James Cagney Was My Babysitter

by Ryan Cassidy with Johnny Ray Miller


Foreword and Afterword by Shirley Jones


Illustrated by Andrea Carvajal


ISBN: 978-1735273853


U.S. publication date: March 14, 2023


Hardcover with dust jacket


64 pages, illustrations + photos


All ebook formats


Imagine you are a 7-year-old introvert informed by your father that you will spend the afternoon at a famous actor’s house—a famous actor you’ve never met! In fact, this famous actor from Hollywood’s golden age will be your babysitter. From the spooky car ride up a narrow driveway in Benedict Canyon to the creaky opening of the front door that reveals an elderly James Cagney, you are captivated! The star of The Public Enemy, Yankee Doodle Dandy, White Heat, Mister Roberts and many other Hollywood classics is nothing like you’d expect. He’s not brash; he’s not a killer; he isn’t loud and he doesn’t sing and dance. He is quiet and gentle and full of imagination. This isn’t a scary gangster—this is Santa Claus!

In one afternoon away from the pressures of a perfectionist father, you relax and fall under the spell of a wonderful babysitter who makes you feel special and encourages you to enter an imaginary world where leprechauns come to life and owls speak to you from the trees. Hours later, you leave James Cagney’s house changed from a timid child into an enthusiastic young man who’s infused with self-confidence and ready for life’s next adventure.


The beautifully illustrated, enchanting James Cagney Was My Babysitter walks the reader through Ryan's day with Mr. Cagney, a day he will never forget. And neither will those who open this book.

Ryan Cassidy, the youngest son of Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy, followed in the footsteps of his three famous brothers, David, Shaun, and Patrick, embarking on an acting career. He appeared on The Facts of Life, but soon became much more interested in working behind the camera. He worked in the art department for Jim Henson Productions as set dresser on Muppets Tonight, later working on The King of Queens, Summerland, According to Jim, E.R., Southland, and The Lincoln Lawyer. He currently works on N.C.I.S. Ryan also sits on the board of directors for the Los Angeles Police Museum.

Johnny Ray Miller is the author of the critically acclaimed 'When We're Singin'The Partridge Family & Their Music, and an advocate for the musical legacy of David Cassidy. He was a concert promoter for both Cassidy and Davy Jones in 2009. Johnny has worked on long-running television shows, including Desperate Housewives, King of Queens, and CSI: NY. With a B.A. in Theater and Journalism, Johnny has spent 25 years producing and directing theater in Northeast Ohio, including his own adaptation of A Christmas Carol that ran for 10 years, and acting in more than 100 stage productions.

Andrea Carvajal is a freelance illustrator, graphic designer and visual artist from Monterrey, Mexico. Her career started in 2016 while she was completing a Bachelor of Arts degree and teaching art to children in a summer camp in Maryland. After graduating, she worked at a graphic design studio in Monterrey, Mexico, that focused on branding and marketing for real estate clients. In 2018 she decided to start her freelance career while traveling around Southeast Asia. She did non-profit design work for local businesses and volunteered and worked in different schools and organizations as an art teacher until 2020. Since then she has been freelancing and traveling through Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and she has discovered a passion for illustrating children’s literature. She loves making fun, quirky, and playful illustrations that brighten up a story.

Shirley Jones is an actress, singer, and author who has appeared in memorable classic motion pictures, including Oklahoma! and The Music Man. She earned an Academy Award for her performance in the 1960 feature Elmer Gantry. Shirley was a four-time Golden Globe nominee for her role as the singing mother of The Partridge Family, which aired from 1970 through 1974. She wrote Shirley Jones: A Memoir in 2013. James Cagney Was My Babysitter author Ryan Cassidy is her son.

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