33¢ James Cagney
Legends of Hollywood
Issue Date: July 22, 1999
City: Burbank, CA
Printed By: Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Photogravure
With his unique blend of conceit and charm, James Cagney (1899-1986) was Hollywood’s greatest “tough guy.” The son of an Irish bartender, Cagney grew up in the rough lower east side of New York City. He toured the vaudeville circuit in the 1920s, and appeared on Broadway. In 1931, he earned fame as a wisecracking criminal in “The Public Enemy.” The scene in which Cagney shoved a grapefruit into the face of his co-star Mae Clark was one of film’s most memorable moments.
In “Angels With Dirty Faces” (1938), Cagney played an arrogant gangster who was on death row for murder. He portrayed sneering, defiant criminals in many other movies, including “Each Dawn I Die” (1939), “The Roaring Twenties” (1939), and “White Heat” (1949). Cagney once remarked, “The fact that I am supposed to be a tough guy in real life doesn’t bother me in the least. It’s amusing.”
It was for his portrayal of George M. Cohan that Cagney won an Academy Award in 1942. “Yankee Doodle Dandy” enabled him to show off his spectacular dancing abilities, which he is pictured doing on the front of this cover. In 1974, James Cagney was awarded the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award, and in 1984, he received the U.S. Medal of Freedom.