He had played one of Corleone’s sons in the mythical ‘The Godfather’, and a kidnapped writer in the distressing ‘Misery’: American actor James Caan dies at the age of 82 after a long career where he acted for the greatest directors.
“It is with great sadness that we inform you of Jimmy’s passing on the night of (Wednesday) July 6,” his family said in a tweet posted on Caan’s account. His manager, Matt DelPiano, confirmed the news to AFP.
Born in New York, in the Bronx, in 1940, into a family of Jewish immigrants from Germany, James Caan had begun his career with small roles in Hollywood in the 1960s, notably in “Irma La Douce Billy Wilder’s (1963). , or “People in the Rain”, by Francis Ford Coppola (1969).
Three years later, the great American director gave him one of his most famous roles, in the first part of “The Godfather” trilogy, an epic saga about the Italian-American mafia that marked the history of cinema and celebrates this 50th anniversary . year.
James Caan plays Sonny Corleone, the eldest son of “don” Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), and his brutal murder in a hail of bullets at a toll booth became one of the film’s most defining moments. The role earned him an Oscar nomination.
“I still think if I had the change that day I could have made myself a lot richer,” he joked years later, referring to his death at the toll booth while waiting for his change. “If I had known that they were going to shoot ‘The Godfather 2’ (in which he had a small role for a flashback), I would have refused to die”, he had joked, judging that this film had been a “blessing”. ” to the.
“Jimmy was someone who was part of my life for longer and more closely than any other cinematographic figure I have ever known,” reacted Francis Ford Coppola, greeting AFP in statements to his “old friend and” one of the people funniest I’ve ever seen. never known.”
As an echo of this role in “The Godfather”, James Caan had been summoned for the first time as a witness in 1985 in a mafia trial in New York, because he had known one of the defendants, a member of the Colombo family. , in his childhood. Later, he testified, still in New York, in 1992 in another trial, where he presented himself as the best friend of a respectable member of the Bonanno mafia family still on the bench.
After “The Godfather”, his career continued with roles in other films that remained classics, such as “Rollerball” (1975), named after this violent sport practiced in a futuristic society, or “The Solitaire” (1981) by Michael Mann.
One of his other big roles is offered in “Misery” (1990), a grueling camera, adapted from the Stephen King novel. He masterfully embodies writer Paul Sheldon, kidnapped in the Colorado mountains by an evil fan played by Kathy Bates.
“His movies were the best of the best,” tweeted New York actor and screenwriter Adam Sandler. “I loved him so much. I always wanted to be like him. I’m so happy I met him. I never stopped laughing when I was with this man,” he added.
Prolific actor, who had starred in several dozen films over six decades, including “The Yards” (2000) by James Gray, “City of Ghosts” (2002) by Matt Dillon, or who had lent his voice in ” Tempest of Meatballs giantess” (2009), James Caan had been married four times and had five children.
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