He Is the Yankee Doodle Boy

My go-to movie every 4th of July is Yankee Doodle Dandy, the 1942 biopic about celebrated song-and-dance man George M. Cohan. During his career, Cohan published more than 300 songs, including “Over There,” “Give My Regards to Broadway,” and patriotic tunes “The Yankee Doodle Boy” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” The son of Irish vaudeville performers, Cohan was born in Providence, Rhode Island on July 3 (though he and his family insisted he was “born on the 4th of July”). A proud American patriot, Cohan followed in his parents’ footsteps, entertaining people for years before his death in 1942, only a few months after this film’s release. Aside from the biopic, his life was depicted in the 1968 stage musical George M!.Thanks to Cohan’s contributions to American musical theatre, a statue stands in his honor in the heart of Times Square.

In the Warner Bros. film, directed by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, Mildred Pierce), Cohan is portrayed by James Cagney, who plays against his “tough guy” type. For his part, Cagney won an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role (one of three Oscars won among eight nominations, including Best Picture).

Check out this brief clip from the film, and sing along!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EVuOxhdo5c]
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