Caan in 1972.
March 26, 1940 |
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Dee Jay Mattis
Sheila Marie Ryan
|Children||5, including Scott Caan|
James Edmund Caan (born March 26, 1940) is an American actor. He is best known for his starring roles in The Godfather, Thief, The Gambler, Misery, A Bridge Too Far, Brian's Song, Rollerball, Kiss Me Goodbye, and El Dorado. He also starred as "Big Ed" Deline in the television series Las Vegas. As of 2014 he plays Terry "The Cannon" Gannon, Sr. in the ABC sitcom Back in the Game.
Caan was born in The Bronx, New York, the son of Sophie (née Falkenstein) and Arthur Caan, Jewish immigrants from Germany. His father was a meat dealer and butcher. One of three siblings, Caan grew up in Sunnyside, Queens, New York City. He was educated in New York City, and later attended Michigan State University. He later transferred to Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, but did not graduate. His classmates at Hofstra included Lainie Kazan and Francis Ford Coppola.
While studying at Hofstra University, however, he became intrigued by acting and was interviewed for, accepted to, and graduated from, New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. There, one of his instructors was Sanford Meisner. He studied at the school for five years.
He began appearing in such television series as The Untouchables, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Kraft Suspense Theatre, Combat!, Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare, The Wide Country, Alcoa Premiere, Route 66, and Naked City. For example, in "The Hunt" on episode 9, season 1 for Suspense Theater, he was the young surfer being hunted by the sadistic sheriff played by Mickey Rooney.
In 1964, he starred as Jewish athlete Jeff Brubaker in the episode "My Son, the All-American" of Channing, a drama about college life.
His first substantial film role was as a punk hoodlum in the 1964 thriller Lady in a Cage, which starred Olivia de Havilland. In 1965, he landed his first starring role, in Howard Hawks' auto-racing drama Red Line 7000.
In 1966, Caan appeared as Alan Bourdillion Traherne, aka Mississippi, in El Dorado, with John Wayne and Robert Mitchum. He had a starring role in Robert Altman's second feature film, Countdown, in 1968.
In 1969, his appearance on the spy sitcom Get Smart was uncredited, billed as "Rupert of Rathskeller as Himself"; in that same year he won praise for his role as a brain-damaged football player in The Rain People (1969) directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
The following year, Coppola cast him as the short-tempered Sonny Corleone in The Godfather. Originally, Caan was cast as Michael Corleone (Sonny's youngest brother); both Coppola and Caan demanded that this role be played by Al Pacino, so Caan could play Sonny instead. Although another actor was already signed to play Sonny, the studio insisted on having Caan, so he remained in the production.
Caan was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the film, competing with co-stars Robert Duvall and Pacino. Caan was closely identified with the role for years afterward: "They called me a wiseguy. I won Italian of the Year twice in New York, and I'm not Italian.... I was denied in a country club once. Oh yeah, the guy sat in front of the board, and he says, 'No, no, he's a wiseguy, been downtown. He's a made guy.' I thought, What? Are you out of your mind?"
From 1971 to 1982, Caan appeared in many films, playing a wide variety of roles. His films included T.R. Baskin, Cinderella Liberty, Freebie and the Bean, The Godfather Part II, Rollerball, a musical turn in Funny Lady, Harry And Walter Go To New York, A Bridge Too Far, Comes A Horseman, and Neil Simon's autobiographical Chapter Two.
In 1980, Caan directed Hide in Plain Sight, a film about a father searching for his children, who were lost in the Witness Protection Program. Despite critical praise, the film was not a hit with the public.
Caan rejected a series of starring roles that proved to be successes for other actors, including One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Kramer vs. Kramer, Apocalypse Now, Blade Runner, and Superman.
From 1982 to 1987, Caan suffered from depression over his sister's death from leukemia, a growing problem with cocaine, and what he described as "Hollywood burnout," and did not act in any films. He walked off the set of The Holcroft Covenant and was replaced by Michael Caine.
He returned to acting in 1987, when Coppola cast him as an army platoon sergeant for the 3rd US Infantry Regiment ("The Old Guard") in Gardens of Stone, a film that dealt with the effect of the Vietnam War on the United States homefront. In 1988 and 1990, Caan starred in the films Alien Nation, Dick Tracy, and Misery, a hit film that marked a comeback for Caan. Since the script for Misery called for Caan's character, Paul Sheldon, to spend most of his time lying in bed, the role was turned down by many of Hollywood's leading actors before Caan accepted.
In 1992, Caan appeared in Honeymoon in Vegas, and in 1993, he played Coach Winters in The Program, alongside Halle Berry. In 1996, he appeared in Bottle Rocket, and with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Eraser, and later starred as kingpin Frank Colton in Bulletproof with Adam Sandler and Damon Wayans. In 1998, Caan portrayed Philip Marlowe in the HBO film Poodle Springs.
