Best Known For
Actor James Caan gave an Oscar-nominated performance as Sonny Corleone in Coppola’s The Godfather and played a writer held hostage in Stephen King’s Misery.
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Actor James Caan was born on March 26, 1940, in the Bronx, New York. Caan began his film career in 1963's Irma la Douce. In 1969, he landed the lead role in The Rain People. He gave an Oscar-nominated performance in The Godfather (1972). After a hiatus from filming, he made a comeback in Gardens of Stone. In the 1990s, he starred in Misery and The Program. In 2000, Caan appeared in The Way of the Gun.
Actor James Caan was born on March 26, 1940, in the Bronx, New York. Caan briefly attended Michigan State University before transferring to New York's Hofstra University, where he majored in theater. Upon his graduation, he studied under Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse.
In 1960, Caan made his stage acting debut in La Ronde. The following year, he appeared on Broadway in the production of Blood, Sweat, and Stanley Poole (1961).
Caan began his film career with an unbilled part in 1963's Irma la Douce (starring Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon) followed by a more substantial role in the psychological thriller Lady in a Cage (1964). He headlined the Westerns The Glory Guys (1965), El Dorado (1967) and Journey to Shiloh (1968) before landing the lead role in the 1969 drama The Rain People -- one of the first projects by director Francis Ford Coppola.
Caan gave a sensitive performance as ailing football player Brian Piccolo in the heart-wrenching TV biopic Brian's Song (1971). With an ensemble cast that included Al Pacino and Marlon Brando, he gave an Oscar-nominated performance in Coppola's enduring epic The Godfather (1972). Considered by many to be the crowning achievement of his career, Caan's portrayal of the irascible Sonny Corleone confirmed his status as one of the most talented actors of his generation.
After starring in the title role of Karel Reisz's The Gambler (1974), Caan made a fleeting appearance in The Godfather Part II. The next year, he exhibited his singing voice as impresario Billy Rose opposite Barbra Streisand's Fanny Brice in Funny Lady. A number of box office disasters followed, including The Killer Elite (1975) and Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976). He made a lackluster directorial debut with Hide in Plain Sight (1980) and starred opposite Sally Field in the critically panned romance Kiss Me Goodbye (1982). These poor choices coupled with Caan's rejection of roles in the now-classic features One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) hindered his career.
After a five-year hiatus from film work, Caan made an improbable comeback in features with Coppola's war drama Gardens of Stone (1987) and the sci-fi thriller Alien Nation (1988). With a memorable role in the 1990 acclaimed film version of Stephen King's bestseller Misery, he starred as a tormented romance writer held captive by a deranged fan (played by Kathy Bates). The following year, Caan had middling success with his part as a U.S.O. performer opposite Bette Midler in the musical saga For the Boys.
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