American comedian James Caan died on Wednesday July 6 at the age of 82. He will remain for many spectators the Sonny Corleone of the “Godfather”, and the author kidnapped and tortured by Kathy Bates in “Misery”.
“It is with great sadness that we inform you of Jimmy’s passing on the evening of July 6. The family appreciates the outpouring of love and sincere condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time. End of tweet.” It is by concluding this message with the traditional “End of tweet” used by James Caan on each of his tweets that the actor’s family announced his disappearance on July 7. The actor and director, famous for his roles in The Godfather, Misery Where roller ballamong others, and nearly Scott Caanpassed away at the age of 82.
Football, theater and cinema
After spending his youth in Queens in New York, James Caan joined the Michigan State University at the age of sixteen to study economics and play American football. He then turned to legal training at the Hofstra-Universitybut an audition allows him to enter the Neighborhood Playhouse of Sanford Meisner. He subsequently obtained a scholarship to study with Wynn Handman, a famous drama teacher, and landed the first four roles for which he was auditioned.
James Caan made his stage debut in 1961 in Round then plays on Broadway mandingo and Blood, sweat and Stanley Poole. After several appearances in TV series (NakedCity, The Incorruptiblesetc.), it appears for the first time in the cinema in Irma the sweet (1963) by Billy Wilder and after a notable appearance in two feature films by howard hawks (Red line 7000 (1965) and Eldorado (1967) alongside John Wayne), he finds himself at the top of the bill rain people (1969) by Francis Ford Coppola.
Unforgettable Sonny Corleone
After his brilliant performance as a trepanned footballer, he turns again under the direction of Coppola in The Godfatherwhere in the role of the brutal Sonny Corleone he forms an astonishing contrast with the other son, more intellectual, interpreted by Al Pacino. This family fresco imposed him in Hollywood and allowed him to be nominated in 1972 for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Now a leading actor, he embodies a university professor prey to the demon of gambling in The Flambeur (1974) and responds to Barbra Streisand in the musical funny lady (1975) by Herbert Ross.
In 1975, his past as a great sportsman allowed James Caan to take on particularly physical roles: he performed his own stunts in the futuristic and violent roller ball of Norman Jewison and practices martial arts for the needs of elite killerspy film Sam Peckinpah. The following year, he joined the prestigious cast ofA bridge too far (1977) and was directed by Claude Lelouch in Another man, another chance (id.), mixture of romance and western against the backdrop of the United States of the 1870s. The two men will collaborate again together on One and the other in 1981.
Michael Mann, Francis Ford Coppola, James Gray, Stephen King…
In 1980, James Caan appeared for the first and only time in The Impossible witness which turns out to be a commercial failure. Despite everything, he continued his film career by playing the aces of burglary in The solitary (1981) by Michael Mann. After an absence of five years on the screen, he finds the director who revealed him internationally, Francis Ford Coppolafor the purposes of stone gardens (1987), a military drama set in the Vietnam War. He continues with the filming of Immediate future Los Angeles 1991 (1988), where he plays a police officer collaborating with an alien, then interprets the gangster Spaldoni facing Warren Beatty in detective comedy Dick Tracy (1990).
In the 90s, James Caan proved to be more prolific: he was in turn the writer Paul Sheldon held prisoner by Kathy Bates in Misery (1990), the film adaptation of the novel by Stephen Kingthe big star of music hall Eddie Sparks in For the boys (1991), the murderous father of Dennis Quaid in flesh and bone (1993) or even the mentor and adversary ofArnold Schwarzenegger in The Eraser (1996).
The broad-shouldered actor also shows remarkable charisma when it comes to playing an unsavory employer in The Yards (2000) or a henchman in charge of dirty work in way of the gun (id.). These rather serious roles did not, however, prevent him from playing in lighter films like mickey blue eyes (1999), where he parodies himself as a mafia godfather, and Elf (2003), where he slips into the skin of a sinister publisher father of a strange individual (will ferrell) raised in pixies.
Two French collaborations
In 2003, James Caan abandoned cinema and returned to his roots by filming for the small screen. In addition to appearing in numerous television films for American television, he plays the character of Ed Deline, head of security at a large casino, in the series Vegasand is also illustrated in season 2 of Magic City.
He returned to the big screen in 2008 playing the President of the United States alongside Steve Carell in Max the threatas well as incorporating the glittery cast of New York, I Love Youled in particular by Natalie Portman, bradley cooper or Orlando Bloom. The following year, the actor again tried his hand at dubbing an animated film for Cloudy with a chance of meatballsbefore returning to the plateaus in 2012 to Detachment“social film” under the direction of Tony Kaye.
At the end of his career, between several minor productions, James Caan collaborated twice with French filmmakers: Guillaume Canet for his thriller Blood Ties (2013), and Amanda Sthers on the drama The Holy Lands (2019). He was to appear in the project Megalopolis by Francis Ford Coppola, worn by the American filmmaker for many years.