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Cagney, James (“Jimmy”)

Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on January 30, 2004

(1899-1986)

    The quintessential Warner Brothers tough guy in films like Angels With Dirty Faces and The Public Enemy (1931), in which he smashes a grapefruit into the face of gang moll Mae Clarke. The energetic Cagney also had great dancing ability, as he demonstrated in his Oscar-winning performance as George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), earlier in Footlight Parade (1933).

    Cagney is seen pitching pennies with George Raft and Humphrey Bogart in Hollywood Steps Out (Avery, 1941), and is the winner of the Academy Oscar -- as if there were only one -- in What’s Cookin’ Doc? (Clampett, 1944), a probable reference to his win for Best Actor the previous year. The bee in Porky’s Pastry Pirates (Freleng, 1942) is also a Cagney tough-guy caricature.

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