Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu Bailey, the little girl in It's a Wonderful Life, is coming to Wilmore for a free public talk about the movie, which turns 65 years old this Christmas.
In the film, Zuzu, the youngest daughter of George and Mary Bailey (Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed), delivers the famous lines: "Look, Daddy! Teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings."
Grimes, 71, was only 6 years old when she appeared in the movie, which was released in December 1946. The film, about a suicidal, small-town savings-and-loan manager, flopped at the time but got a second life in the mid-1970s when a lapsed copyright allowed television stations to show it for free. Repeated showings turned it into an iconic Christmas classic.
Grimes will speak about the making of the movie before a special screening at 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at Hughes Auditorium on the Asbury University campus.
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Using clips from the movie, Grimes will share memories and anecdotes about the set. After the presentation, she will be available for a question-and-answer session.
Grimes' talk has been getting an enthusiastic response since the university began publicizing it, said Brad Johnson, director of marketing and communications for Asbury. "It's gathered legs very quickly," he said.
The event will be tied in with other community activities, including the lighting of the downtown Wilmore Christmas tree on Dec. 3 and a Christmas Festival of Music at Hughes Auditorium on Dec. 4.
It's a Wonderful Life ranks No. 3 on the American Film Institute's Top 10 list of fantasies (behind 1939's The Wizard of Oz and 2001's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring). It is No. 11 on AFI's list of 100 greatest American movies of all time.
Grimes appeared in 15 other movies, including The Bishop's Wife (1947) with Cary Grant and Loretta Young; Albuquerque (1948) with Randolph Scott; and Rio Grande (1950) with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.