James Caan, ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Misery’ Star, Dead at 82

by Caitlin Berard

Legendary actor James Caan has died at the age of 82, as confirmed by those closest to him on his personal Twitter account. “It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jimmy on the evening of July 6,” they wrote. “The family appreciates the outpouring of love and heartfelt condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time. End of tweet.”

James Caan was best known for his roles in The Godfather and Misery but amassed an impressive catalog in his more than 60-year career. His now iconic acting career began in 1961 with a small role in the TV series Naked City, in which he played Mary Feketi, a character bearing a striking resemblance to the epitome of tough guys, Marlon Brando.

From there, he continued his budding career as a guest star until landing his big break in 1972 with what’s commonly referred to as the greatest film in Hollywood history, The Godfather. In the film, Caan appears as Sonny Corleone, the tragically overzealous son of mafia boss Don Corleone.

His stunning performance as Sonny opened many doors for the then 32-year-old star. And from then on, he appeared in major productions such as the film adaptation of the Stephen King classic Misery and the hilarious holiday classic Elf.

James Caan Fans Mourn the Loss of the ‘Godfather’ Star

The news of James Caan’s death was met with shock and sorrow from his countless fans, who took to social media to mourn the loss of the award-winning actor. “Farewell to a legend. One of the great tough guy actors,” one fan wrote.

“An all-timer. I loved him in so many roles. Who else could go from Sonny Corleone to the dad in Elf? Rest in peace Santino,” another said. “This one stings. Farewell to the blistering, broad-shouldered powerhouse talent that was James Caan,” added a third.

James Caan Once Reflected on the Legendary Film ‘The Godfather’

As many actors have agreed over the years, no one could have predicted just how historic The Godfather would be. That said, in an interview with Collider earlier this year, James Caan revealed that he wasn’t all that surprised. He had a better idea of what Francis Ford Coppola and Marlon Brando were capable of than most.

“No,” he said simply in response to the interviewer asking if he predicted the film’s unprecedented success. “I probably did a little more than anyone else, because I did two or three pictures with Francis. I did The Rain People when I was 28 years old with Francis, I knew what he could do.”

As for Marlon Brando, it’s no surprise that Caan channeled the icon in his earliest acting gig. For James Caan, the Godfather star is an undeniable legend. “Then, when you hear Brando, that probably… I used to tell those guys, ‘If you’re not impressed with Brando, you’re full of s–t’. Excuse me for all the ladies listening out there, s–t is the word I used. And you would be full of it because anybody that says they weren’t influenced by him is a liar. You know?”