Top filmmakers including Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Mann and Rob Reiner paid homage to James Caan’s “natural talent” and his “adventurous spirit.”
The Oscar-nominated actor, known for his roles in The Godfather, Thief and Misery died Wednesday, aged 82.
A statement on Twitter said: “We are deeply saddened as we inform you of Jimmy’s passing on the evening of July 6.
“The family appreciates the love and sincere condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.”
Caan played Sonny Corleone in Coppola’s 1972 gangster epic alongside royal actors Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton.
Coppola, who worked with Caan on The Rain People before The Godfather, said in a statement provided to the PA news agency: “Jimmy is someone who has spent my life longer and closer than any other character. any movie I’ve ever known.
“From the first time we worked together on The Rain People and throughout the milestones of my life, his films and the many amazing roles he has played will never be forgotten. .
“He will always be my old friend from Sunnyside, my collaborator and one of the funniest people I have ever known.”
Pacino, who plays Michael Corleone in the classic films, said that Caan was “his fictional brother and lifelong friend”.
He said: “It is hard to believe that he will no longer be in the world because he is alive and so bold. A great actor, an excellent director and my dear friend. I will miss him. “
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Meanwhile, De Niro added that he was “deeply saddened to hear of Jimmy’s passing”.
Shire, who plays Connie Corleone in crime films, said in a statement sent to the PA news agency: “James was a good man, a kind man, a family man and a talented man – someone whose great talent will always be to love and miss.
“My prayers go out to his family which he greatly appreciates.”
Similarly, The Godfather III star Joe Mantegna tweeted: “One of the great gifts of being part of The Godfather family is being friends with James Caan. Rest in peace Jimmy. “
Mann, who directed the 1981 neo-noir horror film Thief, described Caan’s death as a “terrible and tragic loss”.
“Jimmy is not only a great actor with a dedication and adventurous spirit, but he has a vitality at the core of who he is that drives everything from his art and friendship to sports and very good times,” he said in a statement.
“There was a core value inside of him about how people should be, more or less.
“It can change, the corners can be rounded with urban irony, but there is a line and it is irreplaceable.
“And it generates a lot of quirky and hilarious anecdotes.”
Reiner, who directed the 1990 psychological thriller Misery, said he was “sorry” to hear the news.
“I love working with (Caan),” he wrote.
“And the only Jew I know who can pull the rope with the best of them. Love family. “
The veteran actor’s other notable credits include playing Chicago Bears football player Brian Piccolo with terminal cancer in the sports drama series Brian’s Song, which won him the award. was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in 1972.
Caan also starred in the 2003 family comedy Elf, playing Will Ferrell’s on-screen biological father Walter Hobbs, as well as the psychological thriller Misery, the action film Thief, and the crime The Gambler.
Other appearances include Honeymoon In Vegas, Bulletproof, and Mickey Blue Eyes.
British filmmaker Edgar Wright tweeted: “To a true megawatt movie star, Mr Jimmy Caan, star not only of The Godfather, but also of Thief, Misery, Freebie And The Bean, Slither, Rollerball, Bottle Rocket, Gardens Of Stone, The Way Of The Gun, Honeymoon In Vegas, Elf and many more. “
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn said: “There are a lot of movies I love about him, the Godfather movies of course are at the top, but here are a few other movies that I love (Especially) , Thief is a Gunn family classic – I had posters on my wall in high school). “
Caan’s Brian’s Song co-star and Star Wars actor Billy Dee Williams paid tribute to the actor on Thursday, sharing on Twitter a photo of Caan smiling while sitting on his lap.
He wrote: “Comrades and friends until the end. RIP Jimmy,” with a broken heart emoji.
Actor Gary Sinise, who played Lieutenant Dan Taylor in Forrest Gump, tweeted: “So sad to hear that James Caan has passed away. Heartbreaking for his family and friends.
“It was great getting to know him and calling him a friend. Jimmy is very supportive of the Gary Sinise Foundation and my work with our veterans. He will be ignored. Thank you my friend. Rest in peace. God bless you.”
Singer Barbra Streisand tweeted that Caan was “so talented,” while Grosse Pointe Blank star John Cusack wrote only “great actor” and Antonio Banderas said: “A great actor has left us.”
Comedian and actor Adam Sandler, who co-starred with him in Bulletproof and That’s Boy, said he “always wanted to be like him”.
He wrote: “So happy I got to know him. I never stopped laughing when I was with that man. His movies are the best of the best. We will all miss him terribly. Thinking of his family and sending my love.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger, best known for his role in the action movie Terminator, said that Caan was an “icon” and a “legend”.
He tweeted: “He has inspired everyone who has ever been in front of the camera. I was so lucky to have worked with him and to have witnessed firsthand his amazing talent and sense of humour.
“He was a great workout partner in the gym and a true friend, and I will miss him.”
Caan was born in March 1940 in the Bronx in New York and initially pursued a career in American football before becoming interested in acting during college.
His breakout role was in The Godfather, which also earned him a nomination for best supporting actor at the Golden Globes.
The actor has been married four times – to Dee Jay Mattis, Sheila Ryan, Ingrid Hajek and most recently to Linda Stokes.
He is survived by his five children – Tara, Scott, Alexander James, James Arthur and Jacob Nicholas Caan.
Scott followed in his father’s footsteps, appearing in Ocean’s Eleven, Gone In 60 Seconds and the Hawaii Five-0 reboot.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/hollywood-pays-tribute-to-james-caans-venturesome-spirit-following-his-death-41823871.html Hollywood honors James Caan’s ‘adventurous spirit’ after his death