Tuesday, May 21, 2024

RIP James Caan, Great Star of “The Godfather,” “Brian’s Song,” “Misery,” “Gardens of Stone”

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James Caan, forever cemented in movie history as Sonny Corleone, has died at age 82.

His family posted a notice to social media but didn’t give the cause of death.

Caan rose to fame in the early 1970s in a seminal TV movie, “Brian’s Song” as Chicago Bears football player Brian Piccolo. You can’t imagine how big that movie was at the time. He received an Emmy nomination but also his career was established overnight.

From then, Caan’s star rose meteorically as Sonny Corleone in “The Godfather.” He got an Oscar nomination and never looked back. He immediately co-starred with Barbra Streisand in “Funny Lady,” two hits “The Gambler” and “Cinderella Liberty,” and on and on through the 70s. For a time in the 80s he was AWOL but then had a nice comeback with “Gardens of Stone.” I still remember the premiere, and how thrilled everyone that James Caan was back. He was a lovely guy.

And then came “Misery” with Kathy Bates, Rob Reiner’s mega hit. And Caan was really back. A second wave career commenced, with “Honeymoon in Las Vegas” leading the way. From 2003 to 2007 he starred in the TV series, “Las Vegas,” still in reruns, in which he excelled.

Among his children is Scott Caan, a successful actor who recently appeared on the long running “Hawaii Five O” revival on CBS.

Although he had current credits, Caan was thought to be in ill health for some time. He was really a great, great actor and a Hollywood favorite, Condolences to his family and friends.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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