James Caan, legendary actor in ‘The Godfather,’ dead at 82
James Caan was known to many of us football fans for “Brian’s Song” (1971), in which he played Brian Piccolo, Chicago Bears halfback and former running back at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
(WGHP) — James Caan, the actor most known for his roles as Sonny in “The Godfather” and “The Godfather II,” has died at the age of 82.
On Thursday, the verified James Caan Twitter account announced the actor’s death.
“It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jimmy on the evening of July 6,” the tweet said. “The family appreciates the outpouring of love and heartfelt condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.”
Nominated both for the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and a Golden Globe, James Caan’s role in “The Godfather” helped propel the actor into legendary stardom.
His death comes just months into Paramount’s yearlong 50th-anniversary celebration of the iconic 1972 mob drama film. Caan joined director and writer Francis Ford Coppola and Talia Shire, who played Connie Corleon at Paramount’s celebration of the anniversary on Feb. 23. The studio released a newly-restored version of the film in theaters on Feb. 25, and a limited edition box set was released in March.
In addition to recognition for his role in “The Godfather,” Caan was nominated for Golden Globe three other times for his performances in “Funny Lady” in 1976, “The Gambler” in 1975, and “The Glory Guys” in 1966.
The younger audience may be more familiar with him in his role as Walter Hobbs in the 2003 Christmas classic “Elf” or the voice of Tim Lockwood in the 2009 animated film “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”
Among his other notable credits are “Rollerball” (1975), “Cinderella Liberty” (1973) and “Brian’s Song” (1971), in which he played Brian Piccolo, Chicago Bears halfback and former running back at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Caan studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater and Michigan State University.
He had five children, including Scott Caan who is also an actor.