James Caan was one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars, but sadly, on July 6, the iconic actor passed away at the age of 82. His career was long and legendary, starring in everything from dramas like Brian’s Song, to comedies like Elf, to TV shows like Las Vegas. However, he will likely be remembered best for playing Sonny in The Godfather movies.
The role earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor as well as a Golden Globe, and he appeared in both the original and sequel, Godfather II. His co-stars were among the first to pay tribute to their friend and co-star.
Al Pacino, who played Michael Corleone in the 1972 classic film as well as its 1974 sequel (The Godfather: Part II) and the 1977 TV miniseries, led the heartfelt messages by sharing the following statement with HollywoodLife: “Jimmy was my fictional brother and my lifelong friend. It’s hard to believe that he won’t be in the world anymore because he was so alive and daring. A great actor, a brilliant director and my dear friend. I loved him, gonna miss him.” Robert De Niro, who played Vito Corleone in the Godfather sequel, also told us, “I’m very very sad to hear about Jimmy’s passing.”
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
— James Caan (@James_Caan) July 7, 2022
Francis Ford Coppola, who directed James in the iconic mob movie, honored his “old friend” and “collaborator” in a statement provided to HollywoodLife. “Jimmy was someone who stretched through my life longer and closer than any motion picture figure I’ve ever known. From those earlier times working together on THE RAIN PEOPLE and throughout all the milestones of my life, his films and the many great roles he played will never be forgotten. He will always be my old friend from Sunnyside, my collaborator and one of the funniest people I’ve ever known.”
Talia Shire, who remained close to James after co-starring alongside him in the enduring hit, praised him as a “good man” in her statement shared with HollywoodLife. “James was a good man, a kind man, a family man, and a wildly gifted man — whose great talent will always be loved and remembered. My prayers are with his family that he treasured so dearly.”
The acclaimed actor’s family confirmed the news on his Twitter on July 7, announced he passed the previous evening. “The family appreciates the outpouring of love and heartfelt condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time,” the tweet read, but did not provide a cause of death. James was married most recently to Linda Stokes from 1995-2009, and had 5 children, include Hawaii Five-0 and Ocean’s 11 star, Scott Caan.