Tommy child-star from Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” recalls 1946 film classic

Dec 20, 2016

Back in 1946 five year-old Jimmy Hawkins played the role of Tommy in It’s a Wonderful Life. Decades later the film was voted the most inspirational movie of all time by the American Film Institute. When it hit silver screen for Christmas season in 1946, it was a box-office flop and lost $500,000 even though it was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

By pure happenstance I was introduced to Jimmy Hawkins at a Saint Vincent de Paul  camp for disadvantaged kids in the hills above Santa Barbara. 

Come along and join Jimmy as he recalls his role as Tommy, insights about Frank Capra, Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, and other cast members. 

He also talks about his subsequent roles as a teen heartthrob on the Donna Reed Show and other television series. 

Hawkins starred in the first Elvis movie, Girl Happy, and subsequent work as a producer.  During the course of his career, Hawkins starred in or produced more than 500 movies and television shows.

Hawkins also shares the secret of the belated success and cult-like love of It’s a Wonderful Life that didn’t take off until the 1970's when someone forgot to renew the copyright.