‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Melissa Gilbert Reveals Favorite James Caan Role After His Passing

by Joe Rutland

Like many people on Thursday, Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert shared her favorite role that starred James Caan. Gilbert offers up a not-so-surprising moment in the late actor’s incredible career. In 1971, Caan starred with Billy Dee Williams in the TV movie Brian’s Song. The movie dealt with the sad, tragic story of the death of Chicago Bears player Brian Piccolo. But the work between Caan and Williams still brings some fans to tears all these years later. As you can tell, Gilbert thought enough of this Caan classic to mention it on Instagram.

In part, Gilbert writes, “He is many people to many people …Sonny Corleone, Paul Sheldon and on and on and on. To me he will always be Brian Piccolo. May flights of angels sing thee to the rest sir.” What a tender, sweet tribute to one of the movie world’s most memorable actors in life as well as death. Caan died on Wednesday at 82 years old and would be in other movies like Rollerball, A Bridge Too Far, and Elf. He also had a starring role in the NBC show Las Vegas. That would be the first one of his very long and incredibly illustrious career.

Fan of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Also Fondly Remembers Brian Piccolo, James Caan

One fan writes in response to this post, “Being from Chicago, and loving my Cubbies and Bears, it broke my heart when Brian P died of cancer so young and leaving behind three young daughters. My dad also died of cancer at [a] young age, Mr, Caan did a remarkable portrayal of him which I will never forget.” Piccolo died of cancer at 26 years old. He had quite a bright future ahead of him with the NFL team. Another one adds, “I think just like you do. Brian song [spl Brian’s Song] was the best made for TV movie I have ever seen. Mr. Caan, you will be missed!”

Back on July 1, Gilbert also took time out to remember her TV father Michael Landon. Landon played Charles Ingalls opposite Gilbert’s Laura character. She would write in her In Memorium post, in part, “Today is the 31st anniversary of the death of one of the most influential people in my life and I am so, so sad. You would think that I would have been feeling this kind of sadness last year, on the 30th anniversary.” She would go on to write that grief and loss “don’t care about landmark numbers.” Landon would die of pancreatic cancer after a career filled with memorable roles. Besides Little House on the Prairie, fans remember him from Bonanza and Highway to Heaven.