James Caan, 'The Godfather' Star And A Legendary Hollywood Actor, Dies At The Age Of 82

James Caan, 'The Godfather' Star And A Legendary Hollywood Actor, Dies At The Age Of 82

Caan's most memorable performance was as Sonny in Francis Ford Coppola's 'The Godfather' (1972), for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

James Caan, the actor who's best known for playing Sonny Corleone in The Godfather, has died at the age of 82.

Caan died in the night on July 6 in Los Angeles, according to his representative Arnold Robinson, who confirmed a post on the actor's Twitter account. He and the actor's family refused to identify the reason for his death, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The post on his official Twitter account reads, "The family appreciates the outpouring of love and heartfelt condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time."




Caan's most memorable performance was as Sonny in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather (1972). He received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as the violent and aggressive oldest son and heir apparent to his family's criminal business. On Thursday, Al Pacino spoke to Fox News Digital about the passing of Caan, his friend and co-actor. He said, "Jimmy was my fictional brother and my lifelong friend. It’s hard to believe that he won’t be in the world anymore because he was so alive and daring. A great actor, a brilliant director, and my dear friend. I loved him, gonna miss him."

Ford Coppola also released a statement after Caan's death, "Jimmy was someone who stretched through my life longer and closer than any motion picture figure I’ve ever known." He added, "He will always be my old friend from Sunnyside, my collaborator, and one of the funniest people I’ve ever known."




Throughout his six-decade career, Caan displayed exceptional flexibility in his roles. He was known for his portrayal in movies such as El Dorado (1967), The Gambler (1974), Funny Lady (1975), and Misery (1990), among others. Caan directed his sole film, Hide in Plain Sight (1980). He also appeared in the drama based on a true tale about a guy who discovers his children and ex-wife have gone into hiding with her lover after being placed in the witness protection program. 

Caan gave up acting and was missing from the big screen from 1983 to 1986, struggling with the death of his sister to leukemia, a dislike for Hollywood, and a growing addiction to cocaine. However, his old friend Coppola invited him back, persuading him to play US Army Sgt. Clell Hazard in the Vietnam War drama Gardens of Stone (1987).




Caan's personal life, like his work, was full of struggles. He was married four times and has five children, Scott Caan, James Arthur Caan, Tara A. Caan, Jacob Nicholas Caan, and Alexander James Caan. He was first married to Dee Jay Mathis in 1961 and divorced in 1966. They both had a daughter, Tara, together. His second marriage, to Sheila Marie Ryan, lasted about a year and resulted in the birth of their son Scott Caan.




Caan was married to Ingrid Hajek from 1990 until 1994, and they had a son, Alexander. In October 1995, the actor married Linda Stokes, with whom he had two sons, James and Arthur. His marriage with Linda Stokes has been described as the most difficult of them all. Caan filed for divorce three times: in 2005, 2009, and 2015. He previously stated that his separated wife was wasting all of his money and pushing him to perform in films like Sicilian Vampire (2016) just to make ends meet.

Caan's latest work in the industry includes The Good Neighbor (2016), Holy Lands (2017), Undercover Grandpa (2017), and Out of Blue (2018). He also has credits in upcoming projects such as Phillip Noyce's Fast Charlie, Redemption, and Acre Beyond the Rye.





Cover Image Source: Getty Images/Jason Merritt/TERM