HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMES FRANCIS CAGNEY (July 17, 1899 – March 30, 1986)
In his last interview, conducted by journalist Gregory Speck only a few months before he passed away, Cagney pondered his lasting tough guy image. “I don’t understand why the public never tired of those awful hoodlums,” he said. In reality, it wasn’t the hoodlum they relished. It was the image, the looks, the pugnacity, the dynamism, the bond, the honesty – sometimes brutally intense, sometimes dramatically tragic – always felt from the nearest orchestra seat to the farthest standing-room-only back wall in the movie house. It was the revelation of a man who was more than the sum of his parts on the screen; was the sincere, inherent goodness of a human being who lived his life willingly accountable for the benefit of others.