By Jeffrey Edward Peters
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Hollywood kicked off their 2010 holiday season on November 29 by unveiling a tableau of James Stewart as George Bailey in the film “It’s a Wonderful Life.” On hand to cut the ribbon at the attraction’s newest exhibit was actress Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu Bailey (George’s youngest daughter) in the film. Karolyn is the last surviving member of the cast and travels around the world to join celebrations of the classic Christmas movie.
“It was a wonderful time in my life,“ says Grimes. “Mr. Stewart was so kind and gentle. He represents old Hollywood and no one deserves this honor more. When the movie became popular in the ‘80’s, people started looking for Zuzu, they came to him and he found me. We started doing events together. Now I’m the unofficial ambassador for the film! It’s a wonderful life for me 365 days of the year.” Karolyn’s touring schedule and life story can be found at www.zuzu.net.
The James Stewart figure is the only Tinseltown tribute to “It’s a Wonderful Life” and will be on display year round in the museum’s Hollywood Celebration exhibit, sharing the room with Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Peter O’Toole, Alfred Hitchcock, and hundreds of other movie icons. The displays are designed for interactivity, with plenty of space around each figure for both individual and group photos with the uncannily real-looking wax stars.
Also on hand to join in the launch were school children from L.A.’s Selma Elementary School, whose renditions of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “Jingle Bells” filled the exhibit hall with sounds of the season. As part of their special holiday promotion and annual toy drive, Madame Tussauds is offering free admission to children 12 and under with the donation of a toy valued at $10 or more.
“Each man’s life touches so many other lives,” says the angel Clarence in the film, and now the world has a chance to share theirs with the James Stewart figure at Madame Tussauds. For hours and directions to the museum located on Hollywood Boulevard, visit www.madametussauds.com/hollywood.
And to see a video interview with Karolyn Grimes, go to YouTube.
Photos by Jeffrey Edward Peters.
[Jeffrey Edward Peters is an actor, director, producer, writer and artist, not necessarily in that order. He is the executive producer and host of www.Comicology.tv ]