Cagney by Cagney by James CagneyScreen legend James Cagney tells a fascinating bit about his life before, during, and after his wonderful film career, though he (like many film stars in their autobiographies) doesnt think people will be interested much in the details of picture making (hes wrong about that). I could have read this book with joy if it had had three times the material. But Cagney thought of himself purely as a song-and-dance man, and didnt make much of his career. So he tells a few interesting tales, pontificates a little about the (non-) art of acting and a little more about politics, and lets it go at that. He seems to have been a genuinely nice man who never thought the magic he brought to the screen was anything but a job--like ditch-digging or house-painting, though maybe a little better paying. I wish thered been more to this book, but whats there is excellent.
Great Dance Routine: James Cagney and Bob Hope
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James Francis Cagney Jr. In the American Film Institute ranked him eighth among its list of greatest male stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Cagney had terrible stage fright and always had to keep a bucket with him. In his first professional acting performance in , Cagney was costumed as a woman when he danced in the chorus line of the revue Every Sailor. He spent several years in vaudeville as a dancer and comedian, until he got his first major acting part in He secured several other roles, receiving good notices, before landing the lead in the play Penny Arcade. Al Jolson saw Cagney in the play.
He toured in vaudeville as a song-and-dance man with his wife, Frances, in the s and scored his first major success opposite Joan Blondell in the Broadway musical Penny Arcade He exuded a tremendous energy that rendered any character larger-than-life, yet his innate grasp of the subtleties of the script ensured that his performances were multidimensional and credible. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy Cagney ended the s with his portrayal of Cody Jarrett, perhaps the most pathologically Oedipal criminal in screen history, in the B-film classic White Heat Top of the world! Cagney experienced continued success throughout the s, with highlights such as his roles as a gruff ship captain in Mister Roberts and as silent-screen legend Lon Chaney in Man of a Thousand Faces
James Cagney, American actor noted for his versatility in musicals, James Cagney, in full James Francis Cagney, Jr., (born July 17, , New York, New.
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James Francis Cagney, Jr. July 17, — March 30, was an Academy Award -winning American film actor who won acclaim for a wide variety of roles and won the Oscar for Best Actor in , for his role in Yankee Doodle Dandy. Many of the roles that Cagney played plumbed the depth of human experience, explored the struggle between good and evil. He tended to play gangster roles, some of whom had a touch of decency despite their criminal personae. In can be said that Cagney left the world a better place for having lived and for having spent his life as an actor, dramatist, and interpreter of the human spirit. He dropped out of sight from the public for almost twenty years to escape the overexposure and hype of Hollywood. Cagney said that the secret to acting was simply this: "Learn your lines… plant your feet… look the other actor in the eye… say the words… mean them.
Sign in. One of Hollywood's preeminent male stars of all time, James Cagney was also an accomplished dancer and easily played light comedy. Cagney was of Norwegian from his maternal grandfather and Irish descent. He emerged from retirement to star in the screen adaptation of E. Doctorow 's novel "Ragtime" Ragtime , in which he was reunited with his frequent co-star of the s, Pat O'Brien , and which was his last theatrical film and O'Brien's as well. Cagney's final performance came in the title role of the made-for-TV movie Terrible Joe Moran , in which he played opposite Art Carney.
James Cagney inaugurated a new film persona, a city boy with a staccato rhythm who was the first great archetype in the American talking picture. He was a true icon, and his essential integrity illuminated and deepened even the most depraved of the characters he portrayed. Born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the son of James Francis Cagney, an alcoholic bartender and saloon proprietor, and Carolyn Nelson Cagney, a housewife, James was one of seven children, two of whom died in infancy. When he was eight, his family moved uptown to the Yorkville section, then a working-class neighborhood of Germans, Irish, Italians, and Jews. Cagney credited his mother for the fact that, unlike a number of his childhood friends, neither he nor his brothers slipped into a life of crime. Nevertheless he learned to use his fists in street fights and even achieved a modest success as an amateur boxer.