With his raspy voice, and staccato vocal inflections James Cagney was one of the brightest stars in American cinema history. The son of an Irish father and a Norwegian mother who lived and worked in New York’s Lower Eastside, Cagney did a variety of odd jobs to help support his family, including working as a waiter, and a poolroom racker, and even a female impersonator in a Yorkville revue. This humble beginning led to joining the chorus in the Broadway show Pitter-Patter, followed by a vaudeville tour with his wife Francis. By 1925, Cagney had begun to play Broadway leads; he was particularly successful in the musical Penny Arcade, which lead him to be cast in the Hollywood version, renamed Sinner’s Holiday (1930). Within a year, Cagney had been signed by Warner Bros., where, in his fifth movie role, he played the ruthless gangster in Public Enemy, the 1931 film that made him a star.
Cagney was a small, rather plain looking man, and had few of the external qualities usually… read more
Able to perform a gritty, tommy gun-wielding performance in one film and a bravura song-and-dance performance in the next. Jimmy Cagney is a true acting classic!!