Some of his more recent appearances have been in Mickey Blue Eyes (1999), The Way of the Gun (2000), The Yards (2000), City of Ghosts (2002), Night at the Golden Eagle (2002), Dogville (2003), and Elf (2003).
On February 27, 2007, Caan announced that he would not return to the show for its fifth season in order to return to film work; he was replaced by Tom Selleck.
In 2012, Caan was a guest-star on the re-imagined Hawaii Five-0, playing opposite his son, Scott Caan who plays Danny "Danno" Williams. As of 2010 Caan is the chairman of an Internet company, Openfilm, intended to help upcoming filmmakers.
In 2013, Caan portrayed Chicago mob kingpin Sy Berman in the Starz TV drama Magic City. The series was not renewed for a third season, and Caan's character was apparently killed by "the Butcher" Ben Diamond, his erstwhile protege, portrayed by Danny Huston.
Caan is a practicing martial artist. He has trained with Takayuki Kubota for nearly thirty years, earning various ranks. He is a Master (Rank = 6 Dan) of Gosoku Ryu Karate and was granted the title of Soke Dai by the International Karate Association. Caan trained the Culver City Police Department in martial arts use.
Caan has been married four times. In 1961, he married Dee Jay Mathis; they divorced in 1966. They had a daughter, Tara A. Caan, born 1964. Caan's second marriage to Sheila Marie Ryan (a former girlfriend of Elvis Presley) in 1976 was short-lived; they divorced the following year. Their son, Scott Caan, who also is an actor, was born August 23, 1976.
Caan was married to Ingrid Hajek from September 1990 to March 1995; they had a son, Alexander James Caan, born 1991. He married the widow of alleged murdered Aspen Drug kingpin Steven Grabow, Linda Stokes in October 1996; they have two sons, James Arthur Caan (born 1995) and Jacob Nicholas Caan (born 1998). Caan filed for divorce on November 20, 2009, citing irreconcilable differences.
In 1994 he was arrested after being accused by a Los Angeles rap artist of pulling a gun on him.
According to Fortune magazine's profile of Barry Minkow, during the production of the biopic based on the investor's life James Caan socialized with Minkow and was made aware by him that the financing of the film involved illegally obtained funds. However, nothing suggests Caan had any involvement with any illegalities.
James Caan has five children and four grandchildren, three from his eldest daughter Tara and one from his son Scott.
In 1977, Caan rated several of his movies out of ten – The Godfather (10), Freebie and the Bean (4), Cinderella Liberty (8), The Gambler (8), Funny Lady (9), Rollerball (8), The Killer Elite (5), Harry and Walter Go to New York (0), Slither (4), A Bridge Too Far (7), Another Man Another Chance (10) and Kiss Me Goodbye (0).  He also liked his performances in The Rain People and Thief.
|Irma la Douce||1963||Soldier with radio||(uncredited)|
|Lady in a Cage||1964||Randall Simpson O'Connell|
|The Glory Guys||1965||Pvt. Anthony Dugan|
|Red Line 7000||1965||Mike|
|El Dorado||1966||Alan Bourdillion Traherne ('Mississippi')|
|Submarine X-1||1968||Cmdr. Richard Bolton, RNVR|
|Journey to Shiloh||1968||Buck Burnett|
|The Rain People||1969||Jimmy Kilgannon (Killer)|
|Rabbit, Run||1970||Rabbit Angstrom|
|T.R. Baskin||1971||Larry Moore|
|Brian's Song||1971||Brian Piccolo||Nominated – Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie|
|The Godfather||1972||Santino 'Sonny' Corleone||Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
|Cinderella Liberty||1973||John Baggs Jr.|
|The Gambler||1974||Axel Freed||Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama|
|The Godfather Part II||1974||Sonny Corleone|
|Freebie and the Bean||1974||Freebie|
|Funny Lady||1975||Billy Rose||Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy|
|Rollerball||1975||Jonathan E.||Saturn Award for Best Actor tied with Don Johnson for A Boy and His Dog|
|Gone with the West||1975||Jud McGraw|
|The Killer Elite||1975||Mike Locken|
|Harry and Walter Go to New York||1976||Harry Dighby|
|A Bridge Too Far||1977||Sgt. Eddie Dohun|
|Un autre homme, une autre chance||1977||David Williams||aka Another Man, Another Chance|
|Comes a Horseman||1978||Frank 'Buck' Athearn|
|1941||1979||Sailor in fight||(uncredited)|
|Chapter Two||1979||George Schneider|
|Hide in Plain Sight||1980||Thomas Hacklin||Also directed|
|Les Uns et les Autres||1981||Jack Glenn/Jason Glenn||aka Dance of Life|
|Kiss Me Goodbye||1982||Jolly Villano|
|Gardens of Stone||1987||SFC. Clell Hazard|
|Alien Nation||1988||Det. Sgt. Matthew Sykes|
|Misery||1990||Paul Sheldon||Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Actor|
|The Dark Backward||1991||Doctor Scurvy|
