Thursday, July 16, 2015

You'd Think He Was Born on the 4th!

James Francis Cagney was born July 17, 1899 in New York City ... as in where else!  Rising rapidly to stardom after his performance as Tom Powers in Public Enemy (1931), James stayed at the top of his profession through 1961 when he bowed out in One, Two, Three as the fast-talking Coco-Cola executive C. R. MacNamara.  (Great Movie!  Do make it a point to see it if you haven't already.  Cagney gives a wonderful performance, a great way to end a great career.)

Check out James below with another longtime pro, Walter Pidgeon.  Do you think Walter is believing the tall tale Cagney is telling?  I'm sure they have both heard it all by this time.  Also, have you noticed how much of 6' 2-1/2" Pidgeon's career was spent sitting so the other actor could be in the same shot? 

   Cagney & Walter Pidgeon on the set of These Wilder Years (1956)

I have always thought of Cagney as being one of the good guys, even before knowing he and Bob were lifelong friends.  But the halo effect in this portrait?  I'm guessing that was overdoing it a tad.  

           Promotional shot of Cagney for Blood on the Sun (1945)

From the early 1950s and into the 1960s, Bob and Jim were neighbors, at least when Bob was not in NYC or summering in the east Hamptons.  Bob had an estate outside Millbrook, NY and Jim had property just to the north outside Stanfordville, NY.  Their homes were about 10 miles apart.  Jim stayed on his place until his death, Bob would move on to Canaan Valley, CT.

Wouldn't it have been fun tagging along with Bob and Jim when they left the wives at home and spent the day walking the grounds for good conversation and the occasional shot at fleeing fowls.  Not quite your average movie stars of today.  (Thank goodness!)

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