Legendary actor James Caan, who starred in the Godfather trilogy and other famous films like Misery and The playerdied on July 6, according to a tweet posted on his official account.
“It is with great sadness that we inform you of Jimmy’s passing on the evening of July 6th,” the tweet read. “The family appreciates the outpouring of love and sincere condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time. »
His manager, Matt DelPiano, confirmed to The Associated Press that he died on Wednesday. No cause was given.
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“Jimmy was one of the greats. Not only was he one of the best actors our company has ever seen, but he was funny, loyal, caring, and loved,” DelPiano said. “Our relationship has always been friendship before business. I will miss him very much and I am proud to have worked with him all these years.
Tributes to Caan began pouring in Thursday morning, and many of those who worked with him tweeted their memories and condolences.
Rob Reiner, who directed Caan in Misery tweeted, “Loved working with him. And the only Jew I know who can tug of war with the best of them.
” I loved him so much. Always wanted to be like him,” tweeted Adam Sandler.
Iranian wrestler The Iron Sheik, apparently a fan of Caan’s work, also shared a message.
A football player at Michigan State University and a practical prankster on production sets, Caan was a smiling, good-looking entertainer with an athlete’s swagger and muscular build. He built a thriving career in Hollywood, despite drug problems, temper tantrums and minor run-ins with the law.
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Caan had been a favorite of Francis Ford Coppola since the 1960s, when Coppola cast him for the lead role in rain people. He was ready for a starring role in The Godfather as Sonny, the #1 enforcer and eldest son of mob boss Vito Corleone.
Sonny Corleone, a violent and reckless man who committed numerous murders, met his own end in one of the most shocking movie scenes in history. On his way to another job, Corleone stops at a tollbooth which he finds disturbingly empty of customers. Before he can escape, he is shot by a seemingly endless barrage of machine guns. For decades afterwards, he once said, strangers would approach him on the street and jokingly warn him to stay off the toll roads.
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Caan bonded with Brando, Robert Duvall and other cast members and made a point of making everyone laugh during an otherwise tense production, occasionally dropping his pants and “mooning” another actor or team member. Despite Coppola’s fears it had flopped, the 1972 outing was a huge critical and commercial success and earned supporting actors Oscar nominations for Caan, Duvall and Al Pacino.
After Brian’s Song and The Godfatherhe was one of Hollywood’s busiest actors, appearing in Hide in plain sight (which he also made), funny lady (opposite Barbra Streisand), and Neil Simon’s chapter two, among others. He also made a brief appearance in a flashback sequence in The Godfather, part II.
But in the early 1980s, it started to degrade on movies. He had begun to struggle with drug use and was devastated by the 1981 death from leukemia of his sister, Barbara, who until then had been a guiding force in his career.
He returned to stardom in his own right opposite Kathy Bates in Misery in 1990.
Again in demand, Caan starred in For the boys with Bette Midler in 1991 as part of a song and dance team entertaining American soldiers during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The following year he played a tongue-in-cheek version of Sonny Corleone in the comedy Honeymoon in Vegas.
Later in his career, he introduced himself to a new generation by playing Walter, the workaholic and stone-faced father of Buddy’s Will Ferrell in Elf.
Caan is survived by his sons Scott, James, Jacob and Alexander, as well as his daughter Tara.
– with files from the Associated Press
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