James Caan Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
Childhood And Early Life
American actor James Edmund Caan was born in The Bronx, New York on the 26 March 1940. Caan’s parents were Sophie Falkenstein and Arthur Caan who were both immigrants from Germany.
Attended Michigan State University where James Caan studied economics. He later enrolled at Hofstra University where he became interested in acting and won a place at Sanford Meisner’s Neighborhood Playhouse. Caan did well and was awarded a scholarship to study under the acting coach Wynn Handman.
Rise To Stardom
Caan’s acting career started with roles in off-Broadway productions. His first film was Irma la Douce (1963). He then appeared in Red Line 7000 (1965) and El Dorado (1967). In El Dorado, he worked with Robert Mitchum and John Wayne. In 1968 Caan had a role in Journey to Shiloh, and then he did The Rain People in 1969. He played Chicago Bears player Brian Piccolo in Brian’s Song (1971). Brian’s Song was a talented player who lives was cut short by cancer after turning professional.
Caan's breakthrough role as Sonny Corleone in the blockbuster The Godfather (1972) for which he won a Best Supporting Action nomination. In 1974, he reprised the role in The Godfather: Part 11. Caan was worried about being typecast, but from then onwards until 1982 he appeared in a wide range of films including the acclaimed The Gambler (1974), Funny Lady (1975) with Barbra Streisand, Rollerball (1975), The Killer Elite (1975) and Comes a Horseman (1978).
James Caan directed and starred in hiding In Plain Sight (1980) and starred in Thief (1981) and Kiss Me Goodbye (1982). After this, he took a five-year break from filming and returned in 1987 with Gardens Stone and Alien Nation in 1988.
Misery (1990) re-established Caan as a bankable star and he followed this up with Dick Tracy (1990), For The Boys (1991), Honeymoon in Vegas (1992), The Program (1993), Eraser (1996) and Bulletproof (1996).
Later work includes Hawaii-Five-0 (2012), Magic City (2013) playing a mob boss; Preggoland (2014), Throwaways (2015) and The Waiting (2016).
Awards And Achievements
In 1973 James Caan received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in The Godfather (1972). He also won four Golden Globe nominations for Funny Lady (1975), The Gambler (1975), The Godfather (1972) and The Glory Guys 1965. And he won the Golden Boot Award in 2005.
In 1978 Caan was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 1999 he won the Hollywood Film Award: Outstanding Achievement in Acting.
Personal Life And Legacy
James Caan married Dee Jay Mathis in 1961. They had a daughter Tara (b.1964) and divorced in 1966. He then married Sheila Marie Ryan in 1976, and they divorced in 1977. They had a son Scott who was born in 1976. Caan’s third marriage was to Ingrid Hajek who he married in 1990 and divorced in 1994. They had one child, a son Alexander. His fourth marriage was to Linda Stokes, and they have two sons, James and Jacob before divorcing in 2009.
After the death of his sister Barbara, James Caan suffered from depression.
The International Karate Association awarded James Caan the prestigious title of Soke Dai. He trained in the Gosoku Ryu style for more than thirty years and is a 6th rank black belt.
Philanthropic Works / Humanitarian Work
Charities that Caan supports include the Dream Foundation and Pro Dono.
In the early, to mid-1980s James Caan experienced problems with depression and anger management. He had a few issues with the law, and he also lost his sister who died of leukemia. His return to acting in 1987 was due to financial problems because his assets had been misappropriated. Caan had a few more issues with the law, and in 1995 he entered drug rehabilitation.