TV Fact #206 – May 18th, 2015:

Speaking of actor James Cagney, the 1984 television film “Terrible Joe Moran” is a 1984 television film is Cagney’s final film that gave him both a final challenge as an actor due to personal difficulties and also allowed fans to have a nostalgic moment of his career.

Clips from Cagney’s 1932 boxing picture “Winner Take All” were also used to illustrate the earlier career of Cagney’s character Joe Moran. However, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Cagney. Due to the aftereffects of a stroke, Cagney was actually unable to properly articulate his dialog during shooting so, in the finished film, his voice is actually dubbed by impressionist Frank Gorshin. Interestingly, the story was originally intended as a vehicle for actress Katharine Hepburn, with the main character a retired tennis champion instead to reflect Hepburn’s real life tennis player talents. However, when she declined the project, it was rewritten for Cagney, with the lead character changed to a retired boxer to instead reflect him instead.

When Cagney died on Easter Sunday in 1986, the eulogy at his funeral was given by his close friend, who was also the President of the United States at the time, Ronald Reagan. Wouldn’t you know it, one of his pallbearers included the boxer Floyd Patterson. Cagney was legend on-screen and off-screen. It seems appropriate his final role would be a man of former, but remembered, glory and that his funeral was represented by men that represented the same strength of character he did. They don’t make guys like Cagney anymore…and we could sure use some men like him now.

Published in: on May 18, 2015 at 11:06 PM  Leave a Comment  

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