James Caan started his career on the stage by appearing in off-Broadway plays including ‘La Ronde’ before making his Broadway debut in the play ‘Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole’. He then made his first television appearance in an episode of the series ‘Naked City’.
In 1963, he landed his first movie role in ‘Irma la Douce’. The following year, he got featured in an episode of ‘Channing’. That year, the actor appeared in the thriller film ‘Lady in a Cage’ as well.
He had a role in the flick ‘The Glory Guys’ in 1965. The same year, he played Mike Marsh in the movie ‘Red Line 7000’. He next did the films ‘El Dorado’, ‘Countdown’, ‘Games’, ‘Submarine X-1’ and ‘Journey to Shiloh’.
Caan next portrayed a brain-damaged football player in the movie ‘The Rain People’ (1969) for which he was highly praised. He then filmed for the flick ‘Gone with the West’ that was not released until 1975. In the year 1970, he did ‘Rabbit, Run’. The following year, he got featured in ‘T.R. Baskin’.
The actor was then cast in ‘Slither’ (1973), a romantic comedy that also starred Peter Boyle and Sally Kellerman. He then played the title role in the flick ‘The Gambler’ in 1974. The same year, Caan appeared in the action comedy film ‘Freebie and the Bean’.
He had a huge hit with ‘Funny Lady’ (1975), playing Billy Rose opposite Fanny Brice. That year, he also starred in the action movies ‘Rollerball’ and ‘The Killer Elite’. After this, he had a cameo in ‘Silent Movie’ and tried his hand at comedy in ‘Harry and Walter Go to New York’.
The actor then appeared in the war flick ‘A Bridge Too Far’. In 1978, he acted in ‘Comes a Horseman,’ directed by Alan J. Pakula. The same year, he directed ‘Hide in Plain Sight’.
James Caan collaborated with Mason for the screen adaptation of Neil Simon's ‘Chapter Two’ in 1979. He next appeared in a neo-noir movie titled ‘Thief’ in which he portrayed a professional safe cracker. He had a role in the 1981 French movie ‘Lelouch's Les Uns et les Autres’.
In 1982, he did a comedy film titled ‘Kiss Me Goodbye’ which flopped at the box office. After a gap of a few years, the American actor returned to acting with the movie ‘Gardens of Stone’ in 1987.
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He played a cop in ‘Alien Nation’ in 1988. Two years later, he appeared in Stephen King's ‘Misery’. Caan had a minor role in ‘The Dark Backward’ in 1991. The same year, he co-starred with Bette Midler in the flick ‘For the Boys’.
He did the films ‘Honeymoon in Vegas’, ‘The Program’, ‘Flesh and Bone’, ‘A Boy Called Hate’ and ‘North Star’ in the mid-1990s. In 1998, he played Philip Marlowe in the HBO movie ‘Poodle Springs’ and also appeared in ‘This Is My Father’.
In the early 2000s, the actor appeared in numerous films and TV movies including ‘The Yards’, ‘Luckytown’, ‘The Way of the Gun’, ‘Warden of Red Rock’, ‘A Glimpse of Hell’, ‘Viva Las Nowhere’, ‘This Thing of Ours’, ‘Night at the Golden Eagle’, ‘Lathe of Heaven’, ‘City of Ghosts’ and ‘Blood Crime’.
In 2003, James Caan began playing "Big Ed" Deline in the sitcom ‘Las Vegas’. The same year, he did the movies ‘The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie’, ‘Jericho Mansions’, ‘Dogville’ and ‘Elf’.
He bagged a role in the TV movie ‘Wisegal’ as well as in the sitcom ‘Get Smart’ in 2008. A year later, he lent his voice to a character in the movie ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’. Meanwhile, he also appeared in the films ‘Middle Men’ and ‘Mercy’.
In the early 2010s, the American star did a number of small and big screen projects including ‘Crime’, ‘Detachment’, ‘Small Apartments’, ‘That's My Boy’, ‘Blood Ties’, ‘For the Love of Money’, ‘Hawaii Five-0’, ‘Magic City’, ‘Back in the Game’ and ‘A Fighting Man’.
In 2014, he was cast in the films ‘Preggoland’ and ‘The Outsider’. The following year, he did the movies ‘The Wrong Boyfriend’ and ‘Sicilian Vampire’. He then had main roles in ‘The Good Neighbor’ (2016), ‘The Red Maple Leaf’(2016) and ‘Undercover Grandpa’ (2017).
In 1971, James Caan appeared in the TV film ‘Brian's Song.’ In this movie, he played the dying football player Brian Piccolo who shares a great bond with Chicago Bears teammate Gale Sayers. The production was a huge success and critics even called the movie one of the finest television movies ever made. The flick also earned Caan an Emmy Award nomination.
Caan was cast as Sonny Corleone in the crime film ‘The Godfather’. Produced by Albert S. Ruddy and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, this movie was based on Mario Gianluigi Puzo’s best-selling novel of the same name. This movie was the highest-grossing movie of 1972 and went on to win several Oscar awards. Also, Caan’s performance in the flick earned him one Academy Award nomination as well as one Golden Globe Award nomination.
For a few years, the American actor served as the chairman of Openfilm, an internet company that was dedicated to help upcoming filmmakers. Openfilm closed in 2015.
James Caan has been married four times. In 1961, he married Dee Jay Mathis. The couple had a daughter named Tara before divorcing in 1966.
He then married Sheila Marie Ryan in 1976. Their son, Scott Caan, who is also an actor, was born in August 1976. However, the couple parted ways a year later.
The American actor was married to Ingrid Hajek from 1990 to 1994. The couple has a son named Alexander James Caan.
He married Linda Stokes in October 1995. They have two sons: Jacob Nicholas Caan and James Arthur Caan. They divorced in 2009.
In 1994, Caan was arrested after being accused by a rap artist of pulling a gun on him.