James Caan, the iconic actor best-known for his role in “The Godfather,” has died. He was 82.
“It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jimmy on the evening of July 6,” his family wrote in a statement on the actor’s Twitter account Thursday. “The family appreciates the outpouring of love and heartfelt condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.”
Caan is known worldwide for playing Santino “Sonny” Corleone, the brother to Al Pacino’s character, Michael, in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 blockbuster mafia movie.
In an interview for the film's 50th anniversary earlier this year, Caan reflected on the film’s incredible staying power.
“One of the things that made ‘The Godfather’ successful, besides brilliant directing and writing and wonderful actors … was that everyone really enjoyed making it,” he said. “That comes off on the screen. And I think the audience can tell that we were having a good time doing what we were doing up there.”
Caan earned an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor along with co-stars Al Pacino and Robert Duvall. “The Godfather” went on to win best picture at the Academy Awards.
The New York City native was known for his versatility on the big screen.
In addition to his mobster role in “The Godfather,” Caan played author Paul Sheldon in the 1990 psychological thriller “Misery,” in which his character is held captive and tortured by an obsessive fan played by Kathy Bates, who forces him to rewrite the finale to his book series.
Caan also played the role of Brian Piccolo, a Chicago Bears football player stricken with terminal cancer in the 1971 television biography “Brian’s Song.”
A cause of death was not released.