Sad news from the world of movies, as actor James Caan died Wednesday, his family announced on his Twitter account.
Caan, 82, had a film and television career that spanned seven decades. Perhaps best-known for his turn as the hotheaded Santino “Sonny” Corleone in “The Godfather,” Caan also played roles in films as diverse as “Misery,” “Bottle Rocket” and “Elf”. He was nominated for four Golden Globes, an Emmy and an Oscar in his life, and also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
During his time as an actor, Caan, who played football at Michigan State in the 1950s, was also well-known for playing roles in several iconic sports movies. Early in his career, Caan starred in “Brian’s Song,” where he played the role of Brian Piccolo, the real-life Chicago Bears halfback who died of cancer at age 26. Billy Dee Williams played the role of Piccolo’s friend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers alongside Caan.
Caan also starred as coach Sam Winters in “The Program,” a drama about the struggles of a fictional college football team (read our oral history of the movie here) and as Jonathan E. in “Rollerball,” a science fiction story about a futuristic and violent sports league.