Classic Entertainment Autographs

Cat. #00080122: JAMES CAGNEY

Nifty 8x10-inch black and white publicity portrait in his prime, boldly signed and inscribed in black felt-tip pen in his later years. In fine condition, with a few scattered handling bends, the most noticeable of which is in the background near the left edge, only slightly detracting from the overall appearance. With his often-impersonated raspy voice and staccato vocal inflections, James Cagney was one of the brightest stars in American cinema history. In 1930, he recreated his role in the hot play "Penny Arcade" in the film adaptation, Sinner's Holiday, and, within a year, he was signed by Warner Brothers. In his fifth film with the studio, he portrayed the ruthless gangster in Public Enemy (1931), and, practically overnight, became every American's favorite antihero. Audiences loved the small, rather plain-looking man who, while lacking the looks usually associated with the traditional Hollywood leading man of the era, projected a contentious, arrogant confidence and dynamic energy. Unforgettable in subsequent gangster films, most notably Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) and White Heat (1949), Cagney was never content to play one type of role, testing his own range and versatility in Shakespearean dramas, such as A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935); musicals like Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), for which he won an Academy Award; and the satire One, Two, Three (1961). One of his most challenging portrayals was that of horror icon Lon Chaney, Sr. in the much-loved biopic Man of a Thousand Faces (1957).