Movie tough guy James Caan, whose work spanned generations in such big-screen classics as “The Godfather,” “Misery” and “Elf,” died on Wednesday, his family said.
He was 82.
“It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jimmy on the evening of July 6,” according to a family statement posted to Twitter.
“The family appreciates the outpouring of love and heartfelt condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.”
Caan’s manager, Matt DelPiano, said the actor was more of his friend than a client.
“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,” DelPiano said in a statement.
“Our relationship was always friendship before business. I will miss him dearly and am proud to have worked with him all these years. My thoughts and prayers are with his entire family during this difficult time.”
In recent years, Caan was active on Twitter, often posting pictures of himself and friends from classic movies.
He almost always ended his online missives with, “End of tweet,” and Thursday’s announcement did so as well.
Caan’s Twitter feed served as a Hollywood history book, as he worked with a galaxy of Tinseltown stars throughout his long career.
He’ll probably be best remembered as “The Godfather’s” Sonny Corleone, the hot-headed oldest son of mob boss Vito Corleone, played by Marlon Brando.
Caan was nominated for a best supporting Oscar for that role.
He tweeted a picture of he and Brando on June 10 with the simple message: “The Best. End of tweet.”
Caan’s on-screen, tough guy persona also set him up well to pull off comedic and often not-so-macho characters.
To a younger generation of movie fans, he’ll always be the curmudgeonly father in “Elf,” disgusted that his son Will Ferrell refused to shake his man-child ways.
And then in “Misery,” he was romance novelist Paul Sheldon, who struggled to free himself from an obsessed fan, portrayed in an Oscar-winning performance by Kathy Bates.
“So sorry to hear the news. I loved working with him,” actor and “Misery” director Rob Reiner tweeted. “And the only Jew I knew who could calf rope with the best of them. Love to the family.”
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