‘The Godfather’ Director Francis Ford Coppola Tributes James Caan After His Passing

by Joe Rutland

Francis Ford Coppola, who directed James Caan in the legendary movie The Godfather, offered his condolences after Caan died. Coppola put Caan in the film, based on the Mario Puzo book and starring Marlon Brando. Caan died on Wednesday at 82 years old. Coppola’s comments come through a report from Deadline.

“Jimmy was someone who stretched through my life longer and closer than any motion picture figure I’ve ever known,” Coppola said in a statement. “From those earlier times working together on The Rain People, and throughout all the milestones of my life, his films and the many great roles he played will never be forgotten. He will always be my old friend from Sunnyside, my collaborator and one of the funniest people I’ve ever known.”

Actor James Caan Also Appeared In Coppola Film ‘The Rain People’

Caan also appeared in the 1969 film The Rain People, which Coppola mentions in his statement. The famed actor memorably played Sonny Corleone in The Godfather, and also would come back to play Sonny briefly in The Godfather Part II. Back in February, Caan happened to share a photo of Sonny getting shot up badly. The photo is of a bleeding Corleone, son of Vito Corleone, played by Brando. Yes, James Caan would receive nominations from the Golden Globe Awards and Academy Awards for his role.

But Caan also had quite a career in other films and on TV, too. Many younger fans probably remember him from his role in the Will Farrell-Bob Newhart flick Elf. Meanwhile, one of the actor’s most beloved roles was as Chicago Bears player Brian Piccolo in Brian’s Song. The work that Caan did playing opposite Billy Dee Williams, who appeared as Gale Sayers, still is quite moving. As for TV work beyond this movie, Caan also starred in the NBC series Las Vegas.

Others have shared their words of condolence over Caan’s death. Director Rob Reiner, who worked with Caan in the classic movie Misery, writes on Twitter, “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.” Gary Sinise would honor Caan with a touching tribute. The actor knew Caan from the late star’s work with the Gary Sinise Foundation. “Very sad to hear the news that James Caan has died. Heartbroken for his family & his friends. Wonderful to know him & call him a pal. Jimmy was so supportive of Gary Sinise Foundation & my work w/ our veterans. He will be missed. Thank you my friend. Rest In Peace. God bless you”, Sinise wrote on Twitter. Caan will be sorely missed by his family, friends, and fans.