How tall is James Cagney ?

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James Cagney's height is 5ft 5in (165 cm)

American actor best remembered for starring in movies like Yankee Doodle Dandy, The Roaring Twenties and Angels with Dirty Faces. In a 1979 (Feb 13) article in Star News, it mentions a quote by Cagney from an ABC interview: "I was 5-foot-8, no face, just pale white eyebrows and eyelashes. Nothing to photograph"

Portrait of James Cagney, 1930's
Portrait of James...

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Sam says on 17/Feb/14
A biography I read of Cagney did claim a shoed Cagney could measure 5'7.5" but I was some thing hosted by Michael J. Fox a while back in which Fox claimed he and Cagney were the same height, both being under 5'5".
Arch Stanton says on 17/Feb/14
Looking at the form again it says

Height: 5-3
Weight: 112 lbs
Age: 15

It's possible they made it up for the film. I don't think he looked that low but it's interesting that they did document his height as 5'3" as even at 15 that would be very short, and according to him he was 5 ft 8!
Arch Stanton says on 16/Feb/14
Doesn't look quite three inches between him and Bogart but they can't both be 5 ft 8 :-]
Arch Stanton says on 16/Feb/14
Rob have you seen Angels With Dirty Faces? In his juvenile delinquency report "Warrington Reform School" he's written down as 5-3 and 112 lbs, although it says age 13. Makes you wonder why they wrote down 5'3", I doubt he'd have been that tall at 13...
[Editor Rob: can't remember much of it]
Robby D says on 15/Feb/14
Since my last post I have just seen a rerun of the film, "Love Me or Leave Me" and at the beginning, James Cagney enters Doris Day's dressing room, He is wearing dress shoes (not sure is they were elevated) and a hat and she has just taken her shoes off. Even barefoot Day is taller than Cagney with his shoes and hat on and she is listed as 5'6" on this site and 5'7" on other sites. That confirms to me that he was not over 5'5" he may have even been under!
Robby D says on 15/Jan/14
In the movie, "13 Rue Madeleine" James Cagney played "Bob Sharkey" and espionage instructor who was sent on a mission. On his credentials his height was stated as 165cm and that was on the character he wss playing. If he wanted to get away with being 5'8" that was the time to do it. Rob has his height spot on at 5'5" in my opinion.
James Crowley Meridius says on 19/Nov/13
Rob he claimed 5ft 8in in a interveiw is it possible he lifts too boost his height by 3 inches.
[Editor Rob: he does seem a kind of guy who would have worn lifts in that era.]
Arch Stanton says on 9/Sep/13
He actually resembles a young David Jason facially and in stature doesn't he?
Arch Stanton says on 9/Sep/13
Nah, he's in stacked heels that's why I thought he seemed a bit taller. In jockey boots in YD Dandy he looks 5'5" max. Looks very convincing as a little jockey. 5 ft 8 LOL!!! Worse than G!!
Arch Stanton says on 9/Sep/13
He looks 5'6" ish in Yankee Doodle Dandy
HappyLass says on 3/Aug/13
I've never understood the obsession people seem to have with height in our society. Here's my Cagney story. My dad was a physician who practiced in L.A. From the early 30s till 1961. When Mr. Cagney & Spencer Tracy were starting out, they were both patients of my dad. I helped out in the office during school vacations. By then, both actors were successful, but both of them stuck with my dad & drove across L.A. When they could have switched doctors for convenience sake. Dad told me that in the beginning, when they were a couple of broke actors, they'd stop into his office & pay $5 a week till the bill was paid. When I was 13, Mr. Cagney invited me to the studio to see him film "Love Me or Leave Me" with Doris Day. He was so kind to me & made sure I got the royal treatment -- what a day! It never occurred to me to check his height.
Kelly says on 31/Jul/13
In his biography, Cagney By Cagney, he talks about his height in relation to other actors. He requested and, I'm sure, eventually contracted that male actors he was scripted to belt were to be taller than himself. He was keenly aware of his strong screen presence and physicality and therefore wanted to fight taller actors so as not to appear to be taking advantage. In my book, Cagney stood head and shoulders above the crowd no matter what his exact actual height. Not only a spellbinding performer but a superb human being. Long live his memory and God rest his spirit.
greg lehmann says on 21/Jul/13
Closer to my 5'7" height. (I remember that when James Cagney was What's My Line? mystery guest in 1960,after Bennett Cerf guessed James,Cagney told host John Daly he was 5'7",my height.)
Sam says on 15/Mar/13
Saw parts of 13 Rue Madeline last night and Sam Jaffe, who was not a large man, was clearly taller but some margin, in some shots it looked like he had a 3 inch height advantage over Cagney. I don't know if Cagney was ever a lift-wearer but he certainly didn't seem to be wearing them in this movie.
Sydney Simon says on 26/Feb/13
James Cagney was easily one of the greatest actors Hollywood ever saw. "Mr.Roberts"; "Yankee Doodle Dandy"; "White Heat"...the list goes on.He truly was by today's standards, a short man (I don't count Basketball players and no one should as they are an extreme minority). One thing about James Cagney was his clear potential for menace, he really was a wonderful person and dearly loved by all who knew him, but he was no shrinking violet. He was powerfully built for a small man, with a thick chest and strong solid arms and legs. His dancing in Yankee Doodle Dandy left no misinterpretations, he was a strong and dynamic Man.he harnesed his full potential as an actor and used his stiff and jerky style to wonderful effect. Unique and Dearly missed.
Adrian says on 23/Feb/13
