Francis Ford Coppola, Al Pacino, Barbra Streisand and More Pay Tribute to James Caan: “An Incredible, Towering Actor”

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Adam Sandler, James Gunn and Edgar Wright were among those in Hollywood who shared their remembrances, tributes and condolences on social media Thursday following the news of screen icon James Caan’s death in Los Angeles.

The actor’s rep told The Hollywood Reporter that Caan died Wednesday night at 82, confirming a Twitter post from his family. No cause of death was revealed.

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Caan’s long career was marked by a number of memorable roles across decades and genres, chief among them Sonny Corleone in The Godfather. Other parts he’s known for include Misery, Thief, Brian’s Song, The Gambler, Elf and Rollerball.

“Jimmy was my fictional brother and my lifelong friend,” Caan’s Godfather co-star Al Pacino said in a statement. “It’s hard to believe that he won’t be in the world anymore because he was so alive and daring. A great actor, a brilliant director and my dear friend. I’m gonna miss him.” Robert De Niro added: “I’m very, very sad to hear about Jimmy’s passing.”

In a statement, Francis Ford Coppola said, “Jimmy was someone who stretched through my life longer and closer than any motion picture figure I’ve ever known. From those earlier times working together on The Rain People and throughout all the milestones of my life, his films and the many great roles he played will never be forgotten. He will always be my old friend from Sunnyside, my collaborator and one of the funniest people I’ve ever known.”

“James was a good man, a kind man, a family man, and a wildly gifted man — whose great talent will always be loved and remembered. My prayers are with his family that he treasured so dearly,” said Talia Shire.

Michael Mann said in a statement, “What a terrible and tragic loss. Jimmy was not just a great actor with total commitment and a venturesome spirit, but he had a vitality in the core of his being that drove everything from his art and friendship to athletics and very good times. There was a core of values within him about how people should be, more or less. It might be variable, the corners could be rounded with urban irony, but there was a line and it was non-fungible. And it produced many outrageous and hilarious anecdotes.”

Mann continued, “I loved him and I loved working with him. He reached into the core of his being during difficult personal times to be the rebellious, half wild child, institutionalized outsider Frank, in my first film, Thief. Frank is half Frank, half Jimmy.  The character and the man – like his Sonny in The Godfather – were made for each other. Unique. What a loss.”

In one of the first social media tributes to Caan, comedian and actor Adam Sandler tweeted he loved the actor and “always wanted to be like him. So happy I got to know him. Never ever stopped laughing when I was around that man. His movies were best of the best. We all will miss him terribly. Thinking of his family and sending my love.”

Misery director Rob Reiner replied to the tweet confirming Caan’s death, writing: “So sorry to hear the news. I loved working with him. And the only Jew I knew who could calf rope with the best of them. Love to the family.”

Caan’s Brian’s Song co-star Billy Dee Williams shared a simple note on his Twitter remembering their friendship: “Team Mates and friends till the end. RIP Jimmy.”

Elf’s Will Ferrell said in a statement about his big-screen father, “I will always treasure my time spent on and off camera with James Caan. He always had great stories and advice. Without him, a movie like Elf doesn’t work.”

Fellow co-star, this time in 1975’s Funny Lady, Barbra Streisand, shared a photo of the two to her Twitter account, before writing, “I’m so sorry to hear about Jimmy. He was so talented.”

Director and writer James Gunn tweeted out an appreciation for his favorite Caan movies, writing, “There are so many movies of his I love, The Godfather films of course being at the very top, but here are a few more I adore (Thief in particular was a Gunn family classic — I had the poster on my wall in high school).”

Director Edgar Wright called the late actor “a genuine megawatt movie star” in his social media tribute. “Mr. Jimmy Caan, star of not just The Godfather, but also Thief, Misery, Freebie and the Bean, Slither, Rollerball, Bottle Rocket, Gardens of Stone, The Way of the Gun, Honeymoon in Vegas, Elf & many more. Enjoy this deadpan classic. ‘Ta da.'”

Author and nonprofit founder Maria Shriver tweeted that it was “so sad about Jimmy Caan. He was a legend. He was always kind to me. Sending his family my love.”

Star Trek franchise actor Brent Spiner shared a memory of him crossing paths with Caan while at Paramount. “I once passed James Caan in the commissary at Paramount Pictures. He looked me over in my Data makeup and uniform and uttered just one word, ‘Working?'” Spiner tweeted. “Honored.”

Read more tributes below.

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