Tags: Hollywood | james cagney | awards | acting | career | highlights

James Cagney's Acting Credentials: Awards and Highlights of Storied Career

By    |   Tuesday, 14 April 2015 07:20 PM

James Cagney was awarded several of the most prestigious awards that an entertainer can receive. A few of those included lifetime achievement awards, recognition from a president, and an Oscar.

The following are some of the most prominent awards Cagney garnered during his life.

1. The Presidential Medal of Freedom presented in 1984 by fellow actor, President Ronald Reagan (whom he had worked with in 1938's “Boy Meets Girl”).

In his presentation speech
, Reagan praised Cagney, saying, “As a giant in the world of entertainment, James Cagney has left his mark not only on the film industry but on the hearts of all his fellow Americans. In some 60 years in entertainment, performing on stage and screen, he mastered drama and action adventure, as well as music and dance.”

He continued, “James Cagney's professional and personal life has brought great credit to him and left unforgettable memories with millions who have followed his career.”

2. Cagney was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 1974 by then-chairman of the AFI actor Charlton Heston.

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Other winners of the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award include giants of the entertainment industry like Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, Gene Kelly, Orsen Welles, Billy Wilder, Mike Nichols, George Lucas and others of Cagney's artistic magnitude.

For his lifetime achievements in the arts, Cagney received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1980. The awards are presented annually in Washington, D.C. The honorees are celebrated during a week of activities, culminating in a gala awards ceremony and star-studded performance at the Kennedy Center Opera House. Those inducted into this prestigious group with Cagney are Leonard Bernstein, Agnes de Mille, Lynn Fontanne, and Leontyne Price.

4. In March of 1943, James Cagney accepted an Oscar at the 15th Annual Academy Awards ceremony. He received this recognition for his portrayal of George M. Cohan in “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

In his acceptance speech Cagney acknowledged the importance of being recognized. He said, “Ladies and gentlemen: Very happy. [Audience yells, ‘Louder’] I said, ladies and gentlemen — I bend into my work here — very happy, very happy. According to the highly personal quality of our business, I've always had the feeling ever since coming into it, that you can only be as good as the other fellow thinks you are, or, I might add, as bad. And it seemed that quite a number of people have thought a good job has been done, and that makes me very happy. And just one added thought, I might say it was a pretty good part. Thank you.”

He had been previously nominated in 1938 for “Angels with Dirty Faces,” in which he played Rocky Sullivan, a tragic tough guy who got caught up in dangerous gangland activities. His third nomination came in 1955 for “Love Me Or Leave Me,” where he starred as a gangster opposite Doris Day in the biopic of chanteuse Ruth Etting.

5. In a fitting tribute, the United States Postal Service honored Cagney with a stamp bearing his image in 1999 as part of the “Legends of Hollywood” series. Collectors worldwide treasure the stamp, which was originally priced at 33 cents.

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James Cagney was awarded several of the most prestigious awards that an entertainer can receive. A few of those included lifetime achievement awards, recognition from a president, and an Oscar.
james cagney, awards, acting, career, highlights
Tuesday, 14 April 2015 07:20 PM
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