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James Caan death: The Godfather and Misery actor dies, aged

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Hollywood actor James Caan has died, aged 82.

The news was announced by his family via the actor’s offical Twitter page.

“It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jimmy on the evening of July 6,” the tweet read.

“The family appreciates the outpouring of love and heartfelt condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time. End of tweet.”

Caan’s credits include The Godfather (1972), Stephen King adaptation Misery (1990) and Christmas film Elf (2003).

His film career began in the 1960s following roles in films from directors Howard Hawks (El Dorado, 1966), Robert Altman (Countdown, 1967) and Francis Ford Coppola (The Rain People, 1969).

In the 1970s, Coppola cast him as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather, which saw him receive an Oscar nomination. He returned for a brief appearance in the 1974 sequel.

He was initially cast as Michael Corleone, but Caan, who had his heart set on Sonny, was adamant Al Pacino play the role. He eventually faced his co-star, alongside Robert Duvall, in the Best Supporting Actor category at the 1973 Oscars; all three lost to Joel Grey, who won for Cabaret.

Speaking about the aftermath of his role as Sonny, Caan once said: “I won Italian of the Year twice in New York, and I’m Jewish, not Italian. I was denied in a country club once. The guy sat in front of the board, and he says, ‘No, no, he’s a wiseguy, been downtown. He’s a made guy.’ I thought, What? Are you out of your mind?”

(Getty Images)

In 1971, Caan appeared in TV movie Brian’s Song, a biopic in which he played the dying footballer Brian Piccolo. For the role, which he originally turned down four times, he earned an Emmy nomination.

Despite having many starring roles, Caan notably turned down many films that became huge hits. These included The French Connection, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Kramer vs Kramer, which he branded “middle class bourgeois baloney”.

He also rejected the chance to work with Coppola again on Apocalypse Now as he “didn’t want to spend 16 weeks in the Philippine jungles”.

His other credits include The Gambler, Rollerball, A Bridge Too Far and the early Michael Mann film Thief.

More to follow

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