Where is Zuzu Bailey now? It’s A Wonderful Life star’s staggering rise to fame

It's a Wonderful Life cast still remain best friends

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It’s A Wonderful Life will make an appearance back on our screens over the Christmas period. Many Brits will be enraptured by the character of Zuzu Bailey. But what happened to this child actor? Has she been in any other films since starring in the 1949 classic?

It’s a Wonderful Life is one of Frank Capra’s most celebrated films, and the classic continues to delight audiences despite marking its 75th anniversary this month.

Zuzu Bailey is the adorable daughter of the film’s main character, George Bailey, who is played by James Stewart.

While James Stewart may have secured his place among Hollywood royalty for his appearance, little is known about the child actor who played Zuzu Bailey, so where is she now?

Who played Zuzu Bailey?

Zuzu Bailey was played by American child actor Karolyn Grimes when she was just six years old.

Although she may be best known for her role in It’s a Wonderful Life, Ms Grimes starred in a staggering 16 films as a child.

Tragically her acting career was cut short by the deaths of both her parents at a young age.

Ms Grimes lost her mother at the age of 14 and her father died a year later, leaving her orphaned.

Ms Grimes was forced to leave her Hollywood home to live with her uncle and strict aunt in Missouri who wouldn’t allow her to watch films, sing or dance.

Where is Karolyn Grimes now?

Ms Grimes is now 81 years old and has seven children through two marriages.

Ms Grimes largely left her glamorous Hollywood lifestyle behind when she moved to Missouri as a teenager, where she went on to become a medical technologist.

It wasn’t until the film made a resurgence in the 1980s that Ms Grimes would look back at her childhood career.

Almost 35 years after the film’s debut, her co-star Jimmy Stewart finally tracked her down alongside the other “Bailey Children”.

When Mr Stewart tracked her down, she was 40 years old and had never watched the festive classic.

She told Washington Post: “I never saw movies I was in because my mom told me that would be prideful, being stuck on yourself.”

Although initially apprehensive about the increased media attention, since being reunited with her co-stars Ms Grimes has gone on to be a firm advocate for the film.

Now she regularly tours and speaks at large screenings of the movie and takes part in Q&As and autograph signings to the delight of her fans.

She has also written a cookbook inspired by the film, which includes film-related recipes such as Henry Potter Pot Pie and Harry Bailey Hero Sandwich.

She now lives in Seattle with her third husband and has recently made a return to screens as an actress.

The child star appeared in her first film in 68 years as a Talk Show Guest in the 2020 film Canaan Land.

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