Statement on the Death of Actor James Cagney

March 30, 1986

Nancy and I have lost a dear friend of many years today, and America has lost one of her finest artists. We offer our heartfelt condolences to Jimmy Cagney's wife, Bill, and to the other members of his family.

Jimmy burst upon our movie screen with an energy and a talent we have never seen before and we will never see again. He was the best at whatever he did -- a hero, a villain, a comic, or a dancer. But the versatile actor who showed us so many faces on the screen in a multitude of roles was, in private life, a gentle man, a gentleman, and a loving husband and father. Jimmy Cagney was the classic American success story, lifting himself by determination and hard work out of poverty to national acclaim. I believe the entire Nation loved Jimmy Cagney, and I think he must have loved us, too, because he always gave us his very best.

We will miss Jimmy, but we know he has found eternal rest and peace in God's arms. Goodbye, dear friend.