James Bond star Pierce Brosnan has described James Caan as an “inspiration” after watching him act in upcoming film Fast Charlie despite “great physical pain and discomfort”.
Oscar-nominated actor Caan, known for his roles in The Godfather, Thief and Misery, died on Wednesday aged 82.
Brosnan, 69, shared a photograph of “the great man himself” Caan sitting in a wheelchair on the set of thriller Fast Charlie, set to be released in March 2023.
He captioned it: “We had many laughs together over those five days in New Orleans… you were an inspiration to me as young actor starting out, and an even greater one as a man watching you work each day against great physical pain and discomfort.
“You gave of yourself to the art of acting and performance to very end. My heart has a deep sorrow this day for your passing. I shall cherish the memory of you always.”
Caan played Sonny Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 gangster epic alongside acting royalty Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton.
Coppola said in a statement provided to the PA news agency that “his films and the many great roles he played will never be forgotten”.
Meanwhile, Pacino, who starred as Michael Corleone in the classic films, said that Caan was his “fictional brother and lifelong friend” with De Niro adding he was “very very sad to hear about Jimmy’s passing”.
Talia Shire, who played Connie Corleone in the crime saga films, described Caan, in a statement given to PA, as “a good man, a kind man, a family man, and a wildly gifted man”.
Similarly, star of The Godfather III film Joe Mantegna said that becoming friends with Caan was “one of the great gifts in being part of The Godfather family”.
Top film-makers including Michael Mann and Rob Reiner also paid tribute to Caan.
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. pic.twitter.com/72b06VJGIi
— Michael Mann (@MichaelMann) July 7, 2022
Mann, who directed 1981 neo-noir heist thriller Thief, said Caan was “not just a great actor with a venturesome spirit, but he had a vitality in the core of his being” which produced many “outrageous and hilarious anecdotes”.
Reiner, who directed 1990 psychological thriller Misery, said he “loved” working with Caan.
The veteran actor’s other notable credits include starring in 2003 family comedy Elf, playing Will Ferrell’s on-screen biological father Walter Hobbs, as well as playing cancer-stricken Chicago Bears footballer Brian Piccolo in Brian’s Song, which saw him earn an Emmy nomination.
Caan’s Brian’s Song co-star and Star Wars actor Billy Dee Williams shared a picture on Twitter of Caan smiling while perched on his lap, writing: “Team Mates and friends till the end”, with a broken-heart emoji.
Sharon Stone, who starred with Caan in 1981 historical drama Les Uns Et Les Autres, said the actor “always” had her back.
Comedian and actor Adam Sandler, who acted with him in Bulletproof and That’s My Boy, said he “always wanted to be like him” and “never stopped laughing” around him, adding that he will “miss him terribly”.
James Caan. Loved him very much. 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. pic.twitter.com/a0q8rCP1Yl
— Adam Sandler (@AdamSandler) July 7, 2022
Caan was born in March 1940 in the Bronx in New York and initially fancied a career in American football before becoming interested in acting during his time at university.
The actor was married four times and is survived by his five children – Tara, Scott, Alexander James, James Arthur and Jacob Nicholas Caan.