"Zuzu" from "It's a Wonderful Life" visits Sandusky

SANDUSKY Karolyn Grimes, who portrayed 6-year-old Zuzu Bailey in the iconic 1946 holiday film "
jasonsinger
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

Karolyn Grimes, who portrayed 6-year-old Zuzu Bailey in the iconic 1946 holiday film "It's a Wonderful Life," will appear at several events Saturday at the Sandusky State Theatre.

Earlier this week, the Register spoke with Grimes about the film, her career and how "It's a Wonderful Life" changed her life. Here's some excerpts of the interview:

Q: Are you still surprised people are interested in this movie 60 years after it was made?

A: No. Not at all.

Q: Why do you think people can still relate to it?

A: Because it's timeless. It applies to today, yesterday and probably forever.

Q: Do you think it particularly applies to today because of (the poor economy)?

A: Oh, absolutely. More so today because of the crisis with the credit, and all the business situations that exist.

Q: Yeah, there are a lot of George Baileys out there right now.

A: Oh my goodness, I've read some articles that have asked, 'What would George Bailey do?'"

Q: As somebody who has gone through a number of tragedies in your life -- I know a lot of people close to you, a lot of family members, have passed away prematurely -- does the movie have special significance for you?

A: Oh absolutely. Anytime you watch that movie, you are centered back to where you can take a moment to reflect on what you have in your life. And everyone has something that's wonderful. And you learn what really is important, like faith, family and friends.

Q: I read a quote where you were talking about how friendships and love can carry you through anything.

A: I believe that.

Q: Is there somebody, in specific, who has helped you along the way?

A: I can say everybody. I mean the fans from "It's A Wonderful Life" have always been right there for me. The love that they give to me has helped me through tough times. And I really think that spiritually, I have prayed throughout my life and found that it helps.

Q: Does it bother you after 60 years that something you did when you were five or six or seven plays such a big part in your life and defines you?

A: I'm thrilled to death. It does define me. And I do feel like there is a reason that I was chosen to be that little girl. Because you really do have a responsibility if you were a part of this film. You really realize the amount of people that count on this movie who watch it year-round and who get inspired. They're at the bridge, they've told me. They're at the bridge, and they watch this movie, and it gives them sustenance, and it helps them realize what they do have in their lives.

Q: Was Jimmy Stewart as cool in real life as he was in the movies?

A: He was. He was a wonderful, wonderful man. We celebrated his centennial birthday this year. He would have been 100 years old. He was a good patriot, a man who helped his community. He did it all.

Q: And if you had to choose between Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant -- another movie star whom you worked with -- who was cooler?

A: Jimmy Stewart was probably cooler (to) an adult, but Cary Grant was cooler (to) a kid. Because he used to pull me around on a sled and on the ice skating rink on the stage. He just loved kids. He read me stories. He spent a whole lot of time with me, and I really enjoyed that.

WANT TO GO?

WHAT: "It's a Wonderful Life" with Karolyn Grimes at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Grimes will also be attending the Festival of Trees Gala at 6 p.m.

WHERE: All the events are at Sandusky State Theatre, 107 Columbus Ave.