James Cagney Best Actor Oscar Up For Auction

James Cagney Best Actor Oscar Up For Auction

James Cagney's best actor Oscar statuette for the 1942 musical Yankee Doodle Dandy could sell for over $800,000 (£511,000) when it goes up for auction.

The star was nominated for three Academy Awards during his career as one of the most enduring performers in a golden Hollywood era.

"If it's an Oscar like this, which is considered one of the best ones, James Cagney's Oscar ... will command a really high price," said Laura Yntema, manager of Nate D Sanders auction house in Los Angeles.

It is rare for an Oscar statuette to go up for sale as the show's organiser, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, began making winners after 1951 agree to offer the prize back to the Academy for $1 before selling it

The Academy has in the past gone to court to stop some sales of Oscar statuettes.

In Yankee Doodle Dandy, Cagney played longtime Broadway star George M Cohan, who was an acclaimed singer, actor and playwright in the early 20th century.

"People were just blown away by the performance, and it really stands as one of the best performances of all time," said Ms Yntema.

Cagney, who died in 1986 at the age of 86, first gained a reputation as a tough guy in films like 1932's Taxi!

He went on to star in 1949's White Heat and 1938's Angels With Dirty Faces.

The auction will take place on Thursday.

Late actress Joan Fontaine's best actress Oscar for Alfred Hitchcock's 1940 thriller Rebecca will go up for auction at Christie's next month.