Actor James Caan Dies July 6, 2022

Published by: Carolyn Brooks Fleming on Jul 7, 2022.

Actor James Caan, best known for his roles in “The Godfather” and “Misery,” died on July 6, 2022. He was 82.

He was born in 1940 in the Bronx, New York. At Michigan State he played football, and at Hofstra University he studied acting alongside his future “Godfather” director, Francis Ford Coppola.

He first achieved fame in the 1971 made-for-TV movie “Brian’s Song,” based on a true story. Caan played Brian Piccolo, a white NFL player diagnosed with terminal cancer, who befriends a black teammate, Gale Sayers.

In “The Godfather,” Caan played Sonny Corleone. He famously based his character on the personality of comedian Don Rickles. About the film’s success, Caan once said, “If you get people together that like one another and genuinely like each other and have a good time, invariably the movie is good and better.”

Moving to the small screen, Caan played a casino boss in the NBC show “Las Vegas,” which aired in the 2000s.

James Caan’s son Scott was part of television’s reboot of “Hawaii Five-0,” and James joined the cast for the 2012 episode, “Lekio.”

Regarding his straightforward acting style, Caan once said, “So I don’t like music or scenery or whatever to lead my emotions, you know what I mean? I don’t like to be led, like they look at each other, the tears are coming out and all the sudden the orchestra starts.”

On Twitter, Caan famously ended his posts with the words “End of tweet,” and the announcement of his death on the account @James_Caan carried on that tradition.

Caan’s talent will be appreciated by countless fans every holiday season for years to come, when they see him play Will Ferrell’s disappointed father in the holiday movie “Elf.”

James Caan was married four times. He is survived by four sons and one daughter.

Learn more about him in his own words.


Gilchrist, Todd. “James Caan talks The Godfather, Marlon Brando, and the birth of ‘bada bing.’” AV Club, March 21, 2022, https://www.avclub.com/james-caan-the-godfather-interview-1848674700.

Griggs, Brandon. “James Caan, Oscar-nominated actor of 'The Godfather,' 'Misery' and 'Elf,' dies at 82.” CNN, July 7, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/07/entertainment/james-caan-dies/index.html.

Juneau, Jen. “James Caan Once Lived at the Playboy Mansion, Joked It Was to 'Get Over My Divorce.'” People, July 7, 2022, https://people.com/movies/james-caan-once-lived-at-the-playboy-mansion-joked-it-was-to-get-over-my-divorce/.

Li, David K. and Dasrath, Diana. “James Caan, veteran 'Godfather' and 'Elf' actor, dies at 82.” NBC News, July 7, 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/james-caan-veteran-godfather-elf-actor-dies-82-rcna37148.

Weintraub, Steve. “Exclusive: James Caan on ‘The Godfather’s 50th Anniversary and Making ‘Thief’ with Michael Mann.” Collider, April 14, 2022, https://collider.com/james-caan-the-godfather-50th-anniversary-interview-thief-michael-mann/.


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