James Cagney

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James Cagney
James Francis Cagney, Jr.
BirthplaceNew York City, New York, USA

Cagney, James

Cagney, James, 1899–1986, American movie actor, b. New York City. He worked on Broadway as an actor and dancer before appearing in films. He is best remembered as a brash, sadistic, tough guy in such movies as Public Enemy (1931) and The Roaring Twenties (1939). He displayed equal vigor in sympathetic parts, appearing in numerous comedies and musicals. He broke a twenty-year retirement to appear in the film Ragtime (1981). His many other films include Angels With Dirty Faces (1936), The Bride Came C.O.D. (1942), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), White Heat (1949), Love Me or Leave Me (1955), Man of a Thousand Faces (1957), and One Two Three (1961).


See his autobiography, Cagney by Cagney (1976); biography by J. McCabe (1997).

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Cagney, James

(1899–1986) film actor; born in New York City. Graduating from vaudeville to the Broadway stage, he made his film debut in Sinner's Holiday (1930). A leading role in The Public Enemy (1931) established him as the quintessential screen gangster, and he played thugs through most of the 1930s. His performance in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), as George M. Cohan, earned him an Oscar. After that movie, he appeared in a variety of roles.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
But Attleck's gangster is no Jimmy Cagney. McCrae holds up banks like a pro and is ready to hand out a serious beating, but he also sneaks off to 12-step meetings, mourns the mother who abandoned him at age 6, and has a soft spot for a pretty bank manager who saw his partner's tattoo.
Suffice to say the burly No 2 was just a little pumped up and when he grabbed poor Stuart's microphone for the second time I thought he was about to launch into his best Jimmy Cagney impression: ``Look at me, ma, I'm on top of the world, ma!''
"Snuff that Girl" (Jimmy Cagney would sing it to his Ma) is a clever jazz riff that explains the gangster's love of crime as follows: "We tried doin' what we should!
Of course, Hollywood has exploited the theme of the gangster as hero since before the days of Jimmy Cagney, but Washington's character seems especially dangerous because he is so suavely controlling that it is easy to ignore the fact that he is always capable of murder.
Meanwhile, as Koehler grew up reckless and poor in Hell's Kitchen, his hero was Jimmy Cagney, the prototypical movie gangster whose personality shadows Koehler deep into his own life of crime and years on the run.
(We're in an airport, duhhh.) But since you asked, let me just say that Slobodan Milosevic suggests a Slavic Jimmy Cagney gone sour--his beady, darting eyes recalling countless repressed homosexuals I knew in the sixties.
If you act like a gangster then at some point you'll get called on it, and when the call comes you'd better have something more to fall back on than Jimmy Cagney dialogue.
After all, Clark Gable, Jimmy Cagney, Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Jean Arthur, and other matinee idols wouldn't do any real harm.
For the recent Diet Coke commercials, Jimmy Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and Louis Armstrong are reanimated on screen, seamlessly blended into the commercial.
But the acting is first-rate, especially -- in addition to the remarkable McGrath -- John Spencer as Floyd, the abusive longshoreman with more than a touch of Jimmy Cagney, and Deborah Hedwall, as Chris's divorced, suffocating mother.
"Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart, Tyrone Power, Jimmy Cagney, Gregory Peck, Glen Ford, Brando -- I don't call him Marlon Brando, just Brando.
If you decided on a night out you could go to the Newcastle Odeon and see the girl with the million dollar legs, Betty Grable, in Song of the Islands or, at the Essoldo, Jimmy Cagney and Bette Davis were starring in The Bride Came C.O.D.