James Caan, veteran ‘Godfather’ and ‘Elf’ actor, dies at 82

Film robust man James Caan, whose work spanned generations in such big-screen classics as “The Godfather,” “Distress” and “Elf,” died Wednesday, his household stated.

He was 82.

“It’s with nice disappointment that we inform you of the passing of Jimmy on the night of July 6,” a household assertion posted to Twitter stated.

“The household appreciates the outpouring of affection and heartfelt condolences and asks that you simply proceed to respect their privateness throughout this troublesome time,” the tweet stated.

Caan’s supervisor, Matt DelPiano, stated the actor was extra of his good friend than a consumer.

“Jimmy was one of many best. Not solely was he among the finest actors our enterprise has ever seen, he was humorous, loyal, caring and beloved,” DelPiano stated in an announcement.

“Our relationship was all the time friendship earlier than enterprise. I’ll miss him dearly and am proud to have labored with him all these years. My ideas and prayers are along with his whole household throughout this troublesome time,” the assertion continued.

The most important names in Hollywood have been fast to pay respects to their good friend, “Jimmy.”

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fondly recalled days on set and within the gymnasium with the performing nice.

“James Caan was an icon — a legend. He impressed everybody who has ever been in entrance of a digital camera,” the bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned governor stated in an announcement. “I used to be fortunate to work with him and see his expertise and his implausible humorousness firsthand. He was an awesome coaching companion within the gymnasium and a real good friend, and I’ll miss him.”

Lately, Caan was lively on Twitter, typically posting footage of himself and associates from traditional motion pictures.

He nearly all the time ended his on-line missives with, “Finish of tweet,” and Thursday’s announcement did in order properly.

Image: James Caan
From left, Daniel Tay, James Caan and Will Ferrell in “Elf.”New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Assortment

Caan’s Twitter feed served as a Hollywood historical past e book, as he labored with a galaxy of Tinseltown stars all through his lengthy profession.

He’ll in all probability be finest remembered for his function in “The Godfather” as Sonny Corleone, the hot-headed oldest son of mob boss Vito Corleone, performed by Marlon Brando.

Caan was nominated for a finest supporting actor Oscar for that function.

He tweeted an image of himself and Brando on June 10 with the straightforward message: “The Finest. Finish of tweet.”

Caan’s on-screen, robust man persona additionally set him up properly to tug off comedic and sometimes not-so-macho characters.

To a youthful era of film followers, he’ll all the time be the curmudgeonly father in “Elf,” disgusted that his son Will Ferrell refused to shake his man-child methods.

After which in “Distress,” he was romance novelist Paul Sheldon, who struggled to free himself from an obsessed fan.

“So sorry to listen to the information. I cherished working with him,” actor and “Distress” director Rob Reiner tweeted. “And the one Jew I knew who might calf rope with the very best of them. Like to the household.”

Kathy Bates gained an Oscar enjoying the obsessed fan in “Distress.”

“I’m heartbroken to listen to of Jimmy’s passing. Shocked. No phrases. Thanks, Jimmy. Love you, your ‘Kat,'” Bates tweeted.

Earlier than his “Godfather” fame, Caan scored an Emmy nomination for his breakout work within the 1971 TV film “Brian’s Track.”

He performed Chicago Bears working again Brian Piccolo, who died of most cancers at 26, within the small-screen traditional with Billy Dee Williams, who portrayed his teammate and finest good friend Gale Sayers.

The film is taken into account one essentially the most emotional and gut-wrenching in TV historical past, and sometimes joked about as the one movie the place grown males have been allowed to cry.

Williams posted an Instagram shot of Caan sitting in his lap, calling the actor a teammate and good friend to the top.

Earlier than he stepped on set, Caan had some actual world soccer bona fides, having performed the game at Michigan State.

It did not work out with the power-packed Spartans lineup and he transferred to Hofstra College in New York, the place he fell in love with performing and met one other pupil inquisitive about motion pictures: Francis Ford Coppola.

As soon as he was a star actor, Caan recalled how he and legendary Michigan State coach Duffy Daugherty shared fun about his gridiron-to-screen profession.

“He needed 10% of my profession [earnings]. I stated, ‘Why’s that coach?'” Caan advised Fox Sports activities in 2013. “‘I stated I advised you to give up enjoying soccer.'”

Even with all kinds of roles in his prolonged filmography, Caan’s “Godfather” mob picture was by no means far behind.

Within the 1992 hit “Honeymoon in Vegas,” Caan confirmed his comedic chops as a Las Vegas card shark who seeks to win the guts of a younger girl, performed by Sarah Jessica Parker, away from her commitment-phobic boyfriend Nicolas Cage.

He additionally earned indie cinema cred by showing in Wes Anderson’s first function movie, 1994’s offbeat crime comedy “Bottle Rocket,” enjoying a landscaper who moonlights as a legal ringleader.

And in considered one of Caan’s final main roles, he performed a on line casino boss within the NBC hit “Las Vegas,” which ran for 108 episodes between 2003 and 2008. He appeared in 88 episodes earlier than leaving forward of its ultimate yr.