'The Godfather' actor, James Caan, passes away at 82
The death of the actor who essayed the role of ‘Sonny’ in the film, was announced by his family on Twitter
In a year when the world is celebrating the golden jubilee of masterpiece film, The Godfather, James Caan, one of the film's actors, passed away on Wednesday (U.S. Pacific Time), according to an announcement by his family on Twitter. The cause of his death was not specified.
“It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jimmy on the evening of July 6. The family appreciates the outpouring of love and heartfelt condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time (sic),” the post read.
The actor is best known for playing the role of Sonny Corleone (The Godfather), the hotheaded elder son of Don Vito Corleone (played by Marlon Brando). James was 82 years old when he took his last breath.
His Manager Matt DelPiano talked to media sources about the actor’s demise, saying, “Jimmy was one of the greatest. Not only was he one of the best actors our business has ever seen, he was funny, loyal, caring and beloved. Our relationship was always friendship before business. I will miss him dearly and am proud to have worked with him all these years (sic).”
Caan had also played substantial roles in other notable films like Misery, Elf, Thief, and The Godfather Part II. The scene in The Godfather Part I , where his character Sonny is showered with bullets on an empty highway is considered to be one of the most memorable scenes from the 1972 film.
According to sources, the actor has initially auditioned for the role of Michael, Vito's college-educated son, who would ultimately become the Don. The production studio also supported the casting for a time but finally, the creators went with Hollywood star Al Pacino as Michael.
The film's director, Francis Ford Coppola and Caan were reportedly classmates at Hofstra University, where the Bronx-born Caan went after studying at Michigan State University. Media sources state that Caan had an active career till 2013. He even lent his voice to The Godfather video games.
Reports state that some of Caan's signature films from the 1970s include Mark Rydell's Cinderella Liberty (1973), in which he played a sailor in love with a hooker; Karel Reisz's The Gambler (1974), where he played a man with a serious addiction for the dice and the Sam Peckinpah action film The Killer Elite (1975), a story of CIA assassins that reunited him with American actor Robert Duvall.