James Cagney's birthday was yesterday, July 17th. He was born in 1899, and died in 1986. Most people associate James Cagney with his gangster roles, but he is also well known for his tap dancing, and it is those roles that I love him in. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) is my favorite musical; I can watch it over and over. As a child, I saw him many times in Yankee Doodle Dandy, which was often shown as a Saturday afternoon matinee on July 4th at my neighborhood theater. James Cagney played George M. Cohan and there were many great tap dancing routines in that movie. Cagney was nominated for his first Oscar for Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) but he won his only Oscar for his role in Yankee Doodle Dandy. He reprised his role as George M. Cohan thirteen years later in The Seven Little Foys (1955).
|Cagney and Joan Leslie in Yankee Doodle Dandy|
|Cast of Footlight Parade|
Glen wants me to mention his favorite Cagney movies: Lady Killer (1933), The Strawberry Blonde (1941), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935) (yes, Shakespeare, playing Bottom, the weaver), and Picture Snatcher (1933).