Jimmy was a meticulous man who even as a child, spent hours taking things apart and rebuilding them to see how they worked, and pouring over his model airplanes. Planes were the great fascination of his life and he knew everything about them. He wanted to become a pilot in his childhood, and in his teens, and finally got his chance as an adult, when he trained and went off to serve in WWII. Patriotic to the hilt, Jimmy was annoyed that the military wouldn’t send him on any flying missions out of fear that he might get killed (as America’s favorite actor) and insisted on going anyway. He had many ideas informed by how things had always been, and struggled to let go of his conservative upbringing, which influenced all of his decisions as an adult. Jimmy became a discreet spy for J. Edgar Hoover in his belief that the FBI would take down the mafia operating in Hollywood. Instead, to his frustration, he discovered over time that they wanted him to spy on his friends and root out communism, something he refused to do. He trusted the FBI implicitly, so it hurt him a great deal to find out later they had files on him and all of his friends. He had a charming and likable personality, and no trouble attracting girls – many of his friends complained that if they left him alone with their date for a few minutes, by the time they got back, the girl would be “all about Jimmy.” Jimmy would tell them it wasn’t his fault! Many years later, after the death of his adopted son during a movie, Ford remarked that he could tell Jimmy was severely depressed – but he would perk up around Ford, ask him questions about his life, and joke around with him, “as he cared about my feelings more than his own.” Jimmy had a habit of suppressing all deep emotions and instead, maintaining a likable exterior full of more superficial ones (Fe’s typically do this, out of concern that their feelings will disrupt others, or be inappropriate; especially male FJs conditioned by society that being emotional isn’t “manly”). He showed an enormous amount of introverted thinking in his childhood, in how he loved to take things apart, study how they worked, and put them together. He was very mechanical, learned best by doing things, and was smart in dealing with technical things like airplanes. He built many inventions as a teenager / child, from a ‘carnival ride’ to mechanics involved in a school play, but also struggled to learn in school. Jimmy showed very little interest in abstract things or in seeing through others’ ill intentions.

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Jimmy was a “slow starter.” It took him years to commit to anything; he didn’t get married or start a family until he was in his forties, and then he remained happily married to the same woman until her death forty years later. Everyone remarked on how calm and unflappable he was, even in the army – where he went out of his way to be likable and put people at ease before they went on flying missions over France. He had a slow way of speaking and told long, rambling stories at times. He was so good-natured, it shocked people whenever he lost his temper – because it was so violent. Gloria (his wife) said everyone thought of Jimmy as a slow and gentle man – and he was – but he could fly into a towering rage. One time, he got sick of being bullied and laid into them, beating them with his fists as a teenager until they cried uncle. Another time, a mafia hood was harassing him in Hollywood, and Jimmy finally had enough and told him to go to hell. His blazing eyes caused the man to, surprisingly, back off and leave him alone after that. He spent years working on controlling his temper, but it was still there, riding just underneath the surface (and “you don’t want to see me lose it”). Jimmy was not usually anxious, but did become so whenever he was stressed. He didn’t like to think ill of anyone, so it shook him whenever someone proved themselves unworthy of his trust, such as when J. Edgar Hoover died, and everyone found out he had files on everyone in Hollywood, including Jimmy. After a vicious argument with his best friend, Jimmy didn’t speak to Henry Ford for many years. When they finally reconciled, there was no apology, they just started working on a model airplane together. He was also not afraid ‘enough’ of the mafia in Hollywood.