Actor James Caan has died at 82 : NPR

James Caan on the set of the 1975 film Rollerball.

John Downing/Getty Photos


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John Downing/Getty Images


James Caan on the set of the 1975 film Rollerball.

John Downing/Getty Images

James Edmund Caan was an athletic child from the Bronx, the son of German-Jewish immigrants who grew up to perform tough movie guys: sailors, soccer players, gangsters and was one of the most recognizable screen actors of his era.

He died on July 6, in accordance to a publish on his formal Twitter account. No additional information were being available.

Best identified for his explosive change as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather and as a dying skilled football player in the manufactured-for-Tv set-movie Brian’s Track (which attained him Oscar and Emmy nominations, respectively), Caan lent an eminently watchable machismo to dozens of films and demonstrates. In Distress, he was a popular writer held captive by Kathy Bates. In Gardens of Stone, he was a heartsick Vietnam vet reluctantly guarding the Tomb of the Mysterious Soldier. In Elf, he performed in opposition to type as a failing children’s e-book publisher who is also the key character’s father.

After starting in theater and tv, Caan burst into Hollywood like a comet, showing in films by some of the most renowned auteurs of the period, which includes Howard Hawks (El Dorado), Robert Altman (Countdown) and Francis Ford Coppola (The Rain Folks). His burst of early success led to a period of issue, both of those individual and expert. Caan married and divorced quite a few periods, acquired into on-set arguments and publicly struggled with substance abuse and depression.

He turned down numerous movies that would verify to be pivotal for other actors, like Kramer vs. Kramer, Apocalypse Now, M*A*S*H and A single Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, deciding upon jobs rather that became flops.

“There are images I produced that I nonetheless have not observed,” he informed The New York Situations in 1991. “I was depressed when I was creating them. In the middle of some of these pics, I held pondering, ‘What am I executing here?’ It truly is like you are in a hallway and you can not get out.”

Misery helped change matters all over. The previous athlete put in substantially of the 1990 movie tied to a mattress. Caan also anchored the movie emotionally. His actorly array was huge he executed in tune-and-dance movies these types of as Funny Lady and For The Boys but also in darkish, significant films this kind of as Dogville by Danish auteur Lars von Trier.

Caan labored steadily up until the conclude of his lifetime, taking part in grandparents, colonels and inevitably, himself, in animated appearances on Loved ones Person and The Simpsons.

Kenneth Proto

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