|For the Boys||1991||Eddie Sparks|
|Honeymoon in Vegas||1992||Tommy Korman|
|The Program||1993||Coach Sam Winters|
|Flesh and Bone||1993||Roy Sweeney|
|A Boy Called Hate||1995||Jim|
|North Star||1996||Sean McLennon|
|Bottle Rocket||1996||Mr. Henry|
|Eraser||1996||U.S. Marshal Robert Deguerin|
|This Is My Father||1998||Kieran Johnson|
|Mickey Blue Eyes||1999||Frank Vitale|
|The Yards||2000||Frank Olchin|
|The Way of the Gun||2000||Joe Sarno|
|Warden of Red Rock||2001||John Flinders|
|Viva Las Nowhere||2001||Roy Baker|
|A Glimpse of Hell||2001||Capt. Fred Moosally|
|In the Shadows||2001||Lance Huston|
|Night at the Golden Eagle||2002||Prison Warden||(uncredited)|
|City of Ghosts||2002||Marvin|
|Blood Crime||2002||Sheriff Morgan McKenna|
|Jericho Mansions||2003||Leonard Grey|
|Dogville||2003||The Big Man|
|This Thing of Ours||2003||Jimmy 'the con'|
|Las Vegas||2003–2008||Ed Deline|
|Santa's Slay||2005||Darren Mason||(uncredited)|
|Get Smart||2008||The President|
|Something, Something, Something, Darkside||2009||Himself|
|New York, I Love You||2009||Mr. Riccoli||(segment "Brett Ratner")|
|Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs||2009||Tim Lockwood (Flint's father)||(voice)|
|Middle Men||2010||Jerry Haggerty|
|The Annoying Orange||2010||Jalepeño||(voice, web-based series)|
|Small Apartments||2012||Mr. Allspice|
|That's My Boy||2012||Father McNally|
|Hawaii Five-0||2012||Tony Archer||Season 2 Episode 18 "Lekio" (Radio)|
|Blood Ties||2013||Leon Pierzynski|
|Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2||2013||Tim Lockwood (Flint's father)||(voice)|
|Anyone's Son||2013||John Hanna|
|Back in the Game||2013||Terry "The Cannon" Gannon|
|A Fighting Man||2014||Brother Albright|
|The Throwaways||2014||Lt. Col. Christopher Holden|
- "James Caan". TV Guide. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
- Model, Betsy. "The Ultimate Caan". Cigar Aficionado. Retrieved December 13, 2006.
- James Caan profile at Film Reference.com
- Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 2000
- "James Caan biography". Notablebiographies.com. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
- "Overview for James Caan". Tcm.com. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
- James Caan: Hollywood's Jock of All Trades Haber, Joyce. Los Angeles Times (1923–Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] May 27, 1973: o11.
- Harford, Margaret (September 30, 1965). "Career's the Thing for James Caan". Los Angeles Times. p. A10.
- Maggie Van Ostrand. "‘Leave the Gun. Take the Cannoli,’ and Other Godfather Stories". Film School Rejects.
- Mark Seal. "The Godfather Wars". Vanity Fair.
- "James Caan | Caan Rues The Bad Choices That Prompted Him To Turn Down Movies". Contactmusic.com. September 12, 2005. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
- Bernard Weinraub (November 17, 1991). "James Caan Rises From the Ashes of His Career". The New York Times. p. H13. "It wasn't that I did bad pictures. I just banished myself for a while."
- Weinraub, Bernard (May 17, 2004). "James Caan Takes a Gamble 'On Las Vegas,' and Scores". The New York Times. p. E1.
- Siskel, Gene (May 3, 1987). "Film: A star is reborn James Caan acts his way out of a deep slump". Chicago Tribune. p. L6.
- "Website offers filmmakers aid". Variety. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
- Elavksy, Cindy (November 10, 2014). "Q and A: Week of Nov. 10". King Features. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
- "The History of Karate in America" The American Black Belt Society, Retrieved November 1, 2006
- Encyclopedia.com. "James Caan". http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/James_Caan.aspx.
- "Echoes linger 20 years after car bombing". Rocky Mountain News. December 8, 2005. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
- "James Caan Refuses to Be the Typical 'Hollywood Liberal'". Fox News. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
- "James Caan Arrested, Released After Alleged Gun Incident". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- "Barry Minkow: All-American con man – Fortune Features". Features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
- Scott Caan daughter
- Siskel, Gene (November 27, 1977). "James Caan's career hitting tough times". Chicago Tribune. p. e6.
- Siskel, Gene (May 11, 1980). "Movies: James Caan: Frustrated star talks tough about his career Tough talk from a frustrated star". Chicago Tribune. p. d2.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to James Caan.|
- James Caan at the Internet Movie Database
- James Caan at AllMovie
- Bright Lights Film Journal interview
- Blood Crime at Anything Oz or New Zealand Films site