DEAD: James Cagney

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

James Cagney (aged 86)
American actor and dancer

James Francis Cagney Jr. (July 17, 1899 – March 30, 1986) was an American actor and dancer, both on stage and in film (though primarily known for the latter). Known for his consistently energetic performances, distinctive vocal style, and deadpan comic timing, he won acclaim and major awards for a wide variety of performances. He is best remembered for playing multifaceted tough guys in films such as The Public Enemy (1931), Taxi! (1932), Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), and White Heat (1949), finding himself typecast or limited by this reputation earlier in his career. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him eighth among its list of greatest male stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Orson Welles said of Cagney, “[he was] maybe the greatest actor who ever appeared in front of a camera”.Stanley Kubrick considered him to be one of the best actors in history.

DEATH: Cagney died at his Dutchess County farm in Stanfordville, New York, on Easter Sunday 1986, of a heart attack. He was 86 years old. He died 4 days after his brother William’s 81st birthday. A funeral Mass was held at Manhattan’s St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church. The eulogy at the funeral was given by his close friend, who was also the President of the United States at the time, Ronald Reagan. His pallbearers included the boxer Floyd Patterson, the dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov (who had hoped to play Cagney on Broadway), actor Ralph Bellamy, and the director Miloš Forman. Governor Mario M. Cuomo and Mayor Edward I. Koch were also in attendance at the service.

Cagney was interred in a crypt in the Garden Mausoleum at Cemetery of the Gate of Heaven in Hawthorne, New York.

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