First off, I'll thoroughly agree with Patrick. In all particulars. ( No I don't need a monicker. ) Funny that after a while I actually forget about somebody like Mr. Cagney and how good of an actor he was. I'll ascribe it to an information glut. I'll agree he was about five - five. I'll also agree he wasn't sensitive about his height which is a plus. You can gauge by the players around him in his films. Hollywood seems to have a predilection for tall actors because they photograph better. Os such is the prevailing wisdom. If you ever ran into Martin Balsam ( I did once ) I doubt he measured a full five feet. He wasn't a dwarf, it just wasn't unusual in New York City to see people who were very short. Mr. Cagney had what they called ' heart. ' He transcended whatever perceived 'lack' he may've had. Steve McQueen was in fact sensitive about his height. I think because it was the end of the studio system. He could only count on himself and very conscious of the fact he had to present a flawless image to the public. You can see clips of 'The Blob' online giving you and idea just how much taller the supporitng players may've been. Maybe Mr. Cagmey felt a little more confident being in the structure of the studio system knowing he had a job to go to every day which is how he saw it. A job. Regardless, he was unique. All the flaws he might've thought he had, we, as television kids growing up in the fifies and sixties were oblivious to when our attention perked up on these really old reruns. We didn't have color TV as yet. But there was something about this particular guy that made you sit up and take notice whether he played a hood, a song and dance man, or a cowboy. Patrick, you not only hit it on the head but you smashed the hammer in the process. Today's players would have a hard time trying to keep up with that kind of intangible persona Mr. Cagney possessed. ( No spell check on this thing. Sorry if I muffed it. )
PEPPER says on 13/Feb/13
TO RADA: HE ALSO STARRED IN "YANKEE DOODLE DANDEE". ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS GO ON GOOGLE AND ASK WHAT MOVIES JAMES CAGNEY APPEARED IN --- YOU'LL GET PLENTY!!
Mammal X says on 3/Jan/13
Cagney was EIGHTY years old when he made the "I was (WAS, mind you) 5-foot-8) comment, so let's give him a break here. Possibly he once measured 5'8", in shoes, but his real height must have been closer to 5'6". He was a FANTASTIC actor, and his presence was that of a six-footer. I agree with some of the others posters here who said "come back fifty years from now, and see how many of today's stars are still remembered". Read up some time how the old-school actors had do do it; work their way up the ladder, learn to sing and dance, learn to ride horses and do stunts. Most actors did 3, 4, sometimes FIVE movies per year! The delicate daisy's of today's Hollywood would run screaming if forced to work like the oldtimers did!
rafa says on 17/Aug/12
I dont remember to have seen a movie with him. Any recommendations Rob?
[Editor Rob: I gave my dad a boxset I had of some of his best - Angels with Dirty Faces, White Heat, The Roaring Twenties]
Bubba says on 29/Jul/12
He was about 5'6" and Bogart was the same or slightly taller.
i0hn says on 14/Jun/12
I am a big cagney fan. He was actually 3ft 4 inches very short indeed but a great actor
linke says on 9/Feb/12
Rob,i would have guessed 5'6 but 3 inch exaggeration?????
Sam says on 8/Feb/12
Of course 5'8" is ridiculous. Rob, is there a possibility that he was closer to 5'6"? I read his biography a while back and I thought they claimed 5'7.5" in boots but I'd have to go find it again to verify.
RisingForce says on 8/Feb/12
Great find. Wow...5'8"? That may be one of the most exaggerated claims I've seen. Always looked really short, even for his generation. This listing seems accurate to me, so that'd be a 3 inch exaggeration.
jtm says on 7/Feb/12
he was definitely not 5'8.
Editor Rob says on 6/Feb/12
I found what Cagney said his height was - he claimed to be 5ft 8!
Patrick says on 1/Feb/12
Rob, I agree with you and see what you mean. I think that if past stars get now much less comment it is due to the fact they actually don’t know them. Not knowing Frankie – Sinatra – is just unbelievable! James Cagney was not known for his height as well as Bogart and even much taller actors. At the time, they were renowned for their incredible human and talented abilities to play. Johnny Depp playing tough guys as John Dillinger is just a joke but not funny for example. John Wayne is an exception because he conveys something different as he used to do when acting, while being “the” star. Cagney is kind of short John Wayne in a way as Spencer Tracy was who could embody gentle everyman as well as very tough guys (from Father of the bride to Bad day at Black Rock). Even wonderful actor as Tom Hanks could not do it. Jeff Bridges can but he is NO Cagney or Stewart or Wayne for all that and I love him.
As for what will remain tomorrow as real “stars”, no doubt the old ones will regain some splendor if only because the current ones won’t go the distance! Real strong and even tough guys now are rare; it is not enough to do “one’s own stunt” as allegedly do many actors like Cruise or Pitt to be “mature” men. At 50 those actors would have been considered as kids facing old stars when they were 30! It is needed to air a maximum of old good movies as TCM does to help people not to loose their treasure, i.e. their memory.
And BTW, Mindy, James Cagney didn’t need having “short actor” around him not to look too short. He was tall inside and was much more impressive than
Henri Fonda, Stephen McNally, 6’3 Dan Dailey, Raymond Massey, Ward Bond, Steve Cochran, Walter Huston, Dennis Morgan, George Brent etc. all were minimum 6’ and often taller!
[Editor Rob:
if this site is still around 40 years, there might be another 10,000 additions, but a lot of the current hollywood actors talked about today, will barely get a comment in the future.]

All heights are barefeet Estimates, derived from quotations by celebrities, official websites, agency resumes, actors I've met at conventions and pictures and films.

Vital statistics like weight, shoe or bra size measurements have been taken from quotes by the actors themselves in interviews, resumes or articles.

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