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Fine Arts: “It’s a Wonderful Life” Arrives at Madame Tussauds Hollywood

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

Jimmy Stewart and Karolyn Grimes as George and Zuzu Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life."

Jimmy Stewart and Karolyn Grimes as George and Zuzu Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

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.

Karolyn Grimes joins the newly unveiled wax James Stewart figure at Madame Tussauds in Hollywood.

Karolyn Grimes joins the newly unveiled wax James Stewart figure at Madame Tussauds in Hollywood.

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

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 ]

About Jenny Peters (167 Articles)
Jet Set Jen is the brainchild of Jenny Peters, a longtime freelance journalist whose career has spanned everything considered "Lifestyle" reporting, from movies and celebrities to fashion and fast cars, with plenty of food, wine and travel thrown in too. She currently contributes regularly to USA Today's,, New York Magazine, Coast Magazine, Bask Magazine and numerous other newspapers, magazines and websites worldwide. She is a founding and voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (, which annually honors the year's top films with the Critics' Choice Awards. Jenny and her crack cadre of reporters at Jet Set Jen offer up opinions, suggestions and insider scoops on the best that the world has to offer, to keep you on the cutting edge of that ever elusive pursuit of life, liberty, happiness – and fun, fun, fun.

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