in Forrest Gump. Among her other film credits are Message in a Bottle, Beowulf, Toys, The Princess Bride and Unbreakable. She next appears in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in December. Once married to Sean Penn, she has two children by her ex.

Dear Ken: Whats Lee Majors of Big Valley and Six Million Dollar Man fame up to these days?

Majors, 72, who was born Harvey Lee Yeary in Michigan and grew up in Middlesboro, Ky., continues to act. He co-starred in the 2007-2009 TV series The Game and has been doing the voice of Gen. Abernathy on the cartoon series G.I. Joe: Renegades. He teams with Shirley Jones to play the parents of actor Garret Dillahunts Burt character in the Fox sitcom Raising Hope. Seen in the summer flick Jerusalem Countdown, Majors portrays Tom Barkley in the upcoming Big Valley feature film and co-stars in the movie Love Letters in the Sand.

Dear Ken: Where is the actress who plays Penny on The Big Band Theory from?

Kaley Cuoco, 25, was born in Camarillo, Calif. A topnotch tennis player, she co-starred in the previous TV series, 8 Simple Rules, Charmed, Monster Allergy and 6Teen, and provided the voice of Brandy in Brandy & Mr. Whiskers. She will star as Stacy Peterson opposite Rob Lowe next year in the Lifetime TV movie The Drew Peterson Story.

If you have a trivia question about actors, singers, movies, TV shows or pop culture, e-mail your query to Ken Beck at kbtag2@gmail.com