JAMES CAGNEY d1986. American actor who won major acclaim and major awards for a wide variety of performances ; he is best remembered for his screen persona playing "tough guys" in the gangster movies of the 1930-40s. In his first professional acting performance, he danced dressed as a woman in the chorus line of the 1919 revue Every Sailor. He spent several years in vaudeville as a hoofer and comedian until he got his first major acting part in 1925. He secured several other roles receiving good notices, before landing the lead in the 1929 play Penny Arcade. After rave reviews, Warner Bros signed him for an initial $500-a-week / three-week contract to reprise his role ; this soon became a seven-year contract. His seventh film, "The Public Enemy" became one of the most influential gangster movies of the period ; notable for its famous grapefruit scene, the film thrust Cagney into the spotlight, making him one of Warners' and Hollywood's biggest stars. In 1938, he received his first Academy Award for best actor nomination for "Angels With Dirty Faces" before winning in 1942 for his portrayal of George M Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy. He was then nominated a third time in 1955 for Love Me Or Leave Me. He retired for twenty years in 1961 to spend time on his farm, before returning for a part in "Ragtime" mainly to aid his recovery from a stroke. He suffered with poor health in his later years including glaucoma / diabetes and survived several strokes. He died of a heart attack aged 86 in 1986. In 1999, he was ranked by the AFI the 8th greatest American male screen legend.
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Reference Number. 5897
An original vintage circa 1960s autograph book page, clearly signed in ballpoint by James Cagney
Double mounted for fine display with photographsView more information