Rest in Peace, Legendary Actor James Caan (‘The Godfather,’ ‘Elf,’ ‘Misery,’ More): 1940-2022

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

James Caan, a major Hollywood star whose career spanned decades and earned him nominations for four Golden Globes, an Emmy Award and an Oscar, has died at the age of 82.

The news was confirmed on Thursday by Caan’s family, which issued a statement:

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jimmy on the evening of July 6. 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

Among the many roles that launched James Caan to stardom and acclaim were his portrayal of Sonny Corleone in The Godfather, Paul Sheldon in Misery and, in an amusing role that introduced him to a younger audience, Walter Hobbs, the curmudgeonly father to Will Ferrell’s titular Elf in 2003.

Of that classic role in The Godfather, The Hollywood Reporter included this story:

Caan almost didn’t get to play the part that would become his signature role. Paramount originally cast him as younger brother Michael and Carmine Caridi as Sonny. But Coppola, who had directed Caan in The Rain People (1969), insisted that only he could do justice to the character.

Once the studio agreed, the Bronx-born actor embraced the opportunity. “What f—ing transformation? Obviously, I grew up in the neighborhood. I didn’t have to work on an accent or anything,” he told Vanity Fair in a 2009 interview.

Caan admitted that the tone of a particular scene where Sonny confronted the family about its decision to get into the drug business was giving him trouble. The solution came to him out of the blue. “I was shaving to go to dinner or something, and for some reason I started thinking of Don Rickles,” he said. “I knew Rickles. Somebody was watching over me and gave me this thing: being Rickles, kind of say-anything, do-anything.”

News of Caan’s passing prompted an outpouring of condolences and remembrances from some of his peers in the industry.

May James Caan rest in peace.

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