Tuesday, April 12, 2011

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 !!


Blogger KGMom said...

Ginnie--yet another example of your brushes with fame.
You are famous in my book!

4:08 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Under the circumstances, you could hardly reply, "You dirty rate, you."

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or you couldn't say "You killed my brudder, you dirty rat".
Our only famous person here on the Shore is Jimmy Merchant. Who you say????? Thats what i said ....

7:01 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

How nice! Did you let him know you knew who he was?

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Big John said...

Good job he didn't shout .."Top of the world Ma!"

7:50 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Oh what a perfect memory! How could one forget something like that?
You've lead a most interesting life!
Love Di ♥

5:03 AM  
Blogger ellen said...

He really was one of a kind, wasn't he?
What fun for you!

3:24 PM  
Blogger Dick Klade said...

Posts like this are lots of fun. I did one several weeks back on a brief encounter with Elizabeth Taylor.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Putz said...

i am next door neighbor's with donny osmond when he isn't performing in vegasz with marie, right here in ephraim{near provo} utar

9:27 AM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

He obviously know a classy gracious lady when he see one.

7:15 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Ginny, James Cagney was one of my favorite actors and this post was a great one to read.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

Nice that he liked the quiet life on the farm. I respect him a lot for that.

4:23 AM  

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