James Caan’s The Godfather co-stars, as well as director Francis Ford Coppola, have paid tribute to the actor who portrayed Sonny Corleone following his death Thursday at the age of 82.
“Jimmy was my fictional brother and my lifelong friend,” Al Pacino, who played Sonny’s younger brother Michael Corleone in the film epic, 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.”
Talia Shire, who portrayed Sonny’s sister Connie in The Godfather, added, “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.”
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Coppola, who first cast Caan in his 1969 film The Rain People and later reunited with the actor for The Godfather saga and 1987’s Gardens of Stone, said in a statement (via The Hollywood Reporter), “Jimmy was someone who stretched through my life longer and closer than any motion picture figure I’ve ever known.”
The director continued, “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.”
Following Caan’s death Thursday, many of his co-stars and collaborators issued statements in memory of the film icon, including director Michael Mann, who cast the actor in a comeback role in the 1984 film Heist. Adam Sandler, Barbra Streisand, Billy Dee Williams, and many more have also saluted the beloved Oscar-nominated actor.
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