James Cagney Biography: Wife, Height, Net Worth, Age, Children, Cause Of Death


James Cagney Biography – Who is James Cagney? James Francis Cagney Jr., born on July 17, 1899, and passing on March 30, 1986, was an iconic American actor and dancer known for his energetic performances and distinctive vocal style. Over his illustrious career, Cagney captivated audiences with his versatile roles, especially as tough guys in gangster films. This biography looks into his personal life, career, and legacy.

James Cagney Biography

Early Life and Career

James Cagney’s first professional acting role came in 1919, where he performed as a woman in the chorus line of the revue Every Sailor. His early career was spent in vaudeville as a dancer and comedian. In 1925, he secured his first significant acting role, which led to his breakthrough performance in the 1929 play Penny Arcade. This play’s success caught the eye of Al Jolson, who ensured Cagney’s transition to film by securing the movie rights and involving Warner Bros.

Rise to Stardom

Cagney’s fifth film, The Public Enemy (1931), became a pivotal point in his career. The film featured the famous grapefruit scene and propelled him to stardom. He received his first Academy Award nomination in 1938 for Angels with Dirty Faces and won an Oscar in 1942 for his performance in Yankee Doodle Dandy. Despite being typecast early on, Cagney managed to showcase his dancing skills and versatility in various roles.

READ ALSO -  Senator Ireti Kingibe Biography: Husband, Age, State Of Origin, Parents, Religion, Education

James Cagney Wife and Family

James Cagney married Frances Willard Vernon in 1922. The couple remained together until Cagney’s death in 1986. They did not have any children of their own, but Cagney was a devoted family man, particularly close to his brother William Cagney and sister Jeanne Cagney, both of whom were also involved in the entertainment industry.

Height and Physical Appearance

Cagney stood at 1.65 meters (5 feet 5 inches) tall. Despite his shorter stature, he possessed a commanding presence on screen, often portraying tough, authoritative characters.

Career Highlights

Major Films

Cagney’s career is marked by several standout films, including:

  • The Public Enemy (1931)
  • Taxi! (1932)
  • Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)
  • The Roaring Twenties (1939)
  • City for Conquest (1940)
  • White Heat (1949)

His portrayal of George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy remains one of his most celebrated performances, earning him an Academy Award.

Later Career and Retirement

Cagney retired from acting in 1961 but made a brief return in 1981 for the film Ragtime. This comeback was primarily to aid his recovery from a stroke, showcasing his enduring passion for acting.

James Cagney Net Worth

At the time of his death in 1986, James Cagney had an estimated net worth of $25 million. His financial success was a result of his high earnings from films, wise investments, and business ventures.

James Cagney Cause of Death

James Cagney passed away at the age of 86 due to complications related to diabetes and the effects of several strokes. Despite his health challenges, he remained active and engaged in his later years.

READ ALSO -  Pemmy Majodina Biography: Husband, Age, Education, Date Of Birth


Honors and Recognition

Cagney’s impact on Hollywood is undeniable. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him eighth on its list of the greatest male stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Renowned director Orson Welles once described him as “maybe the greatest actor who ever appeared in front of a camera.”


Cagney’s dynamic performances and dedication to his craft have inspired countless actors. His legacy endures through his extensive filmography and the high regard in which he is held by critics and fans alike.


Who was James Cagney’s wife?

James Cagney was married to Frances Willard Vernon from 1922 until his death in 1986.

How tall was James Cagney?

James Cagney was 1.65 meters (5 feet 5 inches) tall.

What was James Cagney’s net worth?

At the time of his death, James Cagney’s net worth was estimated to be $25 million.

Did James Cagney have any children?

James Cagney did not have any children. He was, however, very close to his siblings, William and Jeanne Cagney.

What caused James Cagney’s death?

James Cagney died due to complications from diabetes and the effects of several strokes.


James Cagney’s life and career were marked by extraordinary talent, resilience, and dedication. From his early days in vaudeville to his legendary film roles, Cagney left an indelible mark on Hollywood. His story is one of perseverance, artistic achievement, and enduring legacy.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.