James Cagney
James Francis Cagney was born on July 17, 1889 in New York City and died in Stanfordville, NY on March 30, 1986 from a heart attack related to diabetes. He called himself The Professional Againster – probably because of all the gangster and tough guy roles he played. His Oscar, however, was for his role as George M. Cohan in the musical, Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Cagney was of Norwegian and Irish descent that may have contributed to his wisecracking, staccato style of talking. He was in films for thirty years, retired to his farm in New York State in 1961 and then came out of retirement in 1981 to star in the adaptation of E.L. Doctorow’s novel, Ragtime. He was reunited with Pat O’Brien, a longtime favored co-star. Cagney’s final film was in Terrible Joe Moran, a made-for-TV movie co-starring Art Carney.

Ann Robinson
Ann Robinson was born in Hollywood, California on May 25, 1929. She literally grew up in the “shadow of the studios,” acted in school plays and conned her way into the movie business as a stunt woman with roles in Black Midnight (1949), The Story of Molly X (1949) and Frenchie (1950) where she was a stunt rider doubling for Shelley Winters. Although she was part of Paramount’s golden circle of new stars in the 1950’s, she had only one leading role in George Pal’s The War of the Worlds (1953).

Her marriage to Jaime Bravo, a famous Mexican matador, derailed her film career. They were divorced in 1967 but both her sons ended up working in the film and TV business. She married Joseph Valdez in 1987 and revived her film career the next year. Ann has appeared in 55 TV productions and 24 films.

Fatty Arbuckle Day at the Rheem Theatre
Coming off last month’s nearly sold out audience for the Buster Keaton Festival; the Rheem Theatre will be hosting an evening of four Fatty Arbuckle silent short films on Saturday April 23 at 7:00PM. A live baby grand piano score, written and performed by the amazing pianist, Patti Liedecker, will accompany the short films plus I will be lecturing on the life and career of Fatty Arbuckle.

Just a quick overview: Roscoe Arbuckle, better known as “Fatty” Arbuckle was born in Smith Center, Kansas on March 24th 1887. Roscoe started working in silent films in 1909, at Selig Polyscope Company. He moved over to the Keystone Film Company in 1913 where his career began to take off and he became one of Hollywood’s highest paid actors. Roscoe was influential in launching the careers of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Bob Hope. He lived a very interesting life that plays out like a Hollywood movie: infidelity, wild parties, murder, scandals and unsolved mysteries. Learn more about this iconic Hollywood pioneer and his close ties to San Francisco on Saturday April 23rd.