James Caan Biography

(Best Known for His Role as ‘Sonny Corleone’ in the Film ‘The Godfather’)

Birthday: March 26, 1940 (Aries)

Born In: Bronx, New York, United States

James Caan is an American actor and director who came to prominence with his performance in the films, such as ‘Brian’s Song’, ‘A Bridge Too Far’ and ‘The Godfather’. He also achieved considerable fame by appearing as ‘Ed Deline’ in the sitcom ‘Las Vegas.’ Besides acting, Caan has done voice work in a number of movies, including ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’ and ‘The Tale of Princess Kaguya'. As a director, he has directed the drama flick ‘Hide in Plain Sight’. As a young boy, he was not much interested in films. However, when he was studying at Hofstra University, he developed an intense passion for acting and dropped out to attend Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. Eventually, he embarked on a successful acting career. Known to be an enigmatic character, Caan has always been highly selective when it comes to the roles he accepts. While the status of a superstar evaded him due to his choice of unconventional roles, he was ultimately inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the American film industry. Well into his seventies now, the actor still maintains an active lifestyle and is a practicing martial artist.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: James Edmund Caan

Died At Age: 82


Spouse/Ex-: Dee Jay Mattis (m. 1960; div. 1966), Ingrid Hajek (m. 1990; div. 1995), Linda Stokes (m. 1995; div. 2009), Sheila Marie Ryan (m. 1976; div. 1977)

father: Arthur Caan

mother: Sophie Caan

children: Alexander James Caan, Jacob Nicholas Caan, James Arthur Caan, Scott Caan, Tara A. Caan

Born Country: United States

Jewish Actors Actors

Height: 5'9" (175 cm), 5'9" Males

Died on: July 6, 2022

place of death: Los Angeles, California, United States

Notable Alumni: Neighborhood Playhouse School Of The Theatre

Ancestry: German American

City: Bronx, New York

U.S. State: New Yorkers

Founder/Co-Founder: Humana International, Recruitment International, Alexander Mann Group, Hamilton Bradshaw

More Facts

education: Michigan State University, Hofstra University, Neighborhood Playhouse School Of The Theatre

Childhood & Early Life
James Edmund Caan was born on March 26, 1940 in New York to Sophie and Arthur, a butcher, as one of their three children.
He received his schooling in New York City and later went on to attend Michigan State University. He eventually transferred to Hofstra University. However, he didn’t graduate from there.
During his time at Hofstra, he developed a deep interest in acting and enrolled at New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and studied there for five years.
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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).
Major Works

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.
Personal Life
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.
During the peak years of his stardom, this actor had rejected a series of starring roles in movies that went on to become big hits for other actors. Some of these films were ‘The French Connection’, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, and ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest.’

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