I just finished reading his autobiography yesterday and thought it was fairly interesting. If you don't know who he is, which would be crazy, he was a conservative (well as he got older), conservationist, song-and-dance man who learned to play tough ass gangsters (who loved their mommas) while growing up in New York; two of his childhood friends landed on death row.
He hated method acting, studio executives, pestering fans, and he loved dancing, keeping good company, and horses. In his spare time, and especially after he retired, he chose to live as a recluse. Learning to farm, paint, and write poetry; which he wasn't especially good at: though this one about Bogie made me laugh:
In this silly town of ours,
One sees odd primps and poses;
But movie stars in fancy cars,
Shouldn't pick their famous noses.
Apparentally he fought a hell of a lot and was extremely patriotic (obviously). His life philosophy was very simple: don't take yourself too seriously and work as hard as you can. And though a lot of his personality seems contradictory, and extraordinarily self-assured, his intergrity, charity, charm, energy, strength and will are all still remarkably refreshing today.
In the end, one thing is certain about him: he was a frickin' awesome actor!!!
Interesting Stuff: Kukor and Coppola both tried to coerce him out of retirement by offering him roles in both My Fair Lady and The Godfather Part II, he was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom, he had his own production company (well kind of: the most acclaimed film being Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye), and he never cheated on his wife!!! Okay that's nothing special, but it is sort of rare for such a star.
P.S: He also thought Raoul Walsh was a great director .
So, what do you guys think of Jimmy Cagney?
I wish I could show you one of his paintings but I couldn't find a picture: there's one in the book.
EDIT: I also wish I was better at writing these things.