- By KEN WERTHER
James Caan, who died on July 6 at age 82, was known to an entire generation of fans for playing the short-tempered Sonny Corleone in The Godfather (1972), a performance which earned him Oscar and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor. (He reprised the role in The Godfather Part II in 1974.) But before that, he received wide critical and audience acclaim (and an Emmy Award nomination) for his portrayal of dying football player Brian Piccolo in the ABC television movie Brian’s Song (1971). Meanwhile, back on the big screen he starred in Cinderella Liberty (1973), The Gambler(1974), Funny Lady and Rollerball (1975), A Bridge Too Far (1977), Comes a Horseman (1978), Chapter Two (1979), For the Boys (1991), and Honeymoon in Vegas (1992), among many others. But it was his performance in Stephen King’s Misery (1990) opposite Kathy Bates that earned him a whole new generation of fans. He wowed yet another new generation of fans on the TV series Vegas, which ran from 2003–07. He received a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1978 and his career spanned six decades! Said his Godfather co-star Al Pacino, “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’m gonna miss him.” So will the rest of us.
James Caan | March 26, 1940 – July 6, 2022