James Caan: Oscar-nominated actor and Godfather star dies at 82

Image credit: Bloomberg.com

James Caan, an acclaimed American actor best known for playing Sonny Corleone in The Godfather, died at the age of 82.

Four Golden Globes, an Emmy, and an Oscar were among his nominations. He was a Hollywood leading man in the 1970s.

On Thursday, the Caan family expressed gratitude to the public for its “outpouring of love and real anguish.”

The renowned party-loving New Yorker had four marriages and five children in total.

After being born to a butcher in the Bronx, Caan initially aspired to pursue a career as an American football player.

After enrolling, he began acting. He first met Francis Ford Coppola, who would go on to direct him in The Godfather, at Hofstra University.

Caan eventually got his big break in 1965 when he played the lead in the two Howard Hawks films, Red Line 7000 and El Dorado, following a string of forgettable TV and film performances. However, the legendary mob film The Godfather, released in 1972, is what made him well-known.

When he initially auditioned for the role of Michael Corleone, it appeared that studio executives favoured him.

At Coppola’s insistence, Al Pacino was finally chosen for that role, nonetheless.

Michael’s older brother, Sonny, was strapped with more than 140 bursting blood pellets to simulate bullet wounds for the character’s death scene.

For this performance, he received his lone Academy Award nomination for best-supporting actor.

Early in the 1980s, Caan went through what he has described as “an awful period,” which was made worse by drug usage and the passing of his sister. Caan briefly vanished from view during this period.

Despite this, he was able to make a comeback by playing enduring roles in blockbusters like Elf and Misery.

His participation in comedic movies, such as the 2009 animated feature Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, would help lighten his image as a strong guy.

In addition to his employment in Hollywood, Caan spent over three decades perfecting his karate techniques.

Later in life, he would develop a significant following on Twitter and become very active there. He frequently ended his tweets with the phrase “End of the tweet.”