James Caan in 2011

James Edmund Caan (born March 26, 1940) is an American Academy Award-, Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated American film, stage and television actor. He is best-known for his Academy Award nominated role of Santino "Sonny" Corleone in 1972's The Godfather film, as well as his onscreen portrayal late NFL running back Brian Piccolo, best friend of NFL Pro Football Hall of fame running back Gayle Sayers in the critically acclaimed, Emmy Award winning 1971 ABC-TV film Brian's Song, where he appeared opposite Billy Dee Williams. Other roles of note are as Paul Sheldon in the Academy Award 1990 black comedy apdaptation of author Stephen King's best-selling novel Misery, as athlete Jonathan E in the 1975 blockbuster science-fiction/action/drama film Rollerball and for his role as "Big Ed" Deline in the 2003-08 NBC television series Las Vegas.

Early lifeEdit

Caan was born in The Bronx, New York City, the son of Sophie (née Falkenstein) and Arthur Caan, Jewish immigrants from Germany. His father was a meat dealer and butcher.[1][2] Caan had a sister, Barbara, and has a brother, Ronald.[3][4] He grew up in Sunnyside, Queens, New York City.[5] He was educated at P.S. 150 40-01 43rd Avenue School in Queens, at the private Rhodes Preparatory School, also in New York City, and then attended Michigan State University. He later transferred to Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, but did not graduate. While studying at Hofstra University, however, he became intrigued by acting and was interviewed for, accepted to, and graduated from, New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. There, one of his instructors was Sanford Meisner.

James Caan in The Thief, 1981

Personal lifeEdit

Caan has been married four times. In 1960 he married Dee Jay Mathis; they divorced in 1966. They had a daughter, Tara A. Caan, born on November 5, 1964. Caan's second marriage to Sheila Ryan (a former girlfriend of Elvis Presley, in 1976 was short-lived; they divorced the following year. Their son, Scott Caan, who also is an actor, was born August 23, 1976.

Caan was married to Ingrid Hajek from September 1990 to March 1995; they had a son, Alexander James Caan, born on April 10, 1991. He married the widow of alleged murdered Aspen Drug kingpin Steven Grabow,[6] Linda Stokes in October 1996; they have two sons, James Arthur Caan (born November 6, 1995) and Jacob Nicholas Caan (born September 24, 1998). Caan filed for divorce on November 20, 2009, citing irreconcilable differences.


  • Irma Ia Douce (1963) - Soldier with Radio (uncredited)
  • Lady in a Cage (1964) - Randall Simpson O'Connell
  • The Glory Guys (1965) - Pvt. Anthony Dugan
  • Red Line 7000 (1965) - Mike Marsh
  • El Dorado (1967) - Mississippi
  • Games (1967) - Paul Montgomery
  • Submarine X-1 (1968) - Cmdr. Richard Bolton
  • Countdown (1968) - Lee Stegler
  • Journey to Shiloh (1968) - Buck Burnett


  1. James Caan profile at Film
  2. Stated on the Bravo Channel's Inside the Actors Studio, 2000
  3. James Caan HTML at Notable Biographies
  5. Ultimate Caan, By Betsy Model, Cigar Aficionado accessed December 13, 2006.

External linksEdit