Whaddya say? Whaddya know? James Cagney, marginalized by Hollywood as a gangster and tough guy, was actually a triple threat that got his start in Vaudville in the early 1920's and was part of the first generation of talking films and mega-stars.
When I was a little kid I was absolutely terrified of Cagney. I'd only seen roles like White Heat, Smart Money, and The Public Enemy, where he played the tough, womanizing, terrifying gangster so well I thought he really was in the mob until I was a teenager. I didn't see the Seven Little Foys until after high school but that's the movie that I fell head over heels for the man.
From his first role in drag in 1919 :
to his final role in Ragtime in 1981, Cagney never failed to deliver. Nominated 3 times for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a musical, mob movie, and light comedy, Cagney truly was one of the greats.