James Cagney was born in Manhattan's Lower East Side on July 17, 1899. While working at a department store, the soon-to-be-legendary big screen tough guy landed his first stage role in drag as a chorus girl. Cagney signed to Warner Brothers and made a name for himself by playing gangsters in films like Angels with Dirty Faces and White Heat. Cagney was nearly as tough off-screen as on and he became one of the first actors to sue a studio over a contract and win. He died in 1986.
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