James Caan Dies at 82 – Opinion

There’s sad news out of Hollywood Thursday, as multiple sources report that longtime actor James Caan has died.

Caan was known for keeping in touch with his legion of fans (many of whom knew him from his role as “Sonny Corleone” in “The Godfather) through social media. For example, in December 2021, the actor posted just “end of tweet,” a string of emojis, along with then-and-now images of himself and “Misery” co-star, Kathy Bates.

So, it’s fitting that today, his family sent this statement out to fans, with his signature close, “end of tweet.”

With great sorrow, we announce the death of Jimmy in the evening of July 6.

Your family is grateful for your support and condolences. We ask you to keep their privacy at this time.

End of Twitter

There was no cause of death.

NBC News

Movie tough guy James Caan, best known for his work in such big-screen classics as “The Godfather,” “Misery” and “Elf,” died on Wednesday, his family said.

He was 82. …

Caan will probably be best remembered as “The Godfather’s” Sonny Corleone, the hot-headed oldest son of mob boss Vito Corleone, played by Marlon Brando.

But because his career in Hollywood spanned decades, touching fans from several generations, some will know him best from roles like the tormented author held captive by his biggest fan (Bates) in “Misery,’ or Buddy’s (Will Farrell) reluctant dad in “Elf,” among other amazing characters.


James Edmund Caan, was born in Bronx. Michigan State U. was his college. He attended Hofstra U. (where he was a football player) Francis Ford Coppola was one of his classmates. He studied at New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater under Sanford Meisner. …

The young Caan first worked on the stage and made his Broadway debut in “Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole,” starring Peter Fonda, in 1961. He began making guest appearances on series including “The Untouchables,” “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour,” “Ben Casey” and “Dr. Kildare.” He appeared as a thug in the Olivia de Havilland thriller “Caged” in 1964 but first came to notice playing John Wayne’s young sidekick in Howard Hawks’ 1966 Western “El Dorado.” Caan starred with Robert Duvall in Robert Altman’s little-remembered space exploration drama “Countdown” (1968) (of course the pair would reunite three years later for “The Godfather”) but more importantly starred with Shirley Knight in Coppola’s odd little road movie “The Rain People” (1969) before “Brian’s Song” and “The Godfather” changed his life.

Caan had the opportunity to sit down with Ben Mankiewicz (Turner Classic Movies host) about a year back for a discussion looking back at his remarkable life and work. RIP.

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