‘The Godfather’ And ‘Elf’ Actor James Caan Dead At 82

Topline

Actor James Caan, known for his roles in beloved movies The Godfather, Misery and Elf, died Wednesday at age 82, his family announced Thursday.

Key Facts

Caan’s family did not disclose a cause of death.

The family ended their announcement with “end of tweet,” honoring Caan’s trademark post style.

Rob Reiner, who directed Caan in Misery, tweeted he “loved working with him” and called him “the only Jew I knew who could calf rope with the best of them.”

Billy Dee Williams, Caan’s Brian’s Song co-star, tweeted a recent picture of the two of them, captioned, “Team Mates and friends till the end.”

Andy Richter, who worked with Caan in Elf, said he was “funny, warm, self-deprecating, and effortlessly talented.”

Key Background

Caan was born in New York, and became best known for his role as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather. In 1972 he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal. Though his character died a graphic death in the first film, he appeared in a cameo in the sequel The Godfather Part II. One of Caan’s first big breakthrough films was the western El Dorado, which also starred John Wayne. In 1990 he played alongside Kathy Bates in the Stephen King horror film Misery. Caan’s hits also include the movie Brian’s Song and A Bridge Too Far. In 2003 he was introduced to a new generation in Elf playing Walter, the tough-talking “naughty” book executive who reunites with his son, Will Ferrell. The movie became a modern Christmas classic. Caan last appeared in 2020 in the TV movie JL Family Ranch: The Wedding Gift. Caan had five children, including actor Scott Caan.

Further Reading

James Caan, ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Misery’ Star, Dead at 82 (Decider)

James Caan, veteran ‘Godfather’ and ‘Elf’ actor, dies at 82 (NBC News)

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