An impressive doorman … 1974
Some of you young people may not recognize this face but noone of my generation could forget it. It’s James Cagney, who, in 1999 was ranked 8th among the greatest male stars of all time by the American Film Institution.
In 1961 he bought an 800 acre farm in Dutchess County, NY, the same township where my husband, 3 children and I settled three years later. Although the property was just over the hill from our house we never saw him. He was a very private man and, when at the farm, he kept to himself.
When he was in his mid 70’s he retired to the property but was seldom seen, although he contributed to the well being of the County and was much revered. (He even agreed to let the Millbrook High School, class of 1976 dedicate their yearbook to him.)
One spring day in 1974 I was grocery shopping at our little local store. My arms were full and, as I approached the door, I saw a small, hefty man holding it open for me. He was slightly hunched over and had a plaid felt hat with brim covering his head. It was tilted to give it a rakish look and, as I turned to say “thank you”, he tipped it toward me and said, “the pleasure is mine, little missy.”
There was no mistaking that gravelly voice! James Cagney was my doorman and his twinkling eyes told me that he knew it was a thrill for me. Even in his 70’s he was a captivating presence and you could tell that, as much as he loved his anonymity, he was still the consummate showman !!