James Cagney (1899-1986)
Columbia College 1922
Cagney fused vaudeville choreography with high-intensity dramatic style to create an entirely original approach to film acting.
As described in Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:
"Cagney's surface gestures and mannerisms—many of them adopted from people he knew in the streets of New York's Lower East Side—are easy to catalog: the clipped speech, the hitching up of trousers, the aggressive body language. But his peculiar level of intensity, his capacity for introspection (which prompted longtime pal Pat O'Brien to nickname him 'the faraway fella'), his ability to draw on previously unseen reservoirs of emotion . . . these all mark him as a very special screen personality."
Submitted by Roger Cohen, Columbia College 1974 and Columbia parent, who is solely responsible for the content.
Read more about this nominee in Columbians
Ahead of Their Time.