James Caan, ‘Godfather’ & ‘Brian’s Song’ Star, Dies at 82
James Caan, the legendary actor best known for playing Sonny Corleone in 1972’s The Godfather, Brian Piccolo in the 1971 made-for-TV movie Brian’s Song and other classic roles, has died. He was 82.
Caan’s death was confirmed via his official Twitter and even included his customary sign-off of “End of Tweet.” The tweet stated, “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”
It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jimmy on the evening of July 6.— James Caan (@James_Caan) July 7, 2022
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
Caan’s acting career spans seven decades beginning with one-off TV appearances and various film roles. Caan would breakout in a big way in the early ’70s beginning with Brian’s Song alongside Billy Dee Williams. The film depicted the real-life friendship of Chicago Bears’ Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers and the subsequent illness and death of Piccolo. Both Caan and Williams would receive Emmy nominations for their performances, and the film won five Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Single Program.
Caan’s star would rise even further in 1972 with the release of The Godfather. He would receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance as the hot-headed Sonny Corleone.
Caan would rack up a number of film and TV credits over the decades in a diverse array of genres including playing author Paul Sheldon in the 1990 thriller Misery alongside Kathy Bates, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of obsessive fan/stalker Annie Wilkes. He also starred in the 1975 sci-fi film Rollerball where he played Jonathan E.
Caan also starred in the TV series Las Vegas, which ran for five seasons from 2003-2008, where he played Ed Deline, the head of security and surveillance of the fictional Las Vegas resort and casino The Montecito. He would famously become part of the Christmas season for his role in 2003’s Elf, where he played Walter, the biological father to Will Ferrell’s Buddy the Elf.