Happy 117th Birthday, James Cagney!

The unforgettable James Cagney was born 117 years ago today on New York City’s Lower East Side. Here are ten JC Did-You-Knows:

  • Cagney’s first show biz gig was as a female dancer in the chorus line of the 1919 Broadway revue, Every Sailor.
  • Cagney was three-quarters Irish and one quarter Norwegian.
  • Having grown up on the Lower East Side, Cagney was conversant in Yiddish.
  • Cagney’s brother William (actor/producer) and sister Jeanne (actress) both worked in pictures, too.
  • Cagney was a Black Belt in Judo.
  • Cagney was married to wife Frances for 64 years.
  • On March 26, 1984, Cagney was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • Cagney and his wife, Frances, worked in vaudeville as “Vernon and Nye,” performing comedy routines and musical numbers.
  • Cagney once operated a dance school for professional performers.
  • Cagney’s first film, Sinner’s Holiday (1930), saw him and Joan Blondell reprising the roles they had played in Penny Arcade, the Broadway play on which the picture was based.

Happy birthday, James Cagney, wherever you may be!

James Cagney