Sad news to report….
James Caan, the veteran screen actor known for his work in such films as “The Godfather,” “Misery” and “Elf,” has died, his family said in a statement on his verified Twitter account. He was 82.
“It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jimmy on the evening of July 6,” the statement read. “The family appreciates the outpouring of love and heartfelt condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.”
They did not disclose a cause of death.
Caan first found fame playing Chicago Bears halfback Brian Piccolo in “Brian’s Song,” a widely seen 1971 TV movie. The tear-jerking film chronicled Piccolo’s real-life battle with terminal cancer and drew praise for its treatment of the interracial friendship between Piccolo and a Black teammate, Gale Sayers.
His next film, 1972’s “The Godfather,” made Caan a star. Although he was not Italian, Caan was cast as hotheaded Sonny Corleone, oldest of mobster Vito Corleone’s three sons, who is memorably gunned down by rival gangsters in an ambush at a tollbooth.
In a 2021 interview for “CBS Sunday Morning,” Caan said he based Sonny’s persona on the late comedian Don Rickles.
“It wasn’t imitating Don Rickles. It was having that drive, that thing, you know? I was just locked into that,” he said of his performance.
The role earned him an Oscar nomination. Caan also appeared in a flashback in “The Godfather, Part II.”[ CNN].
In one of the first social media tributes to Caan, comedian and actor Adam Sandler tweeted he loved the actor and “always wanted to be like him. So happy I got to know him. Never ever stopped laughing when I was around that man. His movies were best of the best. We all will miss him terribly. Thinking of his family and sending my love.”
Misery director Rob Reiner replied to the tweet confirming Caan’s death, writing: “So sorry to hear the news. I loved working with him. And the only Jew I knew who could calf rope with the best of them. Love to the family.”
May he rest in PEACE….