Jeanne and James Cagney Related By Blood And Passion | A Flashback On Their Life & Career

Jeanne and James Cagney, the two siblings, acted alongside in four films

Key Takeaways

  • Though Jeanne and James Cagney passed away, their work and talent continue to be celebrated.
  • Jeanne appeared in 19 films between 1939 and 1965, including four with her brother.
  • James starred in numerous films from 1919 to 1961, with standout roles in ‘The Public Enemy,’ ‘Taxi!,’ and ‘White Heat.’

Jeanne Cagney and James Cagney, two siblings bound by blood, left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry during the 20th century.

Born into a family of seven, including siblings Harry, Edward, and William and their parents Carolyn Elizabeth and James Cagney Sr., the Cagney household was filled with ambition.

James Cagney, a legendary figure in cinema, was born on July 17, 1899, two decades before his sister Jeanne, born on March 25, 1919.

Their shared journey in the limelight captivated audiences on stage and screen, leaving an enduring legacy.

Tragically, both siblings passed away within two years of each other.

James departed this world on March 10, 1986, while Jeanne followed him on December 7, 1984.

Though they may have left us, their contribution to the entertainment world has left an indelible mark that inspires generations of actors.

Here’s a flashback on the life of Jeanne Cagney and James Cagney.

The Life And Career of Jeanne Cagney

Jeanne Cagney was born in New York City and raised by her mother, Carolyn, along with her four older brothers after her father passed away.

She excelled academically, graduating with honors from Hunter College with degrees in French and German and being a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

After completing her education, Jeanne pursued acting training at Pasadena Playhouse.

Her talent was spotted by a talent scout while she was performing on a radio show hosted by Bing Crosby.

Although she initially tested with RKO Pictures, she ultimately signed a long-term contract with Paramount Pictures.

Throughout her career spanning from 1939 to 1965, Jeanne appeared in 19 films, including four movies where she co-starred alongside her brother, James Cagney.

Some of her notable works with him include ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy,’ ‘The Time of Your Life,’ ‘A Lion is in the Streets,’ and ‘Man of a Thousand Faces.’

In her personal life, Jeanne Cagney was married twice.

Her first marriage was to Ross Latimer, aka Ko Spalding, which lasted for seven years, from 1944 to 1951, before ending in divorce.

Two years later, in 1953, she found love again with a theater arts faculty member at UCLA named Jack Morrison.

They wed on June 6, 1953, and had two daughters together, Mary and Terry.

The Remarkable Journey of James Cagney

James Cagney was the second of seven children born to his parents, though tragically, two of his siblings passed away within months of their births.

He received his education at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, graduating in 1918.

James then attended Columbia College, initially pursuing a major in Arts.

Early in his life, he took on various jobs to support his family.

While at the New York Public Library, he met Florence James, who encouraged him to pursue an acting career.

James’s acting career spanned from 1919 to 1961, appearing in numerous films.

Some of his notable and acclaimed roles were in the classic movies ‘The Public Enemy,’ ‘Taxi!,’ and ‘White Heat.

Talking about his personal life, James Cagney married Frances Willard “Billie” Vernon on September 28, 1922, and their union lasted until his passing in 1986.

Together, they adopted a son, James Francis Cagney III, in 1940 and a daughter, Cathleen ‘Casey’ Cagney, further expanding their loving family.

In Case You Didn’t Know

  • During the late 1930s, Jeanne was a model before she pursued her acting career.
  • Jeanne Cagney has roots tracing back to Irish descendants.


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