‘Tulsa King’ Star Sylvester Stallone Mourns Death of James Caan in Heartfelt Tribute

by Craig Garrett

Sylvester Stallone took to his Instagram to join other celebrities in paying tribute to the late James Caan. The star of the upcoming Paramount+ series, Tulsa King posted an arresting picture of the iconic actors together.

“I will miss my good friend and great actor, James Caan!,” Stallone captioned the image. ” Tough, Smart, A man’s man. One of a kind!” The picture Sylvester Stallone posted appears to be from over a decade ago. It shows the pair sitting at a sporting event, surrounded by other spectators. They’re dressed casually, and both laughing. It looks like Caan has a particularly huge guffaw coming out in the image.

How James Caan nearly landed an iconic Sylvester Stallone Role

James Caan and Sylvester Stallone both had similar career trajectories. Caan’s break-out role was of course Sonny Corleone in The Godfather in 1972. He earned an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor for the role. Just four years later in 1976, Sylvester Stallone would have his breakthrough with Rocky. Stallone was also nominated for Academy Awards, both for his performance as Rocky and for writing the screenplay.

However, things almost went down much differently for Stallone in regards to Rocky. Studio heads loved the script written by Sylvester Stallone but balked when he insisted he also play the lead. They offered Stallone considerably more money to just be credited as the screenwriter. The studio wanted a more bankable name as Rocky, since Stallone was a relative unknown. At the top of the studio’s list was James Caan.

Stallone and Caan co-starred on TV together

It wasn’t meant to be, as Sylvester Stallone stuck to his guns and the rest is history. Though dubbed the next Marlon Brando, Stallone passed on more prestigious roles for action fare. 8 sequels to Rocky followed, including the recent Creed II. However, Stallone and Caan became fast friends in the 70s. Sly even made 2 guest appearances on Caan’s tv series Vegas. James Caan returned the favor to Stallone by appearing on his boxing reality series The Contender.

On July 7, James Caan’s family issued a statement through his official Twitter account confirming his death. “It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jimmy on the evening of July 6,” the tweet read. “The family appreciates the outpouring of love and heartfelt condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time,” the statement concluded.

Next up for Sylvester Stallone is the action film Samaritan. Set to drop this August, it tells the story long-forgotten superhero that comes out of retirement. It also features his Tulsa King co-star, Martin Starr. Stallone also has two sequels set for 2023. He is set to reprise his role of mercenary Barney Ross in The Expendables 4. Sly has hinted that this might be his last entry in the series and that the film will be a passing of the torch story. Lastly, Stallone is to appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3. He will be returning as Stakar Ogord, a space pirate.